Ian Fortune

No fewer than twenty Irish trained greyhounds will be in action at Towcester this evening as the second round of the Star Sports/ TRC English Derby comes to conclusion. 


Peter Cronin is doubly represented in the opening heat of the night with Azurite and Mr Chelm. Of course, Cronin trained Mr Chelm to run up the Derby in 2022. He actually contested the Derby for a different trainer last year going out in the opening round but returns for another stint back under Cronin’s care.

He was having his first look at Towcester in some time last weekend and will come on greatly for the run. Expect him to outrun his odds. Azurite will also improve for her first look at the Northamptonshire venue, although she will need to come away racing. Mr Chelm has already attracted support during the week but is still available at 9-2 which seems generous.


Ireland has four representatives in Heat 10, the second of the evening, with Singalong Dolly, High Trend, Merits Inclusion and Ballinabola Ed taking on one of the great hopes of the UK, Barntick Bear. High Trend has moved into favouritism in recent days, just ahead of Barntick Bear and that seems fair.

The latter isn’t blessed with massive early speed and is likely to have the door closed on him in the early yards with High Trend expected to go up fast and edge inwards. Ballinabola Ed made a very encouraging comeback last week and has an ideal draw in the stripes, while Singalong Dolly will be hoping to hold her rails pitch around the turn. Merits Inclusion could actually be very well drawn in four but needs to come away on terms to make his exceptional pace to the third turn count.

One suspects, the Irish may just have the measure of Barntick Bear and High Trend is just chosen ahead of his compatriots.


There are also four Irish trained runners in the next heat where Jaytee Craze, Faypoint Harvey and Antigua Hawk are disputing favouritism, while Ballymac Gizmo must also enter calculations from an ideal draw on the fence.

So much will depend on the opening exchanges. Ballymac Gizmo has the best of the draw and can certainly figure but he needs to make a better start than last week. The same can be said for Jaytee Craze but he has more Towcester form than his fellow Irish raiders.

That could potentially make the difference. Both Faypoint Harvey and Antigua Hawk are also greatly respected. Faypoint Harvey has twice won around the Northamptonshire venue and is capable of a flying start.

Antigua Hawk opened his account last time, leading early to win by over three lengths in 28.81 and a repeat of that form would see him go close. Of course, at least one of the Irish will make their exit in this contest but there I a strong chance we could fill the frame.  


Faypoint Sean, Romeo Steel and Ballymac Slick take their chance in Heat 12. Romeo Steel and Ballymac Slick both won last week but the draw favours Faypoint Sean. There is no doubt he will need to sharpen up at trap rise but he has a big engine and can emerge on top at the expense of Ballymac Slick, who will be finishing fast.

Crafty Shivoo and Rioja Joey are big players for the home team and won’t make life easy for the Irish runners.


Ballymac Dapper and Boylesports Bob dominate the betting in Heat 13. Boylesports Bob was one of the stars of the opening round, displaying awesome pace from the second turn. He can again make a bold bid, although Ballymac Dapper would be a tough nut to crack if finding his way to the front in the early yards.


2022 Irish Derby runner-up Ballymac Finn will be favourite to come home in front in Heat 14. He ran into King Memphis last week but ran well in defeat. If starting on terms, he is likely to get first run and can lead home his rivals.

Jim By Two and Hawkfield Abbie will need to be at their sharpest if they are to progress but it would be a shock if Ballymac Finn didn’t earn a place in the third round.


Heat 15 looks wide open but Grouchos Duke and Newinn Port are both respected. The former displayed huge early speed last week only to fade home. He is likely to come on for that run and is perhaps the most likely pace-setter.

Newinn Port moves well throughout and also looks likely to race prominently. Droopys Pivotel, Antigua Kestrel and Whyaye Man are capable of having a say for the home team.