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Weblog: At large in the greyhound world

Exciting finale to most competitive Derby ever

THE key to it was Rio Quattro broke and did his fastest sectional when it mattered, 4.78sec.

Farloe Blitz flew out (4.70sec) but he was never far enough ahead of Danny Riordan’s dog – who pounced and kicked on at the third, confounding those who had questioned his resolution.

He won the £250,000 William Hill Derby in style, after being targeted at it months earlier by his shrewd handler. “I love it when a plan comes together,” he smiled afterwards. Pricewise fans, thanks to Tony Bullen, celebrated an 80-1 long odds windfall.

It was tough on Owen McKenna, his dog had done everything right during such a tough month. It had been the most competitive Derby ever and that was evidenced by the exciting final, but Rio Quattro had the gears when it mattered.

Tynwald Bish ran a race and a half to be runner-up, while Eden The Kid, after a hopeless start and trouble, ran his heart out to take third.

There was an excellent crowd and upbeat atmosphere at Wimbledon. The tennis might be about to start on Monday but Plough Lane hosts a genuinely major sporting occasion too – and an international one with the Irish playing such a key role. It was great to see so many regular faces turning out – there remains a passion for such top class racing and professional sport at its best.

After Riordan had twice missed out from the semis in the past by the minimum margin, he had finally got his opportunity. And his dog made full use of trap one, the third winner from there in five years.

Congratulations to Danny and all the team involved. Commiserations to everybody else. We’ll be back for more of the same next year - and our thanks to William Hill for making it happen. It remains the world's greatest race, something for the sport, Merton and London to be genuinely proud of. 

Don't miss Monday's Racing Post for full reports, reaction and pictures of the night of the year.