I can’t believe the quality of the second semi final of the RPGTV Scottish Derby on Saturday.

Firstly, I feel very sorry for connections of Wuheida after her withdrawal (lame) though I still doubt whether the final can be as good as this semi. Whatever the result, three very good greyhounds are going out.

I was delighted with The Other Reg is his heat, particularly since three of the other runners hadn’t been around the track and a fourth hadn’t been there for a year. You just don’t know what they will do in running.

(I would also like to express my sadness for the injury to Coolavanny Mason. I am sure he will have a great retirement with the Buckley family.)

We saw in the Laurels last year that Reg has tons of guts, as he refused to let Droopys Expert get past and that was on display again on Saturday. I have no doubt that he would have broken 29.00 had he not been challenged at the bend.

On split times, Wuheida (T4) was quicker away and Reg (T5) now has that bit more room. If I was offered another 3.69 sectional I would take it. I would also expect the three (Bull Run Button) to move inwards. But if our lad doesn’t break, we are in trouble.

There are so many strong dogs in there who can run you down in the latter stages.

The first semi final has been labelled the ‘weakest’ if you can have such a thing in a Scottish Derby and I would expect a big run from King Turbo. He completely lost his way last week but if he was mine, I would be expecting him to find at least 40 spots.

He looks happy enough in five and he should be in a position to cut the first bend and hopefully not go so wide.

The last semi is also very hard to call with three stronger finishers in Black Farren, Lightfoot King and Calico Ranger.

Black Farren is getting better all the time, Lightfoot King looks like a champion stayer in the making and we all know about Calico Ranger. I was very disappointed with Ranger in the heats, only on the basis of how highly I rate him. But it was his first run for a while and I would expect him to improve. This is a tougher field than the heats, but with slow breaking dogs, that sometimes works in their favour.

However, in a tough race, I would always go for the dog likely to lead so I think they will all have to catch Barefoot Painter.


We have won the supporting puppy race for the last three years, including The Other Reg last year.

Sadly this year’s competition didn’t fill, which was where I was planning to give Newinn Jet his debut.

Jet is a younger full brother to Newinn Shadow and clocked 29.47 in his first look at Shawfield.

I understand that there may be a invitation puppy race on final night so fingers crossed.


I have enjoyed my return to being a graded trainer at Belle Vue. It makes such a nice change leaving the track and being home within 40 minutes.

We have about a dozen graded so far and they may increase to 17-18 within the next month.

As many people know, I have never been shy about criticising tracks when they produce poor racing surfaces so I can only commend Belle Vue on a superb track.

It was a horrendous autumn and winter in the North West. The previous year I would have had sprinklers on a home throughout the summer and autumn to stop the ground getting too hard. Last year they weren’t on once. The ground has been saturated.

I can remember the days when Belle Vue would run ‘200 slow’ in the winter; this year it has been virtually perfect. One of my bitches clocked 27.63 in a graded race last week which should tell you how the track is running. The track staff have been phenomenal.

Yet I look around the country and some of the racing surfaces are diabolical.

We are lucky at Belle Vue in that we only race three, or occasionally four times a week. Some of the tracks who race more than that are clearly not spending enough times on maintenance.

How can trainers always be held to inspection on welfare, but the tracks can do as they like.

Somebody sent me a text through last week showing a track which was running ‘340 slow’. How is that allowed to happen?