The extravaganza that is the English Greyhound Derby gets underway with 13 heats this evening at Wimbledon.
The Irish challenge is as strong as ever and one of the more significant runners in this phase of the first round is ante-post gamble Jaytee Jet, who contests the fifth heat.
Paul Hennessy’s dog, who won the Irish Derby Consolation in 2015, is no bigger than 14-1 land outright honours, and just 8-13 to make a winning start this evening. With only two to qualify, there isn’t as much room for error as one would like.
There may be only five runners, but the presence of Comerford Cakes finalists Farloe Joey (50-1 outright) and Toolmaker Scot (100-1 outright), who was also a finalist in the Supersprint at Curraheen and Treaty Cup at Limerick, makes for an interesting introduction.
However, his class should shine through.
Another of the outright favourites is Kirby Memorial winner Droopys Roddick, who has a reasonably straight-forward assignment in the eighth heat, from which three will qualify. He is as low as 4-11, and as big as 8-15 to make a winning start, and should do so.
Kennel companion Lenson Panda is another long-odds fancy in a five-dog, two-to-qualify heat. Although Fraser Black’s Droopys Awesome looks an improver, Pat Buckley’s runner should have too much early pace for that and his other rivals. He should oblige, at odds of 4-6.
Calco Flyer, available at 11-8, looks likely to get punters off to a great start. He is not blessed with big early pace, but is very well drawn, and will take beating. Pinpoint Boom is the value option at 3-1 in the second heat. He has plenty of early dash, and is well drawn outside Deanridge Pennys.
Old Joe Hunter is odds-on to take the third heat, and will probably justify the odds, but is not a betting proposition at 4-7. In heat seven, Jaytee Dutch is starting off after an interrupted preparation, and may be one to watch for now.
Eden The Kid has a middle seed in heat nine, and looks to have a very workable assignment to start off. He forms part of a short-priced treble, including Droopys Roddick and Jaytee Jet, which should oblige, to give punters a positive start to what is a very long competition.
All heats in all rounds will be shown live on Racing Post Greyhound Television, which is now available on Sky Channel 468, Freesat 250, and streamed free on the Racing Post website.
At Youghal, the Droopys Stud Champion Stakes — an A1/A2 525, with a winner’s prize of €2,500 — will get underway on May 20. Entries are being sought for the 24-runner event.
The Barry’s Tea, with a winner’s prize of €5,000, is due to start at Curraheen on May 21. Entries are also being sought for three 750-yard races a week in advance of that stake. Entries are also open for sales at Curraheen on Tuesday June 7.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved