Ratings and Analysis by Pete Walker

It might be difficult to compete with the recent attraction of the Derby but the William Hill sponsored Festival provides two category 1 competitions all rolled into one. The Grand Prix over the six-bend 640m trip worth £15,000, as well as the Classic over their standard 450m distance for £25,000 to the winner. Our recently retired Owlerton Greyhound Owners Association’s (Sheffield) syndicate greyhound Coolavanny Rebel went very close to winning the latter competition last year.

He finished runner-up to Roxholme Scolari (who has unfortunately had to withdraw due to injury after the heats) and was one of the highlights of his racing career (soon to be found relaxing on a sofa in Leeds with yours truly – you deserve it!). Four of the heat favourites qualified in both events with three winners in the Grand Prix and one in the Classic. Only three runners from eleven got through to the semis that didn’t have a trial or prep race (you can draw your own conclusions). I have compiled comparative ratings with the top three from each race indicated below as well as the overall top five of the semi-finalists with best prices available at the time of writing.


Classic 1st Semi-Final

T6 (W) – 195: Corrin Boyshane

T3 (R) – 164: Forest Chunk

T5 (W) – 153: Viking Jimmy


Classic 2nd Semi-Final

T6 (W) – 180: Droopys Country

T1 (R) – 156: Ameilas Charm

T2 (R) – 145: Dorotas Del Mar


Classic 3rd Semi-Final

T6 (W) – 190: Newinn Shadow

T3 (R) – 179: Toolmaker Obama

T4 (M) – 171: Ballymac Claus


Top 5

(195): Corrin Boyshane (5/1)

(190): Newinn Shadow (5/1)

(180): Droopys Country (4/1)

(179): Toolmaker Obama (8/1)

(171): Ballymac Claus (16/1)


Ratings based on a maximum of 200 reflect only recent performances over the course and distance. Track conditions at the time of racing may affect future performances of course. There are 9 railers, 4 middle and 4 wides remaining with Corrin Boyshane (10/1) top-rated and hitting form at the right time so must be a major player. However, there is a distinct possibility the final could include at least three wide runners. This would give any qualifying railers an ideal draw and Toolmaker Obama (8/1) looks capable of taking advantage of such a scenario. The inexperienced Irish raider has shown great promise and should qualify along with Newinn Shadow.


Grand Prix 1st Semi-Final

T3 (R) – 178: Rubys Rascal

T4 (M) – 128+: Shellam Delano

T5 (M) – 117: Graigues Loch


Grand Prix 2nd Semi-Final

T1 (R) – 192: Swift Hansel

T5 (M) – 160: Garryglass Champ

T6 (M) – 139: Droopys Tee

Grand Prix 3rd Semi-Final

T1 (R) – 179: Cloran Paddy

T5 (M) – 158: Thinkingofdarcy

T4 (R) – 130: Glamorous Sharif


Top 5

(192): Swift Hansel (10/1)

(179): Cloran Paddy (3/1)

(178): Rubys Rascal (9/2)

(160): Garryglass Champ (50/1)

(158): Thinkingofdarcy (6/1)


The Grand Prix has Swift Hansel (10/1) at the head of the ratings and worth keeping on the right side of after winning his heat in the quickest time. I’m sure if he was with a higher profiled trainer his odds would be half that price. If looking for an outsider to consider, Garryglass Champ (50/1) has been underrated and is open to improvement over this track and distance having not had the benefit of a trial or prep race.

This year’s Derby final night was our equivalent of more than two days group racing at Royal Ascot and it didn’t disappoint. The roar of the crowd before the start of the main event was exhilarating (I know I should get out more!). I don’t imagine the canine athletes heard the hare on its way round, but that was immaterial. The result may have been a surprise, but fate could have played a hand in the climax of an enthralling competition – one will never know. However, one aspect is for certain. The experience at Towcester shows there can be a future for greyhound racing in this country. We must embrace changes to ensure it thrives with proper funding which includes a compulsory levy if necessary so we are in a better financial position to capitalise on its potential.