The English Greyhound Derby is the premier fixture on the English greyhound racing calendar. An event with a long, prestigious history, the race is a favourite for both fans and trainers. Punters enjoy the atmosphere, and the chance for quality greyhound betting as the best dogs take to the track together. For trainers, there are few better feelings than a successful Greyhound Derby, with the acclaim and prize money that comes with winning the event.
We’ve taken a look at the last five years of the Derby, to recap the winners and losers.
The first time in the history of the Derby that it was held outside of London, after moving from Wimbledon Stadium to Towcester Greyhound Stadium. With £175,000 in prize money, it was all to play for.
Clares Rocket was the fastest runner in the semi-finals, topping the second semi-final ahead of Tyrur Shay and Astute Missile. The first semi-final, a slower affair, saw Hiya Butt win, ahead of Droopys Acrobat and Murrys Act.
The final saw a fast start, with Hiya Butt leading from Astute Missile, the latter forcing his way inside to take the lead at the third bent, while Hiya Butt flagged after a bump. Tyrur Shay finished well, but Astute Missile had the pace to hold on to first place, and won the Derby.
The greyhound racing tips would have been high on Droopys Expert ahead of the Derby, but the All-England Cup champion was out in the first round of the 2018 event. Dorotoas Wildcat impressed in the run up to the semi-finals. Droopys Verve was the only dog to finish under 29 seconds in the semi-finals, coming home ahead of Bombers Bullet and Dorotas Vic, while Whoops Jack led the second semi-final, Dorotas Wildcat and Bruisers Bullet following.
The final saw Dorotas Wildcat start well, clear of the two inside, he led all the way. Droopys Verve was the favourite, but had to settle for second. Dorotas Vic took third, while disappointing runs from Bombers Bullet and Whoops Jack saw them finish behind Bruisers Bullet.
Following the unexpected closure of Towcester Greyhound Stadium, the event was relocated to Nottingham Greyhound Stadium. Entry had to be restricted for the first time in over three decades, due to the number of entries, and the field was incredibly strong.
The 2019 Derby featured one of the strongest semi-final line-ups in the competition’s history. In the first heat, favourite Magical Bale started fastest, ahead of 2018’s champion, Dorotas Wildcat. Droopys Expert followed closely and, as the race came to a close, Dorotas Wildcat fell back to fourth, with Priceless Blake round out the top three. Clonbrien Prince finished just ahead of Skywalker Logan in the other heat, with Ballymac Tas taking third.
The final saw a 1-2-3 for Ireland, as Priceless Blake burst out of the traps and didn’t look back. There was trouble behind, as Magical Bale recovered from a poor start, only to fail at taking the first bend cleanly, ending his chance of victory, as well as those of Droopys Expert and Clonbrien Prince. Ballymac Tas and Skywalker Logan both ran strong races to finish behind Priceless Blake.
The 2020 Greyhound Derby took place in October, after the May event was postponed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The event had a revised format, with 96 runners and one round fewer than normal. For the second year in a row, four Irish entries made up the final six.
Just as the year before, it was an Irish 1-2-3. Deerjet Sydney started quickly to lead all the way to the finish, while Smurfs Machine started well in second, but faded late on to finish further, with Ballydoyle Valor and Collavanny Chick making up ground. Wolfe suffered ligament damage at the second bend, and was retired by his trainer.
The 2021 Derby returned to Towcester, with the prize money returned to £175,000, after dropping when the race was held in Nottingham. The favourites ahead of the competition were Knockaboul Syd, Native Maestro, and Tenpin. Only Knockaboul Syd made it past the third round, he was knocked out in the semi-final.
The final saw Patrick Janssens’ pair of Kilara Lion and Thorn Falcon start fastest, ahead of the Irish quartet that made up the rest of the field. Thorn Falcon took the lead at the second bend and pulled clear, with Kilara Lion holding on to second. Deerjet Sydney, the defending champions, ran well to finish third ahead of Ballymac Fairone while Ballymac Wild finished ahead of Newinn Session at the back.