What did we learn a year ago?

As punters brace for the opening round of the 2024 Star Sports/TRC English Derby Final, can they learn any lessons from last year?

Perhaps one of the key metrics concerns the Irish challenge. Last year there were 27 Irish runners in the first round and they won 10 of the 31 heats. Despite what appears an impressive strike rate, it was actually lower than the previous year when almost every second Irish runner won their heat, 15 from 33.

15 of the 31 heats (there was one void race) were won by the outright favourite, though seven odds-on chances were turned over. There were also 19 empty traps.

Not only was three the most successful trap, its nine winners were as many as the outside three boxes combined.

Of the eventual six finalists, all bar one, Ninja Kerry won their first round heats and four of the five broke 29.00.

Win machine Doolin takes well earned retirement

Lenson Doolin – the hurdler of his generation
Photo: © Steve Nash

Owner Simon Trubshaw has announced that his fabulous hurdler Lenson Doolin has been retired following a fabulous career.

The brindle, who will ‘technically’ be five years old on Friday, made his debut for Patrick Janssens in November 2020. He joined Ricky Holloway the following summer and won a number of opens on the flat, including reaching the Kent Derby Final. Two months later he contested his first Champion Hurdle Final

The son of Out Of Range ASB and The Other Tessa won the 2022 Springbok and finished runner-up in the Grand National and Champion Hurdle. He was duly voted as the Hurdler of the Year.

In 2023 he finally won the Champion Hurdle, and a second Hurdler of the Year title and is the Crayford 380mH track record holder at 23.10. He retired after 83 races and 42 wins for a stunning 50.3% strike rate

Simon said: “Rick and I had looked to target one more Champion Hurdle, but always said the dog will tell us when it’s time, and that time has come. Having picked up a few niggles this year we feel age may have finally caught up with him, having now turned five.

“Doolin, pet name Pat, has been a dog of a lifetime and the enjoyment I’ve had with him are  right up there with his on track achievements !
“He’s a dog full of character and will be taking a spot on his physio Ron Mills’ sofa.”

With the ARC Kent Silver Salver due to start a week on Saturday, Central Park stage what will be the only trialstake this Saturday. The field includes last year’s third placed runner Ballyard Shawny


Thursday: Hove  ♦  Newcastle  ♦  Swindon ♦  Towcester (Derby)

Friday: Romford   ♦   Towcester (Derby)

SaturdayCentral Park   ♦   Towcester (Derby)   ♦  Yarmouth