I am absolutely loving everything about this year’s Star Sports English Derby at Towcester.

I have read a few negative comments about the place. Well I have been there on a regular basis and the place is buzzing.

I always knew how good the facilities were but had a few reservations about the racing circuit. I still don’t think it is the easiest track to run without a few looks around; a lot of dogs are not cutting into the bend as closely as you think they will.

But as soon as they get to know the place, they produce some very good racing.

It is a front runners track, but so was Wimbledon. Take the first three at the third bend at Wimbledon and you were almost guaranteed the first three home. As for the suggestion that Towcester favours railers, I think that is 100% wrong.

I think they have an on-going battle to keep the running surface in good condition. It is very open and the drainage is so efficient that they struggle to get enough water on it. Ironically though, I think it will improve as the drainage gets older and is less efficient.

What I really love is the attitude of everyone involved. They are exceptionally professional and cannot do enough for you.

I have come away from the place so enthused that I am already planning ahead for next year. As soon as this year is over, I will be looking to get a group of owners together to get a Derby dog for next year.


We still have two in it, Newinn Blitz and The Other Reg. They both have plenty to do in the third round.

Blitz, and all from that ‘Any Time Soon’ family seem to love the curved traps and he is flying from the boxes. (I really wish I had a young Newinn Yolo, he would have loved Towcester.)

Blitz has surprised me a little bit. He shows good early, has a flat spot in the middle of the race, and then comes home strong. Despite all initial thoughts, I think he might actually make a stayer as he gets older.

The Other Reg is still a pup and I would have been delighted to finish third to Droopys Buick last time out. To actually beat a dog of that calibre was a very pleasant surprise.

If he comes out in front on Saturday, I would expect him to finish in the first three. If he doesn’t then he clearly wasn’t good enough. But he has certainly given Mark and Mick Jones an enormous thrill to date.

As to who will win it? I haven’t got a clue – this is an ultra competitive Derby.

Certainly Tyrur Shay has fantastic pace. I tried to buy him after his first race, when he was called Coolio, but we were quote at £50K, which was too rich for us. Having said that, he now looks worth every penny.

Personally, I really like Bruisers Bullet who ran a sensational race to win on Saturday. I also really like Carn Brea, who is a son of Take The Crown.

Brea is an enormous dog but as I said, typical of that line, Take The Crown was from the Any Time Soon family, he also bombs away from the curved traps.

There has been a lot of interest in the father since Carn Brea started racing. All the early litters were out of maiden dams and we are even getting enquiries from Ireland.

Take The Crown lives in retirement with his own Darren, and unfortunately he escaped and went missing for 24 hours at the weekend. Luckily, he was found by a farmer who took him in. Thanks to Facebook he was soon re-united with the family – no harm done.