Ian Fortune

Graham Holland is Towcester bound.

It was never really in doubt but his first runners will appear at the Northamptonshire venue on Sunday.

Graham is currently planning to have eight Derby runners, although last weekend’s Con & Annie Kirby Memorial winner Swords Rex won’t be amongst them.

Said Graham of his star, “No, we’re not going to Towcester with him. He’s quite young and he’s been busy. We’re going to take in the Produce Stakes instead. I know that starts next week but there’s no travelling involved and the run to the pick up isn’t anything like that at Towcester.

“It was great to win the Kirby. I was delighted for Leonard and Barbara. They’re great supporters of the game and really deserved a big one like this. After the last couple of years I was great to have a night like last Friday.

“Racing aside, it was a really enjoyable occasion. With the GAA clubs involved there were so many new people introduced to the sport over the few weeks. And then final night they were treated to a great night’s racing and a massive atmosphere. If only a small percentage of them come back, it will b a good thing for the sport.”  


Of his Derby team, the likes of Part Blake and Romeo Magico are proven at the very highest level. Both stars will be in action on Sunday.

Part Blake will be a red-hot favourite to win his trial stake. Racing from trap three, he should have far too much early speed for those around him and can dominate unless making a hash of the start.

Romeo Magico faces a far stiffer test. He races from trap four in the second race on the card and has the reigning Derby champion Thorn Falcon, the Peter Cronin trained Cape Cloud and the talented duo of Stefans Rocket and Warzone Tom to contend with.

Graham has no doubts about Romeo Magico’s ability, however. “He’s just a very fast greyhound. Some of the trials he has done for us are unbelievable. He always had massive pace but he looks a lot stronger this year. Let’s hope he takes to Towcester.”

Bockos Budsit and Romeo On Fire are also in action. The former races from trap four in the opening trial stake. Said Graham of Budsit, “We actually entered him as a middle seed so I don’t know why he’s down as an inside seed. Luckily, he drew four. He’s a fast greyhound but we’re still waiting on him o grow up a little. He definitely has plenty of ability”.

Bockos Budsit takes on Peter Cronin’s Irish Derby finalist All About Ted, the very fast Dapper Rodney and Romeo On Tilt.

Romeo On Fire had a spell in the UK in the second half of 2021 but has since returned to the Riverside Kennels. He already boasts two wins around Towcester, which came last October. If making one of his trade-mark flying starts, he should have a big say in the third of the Derby trial stakes.    


Outside of his four trial stake runners, Graham is also planning to trial a further four potential English Derby challengers ahead of racing on Sunday.

Bocko Leah is roughly twelve weeks out of season and will be given a sprint trial. So too will Knight Tornado, who has recovered from a small TFL strain picked up in the Easter Cup decider.

One of Graham’s most exciting trackers in the second half of 2021 was Russian Glory. He picked up a gracilis injury in preparation for a tilt at the Easter Cup but recently trialed very well at Cork, posting 28.35 for the 525yds.

Said Graham of Russian Glory, “He’s doing well after the injury. He trialed well at Cork. We’re giving him a sprint as we don’t want to do too much too soon. He will be brought on slowly”.  

The last of Graham’s four dog to trial is Bockos Vieira. “He’s not a great breaker but is very quick” said Graham. He went on to say, “We’re waiting for the penny to drop with him but there’s no doubting his potential”

The full Towcester Card for Sunday can be found here (*Note the 3.48 has been redrawn and Part Blake is now in trap three):