The English Greyhound Derby came to a close with Romeo Magico seeing off Kildare in an enthralling final race. It was a cracking month of racing, with thrills and spills across the various rounds of the Derby. It was a feast for those who love an evening at the track, and there was lots to follow for those who enjoy greyhound betting.
One of the key aspects of the Derby is how competitive the competition is. With 211 entries, 192 greyhounds took part in the event and, with prize money of £175,000 available to the winner of the Derby, every race is close run, and even the favourites can’t relax in the early rounds, with heavily backed hounds going out early every year.
Punters will often spend time looking for tips at www.betdaqtips.com/betting-tips/greyhounds/ when they consider who to back in the latter stages of a competition, but there’s no substitute for checking out the early rounds to see who is in good form, and who is struggling. That was just as true this year as it was any other.
Many would have been tipping Signet Ace, the 2021 Greyhound of the Year, for success in the Derby, but he struggled in his heat, and just snuck into the next round in third place. An even bigger upset came in heat two of the first round. Jaguar Macie, the 2021 Bitch of the Year, came dead last with a time of 30.78. Her performance will have been a real disappointment to many, who would have backed her to go much further.
Cushie Concorde was the 6/4 favourite in the fourth heat of the second round, but finished last with Hello Hammond winning the heat, eventually going on to reach the final. The favourite finished last in the next heat too, with All About Ted failing to live up to odds of 8/11. Signet Ace made up for a poor first round by finishing first in heat eight, with 4/5 favourite Bubbly Apache bringing up the rear with a time of 30.34. The other surprising elimination in the second round was the departure of Da Bold Freddie, finishing fifth in heat six, while Droopys Goodtime and Narcos The Great finished second and third behind Signet Goofy with odds of 40/1 and 16/1 respectively.
The third round took place on a slow track, without too many upsets. The fourth heat saw defending champion Thorn Falcon finish fifth, and trainer Patrick Janssens will have been disappointed with that result. That was the biggest surprise of the round, although the elimination of Paul Hennessy’s Barefoot Supremo in the next heat was also a surprise.
The quarter-finals ran much faster, and saw a number of eliminations. The first quarter-final saw Priceless Jet lead with a new track record of 28.78, while many will have been surprised to see Signet Ace depart, finishing fourth on 29.85. Two favourites were eliminated in the second quarter-final, with Ballinabola Ed and Ballymac Fairone taking the last two spots in the race, as Hello Hammond won from odds of 14/1. The eliminations of Signet Denver and Singalong Sally in the remaining two quarter-finals were the only other upsets.
Signet Goofy, who was undefeated heading into the semi-final stage, couldn’t find any space at the first bend, and was edged out for third by Savana Beau towards the finish, failing to make the final. The second semi-final saw another surprise, as Patrick Janssens’ Lautaro, who had set a new track record in the first round, could only finish fourth.
As always, there were plenty of upsets throughout the competition, and punters couldn’t miss a race for fear of missing a big name going out. While Romeo Magico’s success was the headline, the potential for upsets and unexpected results throughout the whole month of the competition is what makes the Derby such an exciting watch for racing fans.