Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
Thrilling fare, yet Boom Boom deserved better
RPGTV viewers are asked to nominate a performance of the first round. Candidates from the opening night will include Aclamon Messi - his 4.71sec sectional was stunning, while Newinn Yolo and Farloe Blitz both enhanced their reputations with stylish victories.
But you could also put up a consolation for unluckiest dog. Boom Boom Hero, Crokers Champ and Ballymac Brogan all finished third, producing exceptional speed, yet all three are out.
Boom Boom Hero clocked 28.23sec, beaten threeparts of a length, which hardly makes sense. A William Hill Derby that starts so quietly on a Wednesday that felt more like a trials session is hardly what the world's greatest race should be about. Perhaps running qualifying trials is indeed a better solution. With so many entries, a fairer format is needed - and a real start with 32 proper six runners heats, rather than this 48 made up of an odd mixture of mainly fives, but some 'unlucky' sixes. It doesn't feel fair that only two qualify throughout.
Pat Buckley's pair survived in the opener, and battled hard to pick up Boom Boom Hero.
It was a thriller, and the track produced some great racing all night. Of course there was a big TV audience via RPGTV, and the Derby will gradually built its momentum.
Other than the qualification method, there was little other controversy. The track did slow right down, some of the later wins were impressive on the eye, if not the clock.
12 more heats follow on Thursday, then 13 apiece Friday and Saturday.
Did we see a Derby winner on Wednesday night? Yes, we might well have. 20 runners survived, 34 didn't, so that is already an achievement. Congratulations to all those who go forward to Sunday's second round draw, commiserations to the majority who didn't.
But then it's not the end of the world. An air ambulance landed in front of me on the M25 earlier, that is real bad luck, getting involved in a serious road accident. I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn't.
Let's keep a sense of proportion, and enjoy the rest of what promises to be an exceptional month ahead.
See you at Wimbledon.