A few years ago, Andrew Wood probably wouldn’t have given Droopys Trawler a second glance – but that would have cost him his biggest training success to date – the 2018 William Hill Northern Puppy Derby.

The dog who was given a pre final assessment by Newcastle boss Ian Walton of “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of the outsiders, like Droopys Trawler, improving all the time and perfectly drawn in one, was to cause a surprise” duly lived up to his potential.

Last away, he forced his way through a first bend gap and set off in pursuit of early leader Droopys Heron. Trawler eventually caught Heron close home to win by a length and a bit in 28.76. It was the first win in the fifth race of his career. The first two defeats came at the hands of litter brother Droopys Trapper who finished third.

Trawler was bought as a 16 month old pup from John Linehan who trains a number of the Dunphy’s own ‘Droopys’ runners in Ireland and the dog’s lack of early pace, proved to be something of a blessing.

Andrew said: “John has sent me over a number of nice dogs. I think Trawler was about 16 months old and John had given him a couple of sprint trials. Luckily for us, Trawler probably didn’t show his best over the sprint. Our plan was to run him in handicaps at Shawfield but he did a brilliant first trial at Shawfield and we knew he was too good for handicapping.

The Airdrie based trainer spent many years on the Scottish flaps, particularly Carfin, Armadale and Wishaw and admits that in those days, a dog with very little early pace would not have interested him.

He said: “We were looking for early pace in those days but now the flaps have gone. I took out my licence about six years ago at Shawfield and I really enjoy racing there. There are a lot of the old lads from the flaps including a lot who took out owner trainer licences. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think the track would be there.”

Trawler’s next outing is in the heats of the GMG Puppy Classic at Nottingham on Monday. His trainer will be happy just to qualify.

He said: ” We tried him at Sunderland but he didn’t take to the track, which is why we waited for Newcastle which is around two and a half hours for me. Sunderland is three hours.

“I don’t like travelling much further but Nottingham phoned yesterday morning and asked if I had considered entering. It is a five to six hour journey and we haven’t had time to get a trial into the dog. But he is two in October and it will be one of the last chances to get another puppy competition into him.”

Northern Puppy Derby winner DROOPYS TRAWLER with owner trainer Andrew Wood. Photo: © Steve Nash