Night two of the Derby gets off to a flyer with the first and second in the Derby betting, Queen Joni and King Memphis going in the first two heats.

One of the best heats of the entire first round. Queen Joni has been well backed in the ante post lists from 50/1 just a few weeks ago but would probably be shorter still if she were male. She has three Category One wins, a Hove 500m record, 20 wins from 26 races – almost all in high class company – and a 28.61 over course and distance. Is there a greyhound with a better record in the event?

Trap four is not ideal, but she seems to take everything in her stride. Joni can’t be opposed despite some Irish competition from the very top drawer, including the 2023 Kirby/Leger/2024 Easter Cup winner Clonbrien Treaty.

Faypoint Sean was a Munster Juvenile runner-up and 2024 Kirby semi finalist with an astonishing Irish record of 10 wins and 2 seconds from 13 races. Hopes Hurricane is primarily a sprinter. He has sub 21.00 form for the Dundalk two bends and recently ran second in the Islandbridge Sprint. 4-6-2


The ante post favourite King Memphis has 16 wins from 26 races including the English Puppy Derby and Olympic. The seven seconds include runner-up slots in the Kent Plate (behind Queen Joni) and Cowley Puppy Collar.

As a British bred, most of Memphis’ learning journey has been done in the public spotlight, not in the privacy of a schooling track and he has shown resilience along with ability. He clocked 28.66 over c&d when still a pup and at two years and five months old, is surely capable of quicker.

Brinkleys Magic beat Clona Duke in 28.79 in last year’s Derby but is on a 13 race losing sequence. Ballymac Finn was a bright young thing last year, but didn’t really kick on. A decent recent trial at Tralee though. 4-1-2


Early betting suggests the bookies rate Droopys Pivotel as the one to beat in here. He is certainly an outstanding youngster and ran third in the Puppy Cup at Hove before clocking a flying 28.91 at Hove.

What he does lack is experience, not an issue for last year’s Irish Derby runner-up Bockos Crystal. While she may be approaching her fourth birthday, that 15.67 trial suggests there is still plenty of life in the old girl. Ballinabola Bill is a nice youngster but this is a step up in class.

John ‘Hit The Lid’ McGee should never be underestimated, particularly with a dog with 28.00 Shelbourne form, as in the case of Hawkfield Blue. 2-3-5


Droopys Supply would probably come under the heading ‘nice enough young dog, but is he Derby class?’ He reached the final of the Gymcrack having beaten Wicky Ned in the heats before the form was reversed in semis and final. It might be good enough, in what would have been a tougher heat but for the absence at Sheffield of Queen Georgia.

Alternatively what about Burj Khalifa – slightly taller at the shoulder than his namesake? He has still only had 26 races in the UK. He was a semi finalist last year and runner-up in the Eclipse. This is his track, his box, and Diane will probably have him on his weight bearing toes for the opener. 6-5


One of the potential big players on show in Romeo Steel though at this stage, this is more about ‘potential’ than ‘record’ plus the reputations of breeder and trainer. Steel’s Irish record is only two wins from seven races, but his Towcester preparation has been meticulous with two wins and second.

Those trap draws may have been significant. Fellow Irish raider Ballymac Dapper has an even blander Irish card, no wins in nine. Maevas Boy is the ultimate dark horse, his entire career is shown in his form. Help!

All of which points to Wasted Monday as the biggest danger to the likely favourite. The Sussex Cup and Olympic finalist has sub-30.00 form for Hove’s 515m and a 29.29 over this course and distance. 1-5-4


Last year’s beaten finalists Swords Rex (4th– 4/5f) and Cochise (3rd 14/1) line up in this one with Graham Holland’s runner expected to start favourite on a track where he really thrives. He has won seven/nine over course and distance and set a new track record of 28.76. His sectionals are quick too, the picks being 3.96, 4.06, 4.06, 4.08). Although not far off veteran status, he turned over Derby favourite King Memphis last time out. He has won from traps 2-5 and can’t be opposed.

The danger is the young and lightly raced Juvenile Classic runner-up (1/1f) Coolavanny Otto. He clocked a mind blowing 28.04 on debut at Tralee and a respectable 29.08 first look at Towcester. Only six races to date, how quickly can he learn? Druids All Go has five wins from eight races over the Derby course with a best of 29.21. 3-1-4


According to the early betting there is little to choose between the white, black, and white/black jackets in this one. It is two years ago that Mr Chelm (aka Kildare) finished runner-up (9/4f) to Romeo Magico. He returned under his new name to reach the Blue Riband Final, finishing down the field and went out in the first round last year. He returned to Ireland to reach the Leger final. He will be well prepared by his very able trainer but might be best watched.

Ballymac Rebel looks a nice young dog but is untested in this company. On the other hand, Juvenile Classic runner-up Wrighty is a seasoned pro with a decent back catalogue of form including a recent 28.93. He looks way overpriced in this company. Zebedee Fourteen also looks overpriced at 8/1. 4-3-2


Ballymac Patriot was the original selection here but was withdrawn lame.

Antigua Hawk has even less experience (than Patriot), having been beaten in his three Irish races after qualifying in a flying 28.21 at Limerick. A decent sprint trial will have encouraged connections. Clonroosk Sydney reached an Irish Derby semi final and has 29.55 Shelbourne form, plus a 29.56 for the Limerick 550. 4-5


This time last year, Faypoint Susie was trained by John Mullins and making decent Derby progress until unlucky in the third round – as the form above shows.

She returned to Ireland but did little of note to the end of the year. She has started 2024 in better form and finished runner-up in the Cork Oaks in late March. The relationship between the top and bottom lines of her formcard suggests she is a reasonable selection from this trap.

Newinn Port has four wins in 19 races in Ireland, the pick being a 29.53 at Shelbourne last summer. 1-6-2


The defending champ is back after a fairly quiet year. He only had four more Irish races last year, without a win, plus a defeat in the Select Stakes. He has two Towcester races this year, both defeats.

On the plus side, he didn’t pull up many trees last year – qualifying wins in 28.95 and 28.94 before landing the decider in 28.89. But his is vulnerable, particularly with the strong breaking pair on his inside.

Of the pair, Droopys Suprstar looks particularly well drawn. One of only three dogs to break 28.00 at Swindon this year, 9/2 or thereabout might be worth a thought. 1-2-3


Tonight: Romford   ♦   Towcester (Derby)

SaturdayCentral Park   ♦   Doncaster  ♦   Monmore   ♦   Towcester (Derby)   ♦  Yarmouth

Sunday: Sheffield  ♦  Towcester