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Time to start sorting out the boys from the men
SO Dolores Ruth isn’t just a superb trainer, she’s also a mean Monmore graded tipster! That much we know after her appearance on Racing Post Greyhound TV on Thursday when finding winners at the Wolverhampton venue seemed akin to shelling peas for her.
Throw in a winning Hove nap in the shape of Thank Will and it’s fair to say that Ms Razldazl left myself and presenter Darrell Williams completely in the shade. Never backward in coming forward, she wasn’t shy in reinforcing the point, but both myself and DW loved the evening.
Three and a half hours can be a long time to talk greyhounds, especially when you are sat on the top seed for the most uncomfortable couch in the country competition. But the time flew past and there was some great interaction with viewers.
Amongst other questions, Dolores was asked who the best greyhound she has ever handled was [Razldazl Billy her immediate choice], who her current favourite is [Razldazl Jayfkay] and which of her three semi-finalists in the Betfair 600 at Shelbourne Park she fancies the most[Razldazl Will].
Asked for an unexposed youngster to follow, she went for Razldazl Luke, who will likely make his debut in a Shelbourne unraced event although, sadly, is hardly likely to be a price now with the massed ranks of RPGTV viewers forming an orderly queue in front of the bookmakers . . .
Of course, the sole reason Dolores is in the UK is to oversee the williamhill.com Derby campaign of Team Razldazl, namely Jayfkay, Bugatti and Rioga.
Only Jayfkay won in round one, but the other duo had valid excuses and it would not surprise if all three were successful this weekend when the pressure really gets turned up a notch after a first round when it was harder to get knocked out than qualify.
I made it to Wimbledon for Saturday’s heats when it didn’t seem to stop raining all night so it’s only fair to point outhow well the running surface coped. Going of -30 was pretty good in the circumstances.
The next few days were spend analysing all 22 heats as I put together the A to Z feature we run every Derby in the Racing Post. It’s a labour of love and very rewarding although I will admit to always gulping when the first synopsis is written and realising that there are still more than 90 to do.
It’s a hugely worthwhile exercise all the same, but I think it’s important not to get carried away by some performances, good and bad, in round one this year.
Most trainers were acutely aware that their greyhounds were through come what may given the generous qualification process and I’m pretty sure some just eased off in terms of preparation in order to let their greyhounds have the best chance of going deep in the competition.
It will be something of a shock to the system this weekend when things get a whole lot tougher and I would not be surprised to see some major form reversals.
There have been calls for a change to the structure of the Derby given that it failed to attract the expected level of entries despite the record £125,000 first prize but I would resist them.
I like the fact that anyone can enter any qualified greyhound and reducing the Classic to five rounds and 96 entries would take that away, and I like the fact that the three runs in a week stage from third round through quarters to semis is a unique challenge. As Dolores said, it sorts the boys from the men.
At some point, probably when economic conditions are better, the entries will return as more people are prepared to tilt at windmills, but was last week’s quiet start to the Derby really that bad? I don’t think so, and can’t wait for this weekend.
See you there.
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