Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
Derby closes to entries at high noon Wednesday
EVERYONE’s focus is now on the William Hill Derby, which closes to entries at noon on Wednesday 22nd, with the first round draw being made 1pm on Sunday, May 26th
I will be at trials there again on Wednesday and aim (system permitting!) to do similar live reporting as last Wednesday’s trials via racingpost.com/greyhounds, plus also carry the actual draw on the Sunday.
The first round is Friday May 31 and Saturday June 1, and will be shown live on RPGTV, as is the second round the following weekend – Friday 7th and Saturday 8th. Then Sky Sports takes over from the third round onwards.
You have to say the excitement this year seems greater than ever with a substantial Irish challenge for the £150,000 first prize. Perhaps the publicity on RPGTV has helped, but I noticed when in Ireland last weekend for the Ladbrokes 600 and Red Mills Produce finals that engagement with Wimbledon – and interest in its future – was greater than ever.
We’re at the stage where everyone seems to be dreaming of getting to the Saturday June 29 final – with the exception of David Hunt who finally ruled out Sawpit Sensation after wrestling with the decision on RPGTV on Wednesday night. Although he seemed to be leaning towards giving his Betfred Eclipse winner a trial round Wimbledon, I thought it wisest to double-check, and it turned out he had typically then agonised about it all night before finally deciding to stick with his gut instinct that his dog just needs a shade further.
He had said that another clash between the Betfred Select (Nottingham Tuesday July 30) and the Coral Sussex Cup (final Hove confirmed as Wednesday August 7) meant one possible opportunity had been taken away from him, which had further made him reflect about the Derby. He does have a point, and it would be better if a fresh look could be taken when it comes to the big event calendar next year. That said, a lot of work and juggling does go on behind the scenes, and sometimes things simply aren’t ideal given the availability of slots and there is no way around it.
What can help is the arrival of Racing Post Greyhound TV, which for instance was able to step in and show the Ladbrokes Scottish Derby this year.
Anyway, the world’s greatest race can be seen in its entirety on TV, but I know I will be getting down to Wimbledon as often as possible. Do try and join me via the special Racing Post voucher that offers free admission, racecard and a drink for up to four people for any Wimbledon meeting during the period up to and including the William Hill Derby semi-finals. If you wish to come to the night of the year, discounted £12 tickets to the final are available from 0870 840 8905.
I thought Wimbledon’s track looked in excellent shape on Wednesday, and it’s obvious the groundstaff there put in a massive effort to keep things ship-shape. We all know the old stadium is showing its age, but the track has never been better.
This is the third year of operating from the ‘far side’, and it remains to be seen what happens in the long-term – but make no mistake, the bid from Paschal Taggart and fronted in Britain by the impressively determined Diane McLean remains very much a big runner.
Incidentally, everyone involved with Racing Post Greyhound TV is pleased with the way our additional Wednesday and Sunday slots have gone down with viewers, please do keep the feedback coming.
See you at Wimbledon!