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Weblog: At large in the greyhound world

Back for Derby second round draw: 1pm Sunday

WIMBLEDON's racing has been so good, with so many fantastic finishes that it was flooring to lose Romeo In Milan after he took a heavy fall at the first bend in Saturday's heat 30.

This was a horrible blow for his owner breeder Dave Firmager and his head man Rory Logan which  removed the shine from the first round. It will have been a miserable drive home.

There was Saturday doubles for Brian Thompson and Mark Wallis, while the run of Fizzypop Buddy proved a popular stormer June Harvey and her owner Perry Madden.

There was a tremendous battle between Boyneside Fun and Ballymac Shirley in heat 38, and it wasn't clear as they crossed the line who had prevailed, Charlie's dog nicked it, but the unlucky one was Ballymac Shirley's kennelmate Roswell Iceman. It was a heat where two qualified and he was beaten half a length into third.

Biggest talking point came after the last heat when the stewards announced the disqualification of George Power's Ballymac Frano. He had pounced on Aimnfire up the run in, but turned his head towards his rival.

Having been once involved in making the arrangements for parliamentary greyhound Division Belle nearly a decade ago but then seeing her fight like the proverbial tiger in a Leger heat, I can testify there are worse cases . . . and she was one of the worst! Frano had previously been marked awkward at Nottingham, so it will not have come as a shock to connections, but it will still be profoundly disappointing for them.

A vacant trap was included in Sunday's 1pm draw for the second round, which will be staged on Thursday and Saturday.

Nominations for the Performance of the First Round were made for Sunday's RPGTV show, with John Lambe's Charity Buster declared the winner. The nominating viewer will  present connections of the greyhound with a salver in Thursday's second round. The viewer and a guest are VIPs, courtesy of Hills, in Wimbledon’s restaurant.

Pricewise fans, were also cheered by Tony Bullen's  11-2 tip of Charity Buster (SP 7-2).

It was one of a series of displays of real pace over all three nights. Arguably the race of Saturday was the 28.18sec win of Hayley Keightley's Roxholme Barkley, who was closed down to a head by gallant Diane Henry's Making Paper.

There was just the one Irish winner on Saturday,  Oliver Canavan's Wonder Millie, but with six winners in all and many likely improvers, the challenge remains a strong one.