JONATHAN KAY: Ahead of round three of the English Greyhound Derby 2022, read Jonathan’s betting advice and hear about his selections.
Second round recap
As brilliant as round one was, round two has to be regarded as a let-down in my opinion. I’d be in agreement with a number of trainers who felt the running surface was too dry on Friday on what was a warm day with a strong breeze, effectively meaning the sand had a hairdryer on it. The resultant racing was generally scrappy with greyhounds struggling to get the grip they required to really be able to show their pace.
As such, the incredible run of Ballinabola Ed towards the end of Friday evening can be marked up. It wasn’t just that his time of 29.07sec was three lengths quicker than anything else, it was the manner of victory in terms of the way he rounded a former track record holder in the first couple of bends and opened up.
However, the run did again show his potential Achilles heel as Pat Buckley’s dog was flat-footed at the start for the second round running. Can he hope to win a Derby continuing to break moderately and potentially leaving himself vulnerable to trouble? All the other tools are there though.
Saturday was better racing on what looked a well-watered circuit although some of the starts seemed a bit ragged. We had to wait to the last heat for the run of the night which came from Peter Cronin’s Irish raider Kildare.
The one nagging doubt about him beforehand was his draw in one as I believe he’s better just off the fence, but he put any such concerns to bed with a decent start which allowed him to pace up to the bend and take command at that point.
The winning time was a best-of-the-night 29.11sec, with the near three lengths runner-up being the reigning champion Thorn Falcon, so the form looks rock solid.
Round three tips
The round three NAP is Bockos Belly, who I think can reverse the form with Ballinabola Ed, who beat him in brilliant fashion last week, when they meet again in heat seven at 8:26pm.
Bockos Belly ran really well on that occasion and improved on the clock compared to his emphatic first round win, but the main reason for fancying him is the draw faced by Ballinabola Ed.
Yet to master the art of trapping at Towcester, he is flanked by fast starters this week and could easily be squeezed out early which would have to blunt his brilliant speed.
Next Best goes in the night’s finale at 8:45pm in the shape of the Mark Wallis-trained Antigua Cuddles. Yet to win in the event, she ran a blinder behind Signet Ace last week when closing the Greyhound of the Year down to half a length from some way back and now has the ping trap three box, and a lot of her rivals here are stronger finishers but she could slip clear.
In terms of a LAY, Graham Holland’s Romeo Magico looks ripe for opposing at the prices in heat three at 7:10pm. He beat track record holder Lautaro in style last weekend but will have to start every bit as fast to avoid a pincer movement from Makeit For Waz and Jaytee Wexford on his inner and outer respectively. At the odds, I think we can take Romeo Magico on.
6:35pm Ht 1 T4 Kildare
6:50pm Ht 2 T1 Ballymac Fairone
7:10pm Ht 3 T5 Signet Goofy [Lay T3 Romeo Magico]
7:30pm Ht 4 T2 Singalong Sally
7:48pm Ht 5 T3 Spinosaurus
8:05pm Ht 6 T6 Lautarro
8:26pm Ht 7 T2 Bockos Belly NAP
8:45pm Ht 8 T3 Antigua Cuddles NB