GREYHOUND PREVIEW: With the eagerly anticipated English Derby less than a week away, BARRY CAUL has scrolled down through the ante post markets to see if there is any value left for punters.

The draw for the event is taking place on Friday and the first round will be run over three nights. The event kicks off next Thursday the 23rd May at Towcester and I am delighted to say that every round will be streamed live on the BETDAQ website.

First round: Thursday 23rd, Friday 24th and Saturday 25th May
2nd round: Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June
3rd round (the last 48): Saturday 8th June
Quarterfinals: Saturday 15th June
Semi-finals: Saturday 22nd June
Final: Saturday 29th June

For what it is worth, here are my ‘Five Over Fifty’ …..

🟣 Bonjurno Boy 125/1
Made a winning debut at the track back in mid-April when showing good early pace to make all in a slick 29:15. That effort came without a previous look at the track and that run compares favorably when we look at some of the other more fancied runners who have trialed here in recent weeks. Bonjurno Boy has posted 4.10 sectionals in two of his three track starts and that is a solid foundation to start from. He has had no luck in a couple of recent starts, but the experience should stand to him. I know he was highly regarded when with Francie Murray in Ireland and he has always liked the dog. As a middle seed he is likely to get traps four or five each week and this well-bred son of wonder sire Droopys Sydney may just surprise a few in the early rounds. He will not turn two until next month and I am sure we have yet to see the best of him.

🟣 Coolavanny Otto 66/1
One of the most important things you need to win an English Derby is luck and have no doubt that Coolavanny Otto will need some luck granted his running style. He caught the eye when he ran so well in the opening rounds of the Juvenile Classic at Tralee and was desperately unlucky in the final when baulked at the first bend. He was expensive to follow in two starts around Limerick when contesting the Kirby memorial exiting at the second-round stage. Since then, he has had trials around Shelbourne, Tralee and Towcester. His first look at Towcester was full of promise clocking 29:08. That effort was the fastest of the session which included Bens Teddy (29.29) and Singalong Dolly (29:20). Otto does seem to lack a yard of early pace and will obviously need luck, but he is undoubtedly fast enough to have a say.

🟣 Hawkfield Blue 150/1
Made an excellent start to his career when beating Clonbrien Treaty in a red-hot unraced stake at Shelbourne Park in February of last year. Better was to come when he put in some huge performances to get to the final of the valuable GRI Summer Open 525. A Champion Stakes final appearance was next up where he finished behind Trinity Junior in the final before running well in the early rounds of the Irish Greyhound Derby. Since then, Blue has been quite lightly raced and has yet to hit the heights of last summer. However, in a handful of starts this year its obvious he still retains plenty of ability. He ran well behind Swords Rex last weekend and this early paced sort still has the potential to get back to his very best.

🟣 Road Exile 100/1
The 2024 SuperSprint winner Road Exile is next up. A winner of twenty-one race this greyhound is all about early pace. He has won his fair share over four bends and won the valuable Eric Browne Kingdom Derby back in December beating the likes of De Lahdedah and Superfast Gordon in the final. He was a semifinalist in last year’s Irish Sprint Cup clocking 20:84 in the early rounds. Stamina over this testing four bend trip may be an issue and it remains to be seen how the long run to the pick-up will suit Pat Buckleys charge. He is another who has a middle tag, so he is not draw dependent and he should go deep into the competition.

🟣 Rushy Meadows 125/1
The only lady on the list Rushy Meadows represents the Townview Kennels of Brendan Matthews in Newry. She beat a decent quality field to win the ‘Istabraq’ Open 525 at Limerick on Kirby Memorial Final Night. Before that she was runner-up in the RPGTV Puppy Oaks at Shelbourne Park behind Singalong Dolly. Her recent 29:25 run at the track reads well and she is held in high regard by the Matthews outfit. Meadows is still quite lightly raced and has only finished out of the frames on two occasions. She is the type to keep qualifying and should improve as the competition progresses.

Good luck



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