And then there were 24 . . . . three are unbeaten . . . . .and they have managed to avoid each other for at least one more night.

All attention once again focuses on Towcester again this evening and the cream of British and Irish racing set to add their name to a truly historic roll of honour.

It has been a tremendous competition to date with competitive racing, plenty of tight finishes, a consistent and safe track and dare we say it, no mechanical issues. This event is, and will forever be, the summit of the racing calendar.

4/1 King Memphis, 5/1 The Other Kobe, 13/2 De Lahdedah, 10/1 Crafty Shivoo, 12/1 Boylesports Bob, 14/1 Superfast Gorden, 20/1 Gaytime Nemo, 25/1 Ballinabola Ed, 28/1 Ballymac Slick, 33/1 Droopys Doughnut, 40/1 Ballymac Finn Churchfield Syd, Droopys Pivotel, 45/1 Cooliogold, 50/1 Ballymac Gizmo, Grouchos Duke, Hawkfield Blue, 60/1 Bockos Thunder, 70/1 Coss Tokyo, 80/1 Edwards, 125/1 Whyaye Man, 150/1 Hawkfield Abbie, 325/1 Beatties Sparkle

A reminder of the third round

The pick of the four quarters featuring the remarkable Crafty Shivoo. An Irish Oaks winner as a pup, her Towcester record is unsurpassable. Nine races, nine wins. After a slow return from seasonal rest, she is in the form of her life producing ever faster sectionals and the quickest time in the last two round. Despite outstanding opposition, she cannot be opposed.

There are four heat winners in the line-up though the layers made the two beaten runners as the greatest dangers to the likely favourite. Shivoo beat the defending Derby champ Gaytime Nemo last time out and it is hard to see how he leads her up unless she misses her break. His last three identical sectionals won’t cut it, but they are as fast as he has been in 11 outings over course and distance.

Similarly, Superfast Gorden cannot live with the white jacketed runner in the early stages on all known form and will do well to get a clear run on the rail. If you were looking at the outer three boxes, Churchfield Syd would appear to be the quickest to the bend but will be vulnerable late on over a distance that is on the stamina sapping side.

Grouchos Duke is arguably the third Irish string but for a dog who appeared to come into the competition undercooked, he continues to defy his doubters. How much more is there in there. Puppy Droopys Pivotel will probably go to traps as the complete outsider but the youngster is showing steady improvement. 3-2-6

Ht1: 6/4 Crafty Shivoo, 11/4 Superfast Gorden, 5/1 Gaytime Nemo, 13/2 Churchfield Syd, 12/1 Grouchos Duke, 14/1 Droopys Pivotel


King Memphis has spent most of the last six months as the Derby favourite. He is unbeaten in the event and his overall record over course and distance is six wins and three seconds from nine outings. In all honesty, the make-up of the race should work in his favour. Realistically, all he has to do is ‘not cock it up at the traps’. Generally, a decent rather than fast breaker, he has the early pace to get himself out of most difficult situations.

His greatest danger would appear to be Ballinabola Ed though third round form works firmly in favour of the British bred runner. It has nevertheless been a great return to Towcester for Pat Buckley’s veteran who continues to remind regulars of his quality.

Ballymac Finn would appear to have the edge on Hawfield Abbie based on recent form. While kennelmate Ballymac Gizmo should get a clear run behind Memphis is form holds true. Whyaye Man would appear to be a approaching the stage of the event where he will do well to qualify. 1-2-6

Ht 2: 4/9 King Memphis, 5/1 Ballinabola Ed, 10/1 Ballymac Finn, 12/1 Ballymac Gizmo, 20/1 Whyaye Man, 33/1 Hawkfield Abbie


The withdrawal of Swords Rex represents a massive boost to the chances of his kennelmate The Other Kobe. Rex was certainly the most likely reason for Kobe to struggle for a run in the early stages – not that Kobe wouldn’t probably have started as favourite anyway. While he was already a star following last year’s Irish Derby win, he is three races from superstardom. In truth, he looks a level above these.

On recent form, Hawkfield Blue is a couple of lengths short of catching the favourite and on third round form, there is only half a length between him, Droopys Doughnut and the consistent Ballymac Slick. If you had been summing up Edwards before the event got underway, you might have suggested ‘good consistent type, should make the quarter finals’. 3-2-5

Ht 3: 4/9 The Other Kobe, 11/2 Ballymac Slick, 7/1 Droopys Doughnut, 8/1 Hawkfield Blue, 16/1 Edwards


There are several reasons why De Lahdedah will go to traps as an odds-on favourite with ‘his class’ and ‘his draw’ as good as any. Liam Dowling is bringing his dog to full fitness with superb timing. He has taken well to the track and a repeat of his third round run will see him comfortably home – with plenty to spare.

The Derby is a tough place to learn your trade but Bockos Thunder has kicked on irrespective. He almost cleared Churchfield Syd on the run to the bend last week or would almost certainly have broken ’29’. This time his challenge will be getting past his inside neighbour Coolio who has been professional and consistent, albeit without the times to suggest he can win this.

Coss Tokyo and Boylesports Bob will both be running on strongly at the end. Paul Hennessy’s runner in particular comes home with a tremendous rattle and if he finds himself withing a couple of lengths of the favourite at the third bend, he would have every chance of getting up.

Beatties Sparkle has been written off in every round, and is being written off again in this company. But if this is to be her last Derby appearance, she has given connections a thrilling ride. Lovely to see. 4-2-6

Ht 4: 4/6 De Lahdedah, 10/3 Boylesports Bob, 8/1 Bockos Thunder, 17/2 Cooliogold, 20/1 Coss Tokyo, 80/1 Beatties Sparkle