JONATHAN KAY: Ahead of round two of the English Greyhound Derby 2022, read Jonathan’s betting advice and hear about his early selections.
First round recap
The opening round was absolutely everything you could have hoped for, and was clearly highlighted by a 28.84sec track record being set on the opening night. At 2/5, it was a race Patrick Janssens’ dog was entitled to win but to blitz out like he did and run his rivals ragged in such impressive fashion really set the rest of the competition up. There was one other sub-29.00sec run from Ballinabola Ed (29.97sec), but numerous other highlights were Ballymac Leon and Skywalker Barry, just to mention a couple. One thing to highlight though, is just how well middle-drawn runners seemed to be trapping with eight of the 12 greyhounds to break 4.10sec for sectional, doing it from either T3 or T4. The Irish challenge was a slow burner with just a couple of winners on the first night, but by the end of 32 heats the score was UK 17-15 Ireland so it’s very much game on!
There were a number of greyhounds to catch the eye in defeat, but I will suggest two of the more unexposed ones to keep an eye on. Ballymore Border is taking time to get used to trapping at Towcester but showed a lot of speed in Lautaro’s track record race and Owen McKenna’s dog has the scope to produce a big run if he can just come out on terms. Hoodoo Brown found all sorts of trouble in the race won by Bockos Belly and would arguably have gone very close given the way he rallied. Liam Dowling’s dog had shown his ability with a smart pre-competition trial and is one to keep very much on the right side. Lautaro has to make the stand-out performer shortlist after his track record run but three up-and-coming Irish-trained greyhounds in Ballinabola Ed, Ballymac Leon and Da Bold Freddie also offered massive hope for the remainder of the competition.
I was no way disappointed with Singalong Sally’s first round run when a half-length second to Part Blake given it was such a hot heat, where connections of all would have snapped your hand off for qualification beforehand. She did surprise me in the manner she moved off from T4 but once on an even keel and keeping a straighter path she gave a very decent greyhound a good race. Singalong Sally has proven durability in competitions and I’m sure a big winning run is just around the corner, perhaps this week.
I’m going early with my Friday NAP in the shape of Pat Buckley’s Glengar Scholar, who goes from T1 in the opener at 6:20pm. Buckley’s dog looked the fastest in his round one heat but was stopped in his tracks when challenging at the third bend. He can reverse form with Callemesteve, who mugged him late after he had got to the front. Next best on Friday is T5 Ballymore Border in heat four at 7:10pm. I’ve already mentioned that Owen McKenna’s dog caught the eye behind Lautaro and he’s drawn a heat he can lead with anything like a level break. I’ll oppose T6 All About Ted in heat five at 7:30pm. He won well in round one but has been inconsistent at the start and Burnchurch Mick could easily get away from him.
The NAP is another eye-catcher from round one in the shape of Liam Dowling’s Hoodoo Brown from T3 in heat 14 at 7:48pm. Although well beaten in second, he ran a blinder behind Bockos Belly last week and looks to have a good make-up in a very winnable heat. Next best is Richard Rees’ Brighton Belle winner Whats Up Eva, whose first round run behind Cape Cloud is marked up due to the fact she did not lead. She may do so drawn T3 in heat 11 at 6:50pm. My lay is track record holder Lautaro who has a much tougher second round assignment from T5 in heat 15 at 8:05pm than in the first round, but the market may not reflect that. Coolavanny Calvn could steal first run and it might be too much to expect another absolute flying start.
6.20 Ht 1 T1 Glengar Scholar (NAP)
6.35 Ht 2 T2 Ballymac Belvult
6.50 Ht 3 T3 Spinosaurus
7.10 Ht 4 T5 Ballymore Border (Nap #2)
7.30 Ht 5 T3 Burnchurch Mick (Lay T6 All About Ted)
7.48 Ht 6 T3 Da Bold Freddie
8.05 Ht 7 T3 Ballymac Leon
8.26 Ht 8 T5 Bubbly Apache
6.20 Ht 9 T4 Singalong Sally
6.35 Ht 10 T2 Part Blake
6.50 Ht 11 T3 Whats Up Eva (Nap #2)
7.10 Ht 11 T3 Bockos Leah
7.30 Ht 13 T6 Bockos Vieira
7.48 Ht 14 T3 Hoodoo Brown (NAP)
8.05 Ht 15 T2 Coolavanny Calvn (Lay T5 Lautaro)
8.26 Ht 16 T1 Kildare