With the majority of greyhound racing’s biggest competitions over and done with for the year, now is a time for reflection and to give credit where credit is due after a year where some sense of normality was resumed. The start of the year looked to pick up where 2020 left off, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing races to take place behind closed doors, but with the gradual easing of some restrictions, spectators were once again allowed to spend a night down at the tracks.
Despite greyhound racing not garnering the same popularity it once had, particularly in the 20th century, there are still a handful of loyal followers enthusiastically greyhound betting with Betfair, and with a few prizes still up for grabs before the end of the calendar year it will be interesting to see who they favour. For now, though, lets look at the best races of the year so far and the trainers behind some fantastic performances.
English Greyhound Derby
We may as well get the big one out of the way. For all that can be said about the other races that take place throughout the year, it is hard to find anything that compares to the spectacle of the English Greyhound Derby, and hard to find one as popular and as hotly discussed in the greyhounds betting tips.
With last year’s winner Deerjet Sydney underperforming, the proverbial baton was passed to the Patrick Janssens’ trained Thorn Falcon picking up the lucrative prize pot with an impressive time of 29.06 seconds. The race returned to Towcester for the first time since 2018, and despite a plethora of local trainers coming close it was the experienced Belgian Janssens who was able to write his name in the history books and take home the bragging rights.
East Anglian Greyhound Derby
A third comprehensive win for Antigua Storm established the Mark Wallis for Nic and Amanda Jeal two-year-old as one of the best in the business. Yarmouth’s East Anglian Derby may not boast the history of the English Greyhound Derby, which has been running since the 1930s, but the superiority Antigua Storm demonstrated is writing new history into modern racing.
“I think you can say he deserved this title,” said 11-time champion trainer Wallis. “This was his third big final in just a handful of races – and he’d finished second in both. But this was easily the best race he’s run because he’d not had the easiest start to the week and in the race itself he found himself with plenty to do.”
Irish Champion Stakes
Dublin’s long association with greyhound racing spans back almost 100 years now. The pinnacle of Irish racing is usually the Irish Greyhound Derby but this year’s edition of the Champion Stakes was a sight to behold. Currently one of the fastest greyhounds on the planet, the appropriately named De Machine swept aside the competition to pick up the £20,000 prize, justifying his selection as the clear favourite in the ante-post betting. Regardless of how good the competition is come next summer, this one will take some beating.
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