GREYHOUND DERBY PREVIEW: The English Greyhound Derby starts on Thursday at Towcester. Our expert BARRY CAUL previews the first 10 opening heats. All heats will be streamed LIVE on the BETDAQ website.

Heat 1
Recent Maiden Derby winner Jaytee Etienne is of interest in the opening heat, fortunate to win that event Paul Hennessys charge can go to the corner much quicker. He has not gotten his starting right at Towcester despite that success, and he remains capable of going much quicker. Antigua Forky -Formerly known as Optic Chico- has some solid Irish form and was running at the top of his game when last seen in action at Shelbourne Park. Now under the care of Pat Buckley this sort of trip should suit him perfectly. There were rumors that he was not the best of greyhounds to travel, and it remains to be seen how the long trip over will affect him but have no doubt the ability is there. Newinn Syd will likely go off favorite but at the prices I would rather be with Jaytee Etienne.

Heat 2
Grouchos Duke has been installed as big at 8s to win this heat with some firms and that looks like a huge price to me. Crafty Shivoo will be expected to take this but despite all her class she was slightly disappointing in the final at Hove and may be one to take on at odds on. Undulation has some excellent form around here and is running as well as ever, she is sure to be there or thereabouts at the business end. This heat does seem to lack early pace with McNeill and Storys Cashout better over further. There is a real opportunity for Grouchos Duke to lead here, he has posted some fine runs around Shelbourne and Limerick in the past and will really make them go if starting level. Undulation and Crafty Shivoo are two of the fastest females in training but at the prices its well worth taking a chance on Grouchos Duke.

Heat 3
An open looking contest, Antigua Kestrel is a new recruit to the Mark Wallis kennel, formerly known as Stonepark King he ran well in this year’s Kirby Memorial. His first look at Towcester was promising when clocking 15.70. He overcame some slight trouble in running to win his first four bend trial here recently and looks primed for a big run. Barefoot Awesome was unlucky in the final of the KAB Maiden derby, he broke well on that occasion but just lacks a yard of early pace to the turn. Ballinabola Jim is a greyhound with a big engine. Tipping the scales at over forty kilos, it remains to be seen how he will manage the track. Antigua Kestrel Looks the one to beat.

Heat 4
The legend that is Signet Goofy lines up in heat four. He has been a remarkable greyhound for connections over the years and absolutely loves this place. He has drawn a soft heat and should progress with ease but at odds on he may well be worth taking on. Savana Roisin in five has a touch of early pace a could just prove problematic for Goofy on the run up. It may pay to side with another old boy in Whyaye Man in trap three. Ultra consistent, he can go well here from a decent looking draw. Whyaye Man has been running well of late and is another with some decent form around here.

Heat 5
A bit of a minefield for punters this. Its difficult to rule any of these out. Bockos Thunder and Kilara Roberto are possibly the two to focus on. Thunder looks a young dog with a bright future and has shown enough early pace to say he could be competitive in this. He recently clocked a 4.00 sectional but that was followed up by 4.34 the following week so its difficult to side with him with much confidence. Kilara Roberto is a little more consistent on the sectional clock and looks a likely leader. Again, I feel it is a tricky heat for punters to get involved with but maybe just Roberto could be the one.

Heat 6
The Other Kobe is the star attraction in heat six. Last years Irish Greyhound Derby winner is now under the care of Graham Holland after a brief spell at stud. He has returned in fine form moving well in his trial and running out a good winner of his only start since that derby victory in September of last year. Kobe’s trapping and early pace are a real asset, and he will be looking to make all and get to the fence as soon as possible. Holland has three in this, and they look the biggest dangers to Kobe. Faypoint Harvey is two from two around here and has not done a lot wrong in those outings showing good early pace and making all on both occasions. Riverside Pingu completes the Holland Trio, a pacey dog who will probably be suited by a little further in the future.

Heat 7
Scaglietti is an interesting runner in this heat. Sold for a hefty sum after beating Ballinabola Ed in a cracking contest on Irish Derby final night last year at Shelbourne he is now under the care of Ricky Holloway having previously been with Pat Guilfoyle. Scaglietti has only had the three starts since last September and presumably this race has been the target. He won well around here in April and his two recent trials have been satisfactory. He does need to step up a little on what he has shown in the UK so far but its hard to ignore him. Droopys Doughnut beat a useful field when last seen around here and is drawn to run a big race. For me this revolves around Scaglietti and if he is back to something near his old Irish form, he will be hard to beat.

Heat 8
One of the hottest heats of the opening round. De Lahdedah has long been one of the fastest trackers in Ireland and he must be high on any shortlist for derby glory. His last race came around Shelbourne Park in March when behind Clona Duke. Since then, he moved well in a couple of trials at Tralee and his first look around here was satisfactory. Queen Shakira ran well when getting to the final of the Kent Plate and is more than capable on her day. She has clocked 28:99 around here in the past. Pat Buckleys Ower Cracker has impressed in his brief career thus far. He showed real promise and early pace around Limerick early in his career and again impressed on his initial trial outing around here. Churchfield Syd has a perfect draw as the sole wide seed, he has some top form against the best of the British and will be well supported on the night. I’ll come down on the side of De Lahdedah, a high-class greyhound who should step forward from his latest trial effort.

Heat 9
The early paced pair of King Capaldi and Coolio Gold look set to dominate heat nine with preference for the fast-starting King Capaldi. He has some smashing form around here in the past and despite being an inside seed drawn in four, he has won from this box in the past. The slow starting Aayamza Express in trap three will also aid his cause as Capaldi will seek the rails on the run to the corner. Coolio Gold is running well of late but may struggle to contain Capaldi on the run to the opening turn. Aayamza Express will be running on well and should safely qualify.

Heat 10
Boylesports Bob is a greyhound with impressive pace and his trainer Paul Hennessy has won this event in the past. Bob can be a little tardy from traps but there is no doubting his pace. He clocked 28:99 in his recent trial at the track and could go deep into the event if he takes to the track and traps. Singalong Dolly is another with a big engine. She impressed in the recent Shelbourne Open 600 and has a perfect draw on the fence. She broke the track record for the six-hundred-yard trip at Mullingar earlier this year and is sure to be on the premises. Slick Sabo looks the best of the English, but he will need to improve on his latest trial effort. A chance is taken that Boylesports Boy can get some consistent starts under his belt, if he does, he is a force to be reckoned with.

Thursdays Best Bets
Heat 1 Jaytee Etienne
Heat 2 Grouchos Duke
Heat 8 De Lahdedah

Good luck


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