“If you have been racing, what would be the first thing that you would tell your mate when you see him afterwards. That would be your page lead!”
Possibly my first lesson as a writer from one of my four former bosses – three of whom were Fleet Street journalists.
Well that’s easy – “Crafty Shivoo is an absolute machine” writes Star Editor Floyd Amphlett


When the Irish Oaks and Empress Stakes winner went to traps for heat six in the third round of the Star Sports & TRC English Greyhound Derby, virtually everyone on-course seemed to know her vital statistics. ‘Eight races at Towcester – never been beaten’.

When she emerged from boxes alongside De Lahdedah we knew we were in for a hell of a contest . . . and as folks of the leash would attest, you’d always have to respect a ‘Crafty’ in a tight buckle.

We were not disappointed. It would prove to be the best race of the Derby to date as the MWD Partnership’s battling black produced her best ever sectional (3.93). But so did De Lahdedah! He might not be a consistent breaker but Irish form students are fully aware that Liam Dowling’s black just doesn’t get beaten, ‘with a run’.

Something had to give, and as the pair cleared the field, most cash would have been on the dog with 27.78/29.15 over Shelbourne Park’s premier two distances. No more words are required – enjoy the replay below.


But there will be other ‘take aways’ from the third round. The British runners bounced back with only three Irish winner on the night and the number of competition unbeaten runners was reduced to three.

Next quickest on the clock, and one of that trio, with another flawless performance was heat seven winner King Memphis. Assistant trainer Rab McNair has previously stated that he fears nothing on the run to the first bend if his dog breaks on terms. Although second away to Ballinabola Ed, the space on the rail enabled him to reduced the half length deficit at the 58 metre mark and put himself in credit at the bend.

Memphis was 12 spots slower than Shivoo on comparative times and will meet Ballinabola again in the quarter finals were both will be fancied to advance.

The third unbeaten runner in the event, and just three races from emulating Toms The Best with an English/Irish Derby double is The Other Kobe. As expected, he and kennelmate Clonbrien Treaty disputed the opening heat and also as expected, the veteran took the more efficient route at the bends. He has found three lengths in each of his last two races and has a reasonably friendly draw in the quarters.

Last, but not least, a mention for Beatties Sparkle. The Monmore six-bender has been to traps at 33-1, 66-1 and 28-1 thus far and ran her heart out to qualify for Kim Billingham.

On the subject of ‘big hearts’, let’s get back to Crafty Shivoo. . .