ENGLISH GREYHOUND DERBY: Paul Lawrence and Barry Caul cast their eyes over the quarter finals of the English Greyhound Derby staged at Towcester on Saturday with their best BETDAQ bets …
The first of the quarter-finals seems quite a tricky race to weigh up.
ROMEO COMMAND, who was so impressive in his third-round heat from trap two, now gets trap five and I don’t think this will bother him too much because I think Hopes Rhino is going to move to inwards from trap four, which will give him plenty of room to operate.
We know he doesn’t need a lead to win, but there is no early pace in this race; Burj Khalifa could go up with him on the outside and they met in the second round where Romeo Command came and claimed Burj Khalifa, so I think it could be a similar scenario here.
I do respect Burj Khalifa because I don’t think he can get a touch out on the wide outside and the other one to mention is Boylesports Gift. He got crowded in the run-up when he met Romeo Command last time out and he could just pop out and get a clearer run, so he’ll definitely be some sort of runner.
But all in all, Romeo Command is rather generous at odds against.
I really like ROMEO HANZO here and I think this is about only two runners, which is a strong statement to make in the quarter-finals of the Derby.
Clona Duke, his kennel mate, will probably be the main danger, but I think Romeo Hanzo, from trap three, will break and potentially edge out slightly, though the fact that Mystical Mario – a fast starter – is on his outside in four might just hold him in straighter to the turn.
From there, he can hit the front coming into the first bend and I think that should be good enough. Clona Duke with that track record next to his name is going to be a big danger, but I think that Romeo Hanzo is a fair bet.
I thought BRINKLEYS MAGIC offered the best value. I did make Ballymac Marino favourite in trap two; he’s running really well, he’s unbeaten so far in the Derby, and I think the switch to trap two won’t hinder him too much as he came out of two when he won the Juvenile Classic at Tralee. He is going to be a big danger, but value-wise, I thought Brinkleys Magic was so impressive – he’s got a good bit of pace and he will be the selection in the third quarter-final.
SWORDS REX looks like my idea of a Derby champion. He keeps getting decent draws in the middle of the park and I think trap three is ideal here. He has already beaten Ballymac Finn, his main market rival, in the previous round, and Ballymac Finn just looks to be a bit short of something at the moment. I really thought he would throw his hat into the ring and be a real challenger for the Derby picture this year, but Swords Rex really put him to the sword last time out. You have to say that Swords Rex has probably got a fairly straightforward task in the quarter-final and I think he could even go on to claim the blue riband event himself.
My best bet for the quarter-final stage is in the second quarter-final and it’s ROMEO HANZO from trap three. I’ve really been impressed with this greyhound, I think he can operate from any trap, but he’s got that perfect draw in trap three.
He has a bit of an ally next to him in trap four with Mystical Mario because he will break well and that will just hold him on a true line into the turn, I’m sure he can out-start his kennel mate Clona Duke and once he gets to the front, that should be good enough in this line-up.
It looks like a match on paper between BOYLESPORTS GIFT, who I’m quite sweet on, and Romeo Command out of trap five. The reason I like Boylesports Gift here is I think he has a cracking draw, there is no early pace around him at all, and he should have the pace into the bend to lead Aero Arran, Savana Beau, and Hopes Rhino.
I think if he does hit the front he will pop in and around the 29-second mark, and that could be good enough to make all here. I know Romeo Command is a bit of a winning machine at Towcester, but he has yet to race from the wide traps of four, five, and six and his record back here in Ireland when he did race from the wide traps was poor. In five starts from the outside boxes, he’s never won, and to be picky, he’s also had two trials from trap five and he didn’t win either of those.
I respect Burj Khalifa out of trap six because I think he is well-drawn, and he should make it safely through into the next round.
You must give Savana Beau a big mention, he’s going to be thundering home and it’s hard to see him out of the first three, but I’ll side with Boylesports Gift.
This is dominated by Graham Holland according to the betting as he has Clona Duke, Romeo Hanzo, and Ballyhimikin Leo in here.
Clona Duke has been hit and miss since he arrived. Of course, we have seen that cracking track record run a few weeks ago and then he completely missed the break two weeks back.
I’m going to be with his kennel companion ROMEO HANZO. I just think he’s the more reliable trapper, you just don’t know what you are going to get from Clona Duke, and at roughly 2/1, Romeo Hanzo is the safer bet.
Cochise is hit and miss out of the traps, he has been coming away, but I think he faces a difficult draw out of trap five.
Ballyhimikin Leo, for me, also lacks a yard of early pace. Mystical Mario in trap four will be going up strongly, and in fairness to him, I think he will keep a straight line into the corner, so it should be okay for Romeo Hanzo and I think he can make all.
We had a big-priced winner in Burj Khalifa last round and I’m going to pick out another big-priced one here in DRIVE ON LAD in trap three at around about 25/1. There is definitely much better to come from this dog and before the start of the Derby he had clocked 4.10 twice in sectionals. If he does 4.10 in this quarter-final it will see him race close to the lead and he’s a strong, strong runner.
I know Ballymac Marino will be well-fancied because he has a good draw and, on paper, there is not much early pace around him, but I think at 25/1, Drive On Lad makes plenty of appeal.
Brinkleys Magic is one of the fastest dogs in the competition, but you just don’t know what he is going to do at the bend and Gaytime Nemo may be drawn a little far out in trap five.
I’ll take a chance on Drive On Lad in the third quarter-final.
And, of course, in the last quarter-final, we get to see SWORDS REX. What a star he has been since he went over to Towcester.
He has been paw-perfect in all of the Derby rounds and it seems to be due to his instant acceleration; as soon as his paws hit the ground, he is gone.
I know Fabulous Azurra in trap four might be a thorn in the side, but again, I think she might run straight to the corner. Don’t forget Ballymac Finn who is much better than he has shown so far.
My best bet on Saturday night’s quarter-final card will come in the first quarter-final in the shape of BOYLESPORTS GIFT from trap three. I just think this dog will have too much early pace for the opposition and once he gets to the front, he will clock a decent run, in and around 29 seconds or thereabouts, and I think that should be good enough to make all.
There isn’t too much early pace, especially around him, and I’m not too sure how Romeo Command will run from trap five.
Burj Khalifa will stay out wide, but Boylesports Gift has got good early pace and if he leads, he will take plenty of beating.
I’ll give a small word for DRIVE ON LAD in the third quarter-final. I think he is of massive value at 25/1. There is a big start in this dog, and if he gets it right on Saturday night, 25/1 could look silly.
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