Rocks to dominate Derby

AFTER the events of the quarter-finals of two weeks ago, it’s unsurprising that tonight’s final of the Ladbrokes.com Irish Greyhound Derby has a very open look about it.

The bookmakers differ in their opinion of which dog should head the market but there seems little doubt that Bet365’s 11-4 about Rockchase Bullet is a shade too long.

The draw is a bit of an unknown. He has raced from trap six twice and certainly cut to the rails to some degree on each occasion, but he was an inexperienced dog at that stage and it might be wrong to be too dogmatic about his lack of suitability to the trap.

Unquestionably, he is the dog that has improved most through the Derby and, drawn in the middle, he would be clear favourite.

With the slow starting Krug Ninety Five on his inner, he should be afforded the luxury of moving in without incident on the run-up and, given that he has had the pace to lead Razldazl George in each of the last two rounds, he holds undoubted claims.

Supporters of Razldazl George will argue that he has a perfect draw outside a dog that moves in and inside a dog that doesn’t break. That’s certainly true and if you think he can produce his A-Game tonight, then there’s surely a degree of value at 11-4 with Ladbrokes. I’m just not sure why he should reverse last week’s form with Rockchase Bullet.

A dog that might have greater claim to reverse form with that runner is Peter Cronin’s Rockview Head. A dog with fine early pace, he certainly cuts for the rails on the run-up but if he could get across without meeting Dream Walker or Razldazl Bugatti on the way, he could go very close.

It’s an absolute must that he leads or he will not win as he’s not the strongest stayer but, had his and Rockchase Bullet’s traps been reversed last weekend, I’m inclined to believe he might well have come out on top.

With Dream Walker a traditionally slow starter and Razldazl Bugatti not the most consistent of breakers, albeit a brilliant early-pacer, Rockview Head may be able to lead inside. If that’s the case then he could be hard to beat. At 14-1 straight, or 7-1 without Rockchase Bullet, he certainly makes some appeal.

On the undercard, Razldazl Jayfkay, who was knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the Derby, should take some beating in the eleventh race. Dolores Ruth’s dog appeared to be peaking at the right time but some desperate luck ended his Derby campaign. He looks ideally housed to lead here and, if doing so, should come home in front.

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