“I think it is the best thing that could have happened to the Derby with the RPGTV cameras not here. There is a great atmosphere every Saturday, big crowds and the bookies have been taking tremendous money. I’ve seen some huge bets being taken.”

Derby winning trainer Patrick Janssens was in ebullient moodat Towcester on Saturday night. Although he seems unlikely to repeat his Thorn Falcon success this year, he has two through to the Derby quarter finals, though he admits particular frustration at seeing Barntick Bear among those eliminated.

He said: “He is a really good greyhound and I expect him to win his share. You look around at some of the older dogs in the Derby this year and it gives you hope for the future though I do think he has great potential as a stayer.”

Patrick has been as frustrated as anyone with the technical issues that dogged the the place earlier in the summer, but he remains a staunch Towcester fan.

He said: “I just love the place. I think it is the best track in England or Ireland. It is such a fair test, and touching wood, I have had very few injuries here over the years. It is the only place to run the English Derby in my opinion.”


Rab McNair is predicting the biggest crowd for a Derby Final since Wimbledon at its peak.

He said: “I’ve always loved the place and took a lot of stick for sticking up for it when things have gone wrong in the past, but Big Kevin has got it spot on.

“The running surface has been brilliant, and I mean brilliant. There have been no problems with the traps and it is the best atmosphere that I can remember. I spoke to the boss (Brendan Keogh) on Saturday and he was buzzing. The first thing he said was ‘the big man’s nailed it this year.’

“I’ve loved watching the Grouchos Duke lads from Ireland. They just seem so up for it, laughing and taking photographs and are obviously enjoying every minute. That is great to see such enthusiasm.

“I used to drive down from Scotland to watch the Derby at Wimbledon. It isn’t on TV this year and that really seems to have brought out much bigger crowds.

“Lots of the betting shops aren’t taking bets on Towcester, but fuck em. They are the ones missing out. This has been a fantastic Derby and I hope that the greyhound people get behind the big man and turn out on finals night.

“There were a few problems on final night last year. I hope that they have learned from them and they get it spot on. This is a Derby for the proper greyhound folk.”

As for the chances of the kennel’s last remaining entry, King Memphis, Rab said: “If I am completely honest, the draw for the next round seems to have worked out pretty well. But we had some shockers in the early rounds and just had to get over it.

“But you can never take anything for granted. I’ve had dogs beaten in races when I could see no way that they should get beat, but that’s dog racing.

“Many years ago, Paul Hennessy left me with some rosary beads even though I am not a Catholic. A few night later we had a runner in the Peterborough Puppy Derby Final. He had no chance, I think Pat Rosney had the first three in the betting.

“One of them was owned by Andy Gray the footballer and he sat at the table next to us. I was giving him some banter that we were going to beat them. I think Liz kicked my under the table.

“But after I put the dog in the traps I felt the rosary beads in my pocket and took them out. Our dog popped out and won the final. I’ll be searching out those rosary beads at the weekend.”


Kerry breeder/trainer Liam Dowling said: “It has been a very good Derby so far. The crowds are up on last year which has brought a very good atmosphere. Most importantly, the track has been in very good order and very consistent.

“This it the English Derby, and it should be supported. We all know that there have been issues in the past. Well the same people who were dishing out the criticism before should now acknowledgement the progress that has been made.”


Kevin Boothby said: “First of all, I would like to confirm the rumours currently in circulation that Towcester is to close at the end of the Derby. That is absolutely incorrect, I have no idea how these rumours start. There are to be some changes to the schedule which will be announced in time, but we have no plans to close the greyhound operation.

“As far as the Derby is concerned, I am very pleased with the way it has gone so far and it is the only place to stage the Derby; especially with the consistency with the track. Big thanks for my staff and brother for all there hard work and effort, especially as we had a emergency problem with the rail and hare motor three weeks before the Derby started.

“Also a big thanks to Ben and his team at Star Sports for helping organizing a fantastic derby. Lets enjoy the next three weeks and everybody get behind it and be there on derby final night its going to be emotional !!!!”

Romeos producing at Clonmel

Thanks to Stud Book Keeper Liz Mort for drawing attention to next Sunday’s Kasco sponsored Produce Stakes semi finals at Clonmel. The first qualifier features three runners from ‘Romeo Dave’ Firmager’s range in Melton Mowbray.

While it might seem strange to see three British breds in an Irish produce stakes, they aren’t setting a precedent. Back in 1996, Dolores Ruth won the event with Surrey bred Shanless Slippy.

Dorset bred and reared trainer Graham Holland has five of the 12 semi finalists.


Thursday: Hove  ♦  Swindon

Friday: Romford  ♦  Sunderland

Saturday: Central Park  ♦  Doncaster  ♦  Oxford  ♦  Towcester  ♦  Yarmouth