Leading greyhound trainer Nathan Hunt gives insight into his 2020 Greyhound Derby hope, Ballyard Ricki, and his weekend runners.
English Greyhound Derby 2020
Leading greyhound trainer Nathan Hunt is one of the brightest talents in the game and writes exclusively for Oddschecker every week. In this week’s column, he discusses his five runners in the opening heats of the Scurry Cup at Harlow and also looks ahead to Ballyard Ricki, his first runner in the sport’s biggest competition, the Greyhound Derby who runs on Saturday in one of 16 heats for the Derby at Nottingham.
I have my first runner in the Greyhound Derby on Saturday with Ballyard Ricki (8:36pm: Nottingham: Trap Four)
I’m quite excited to have a dog of Ballyard Ricki’s calibre and he is improving with every run.
Ballyard Ricki is in good form. I haven’t run him since September 21 as I wanted to keep him fresh going into the competition. We have done a little bit of work with him here and he is well in himself and looks great. The draw in trap four will definitely suit, but it is a really tough draw. He is going to have to break the same as he did last time out. If he does that again, then I think he will lead as he has fantastic pace going to the bend. He is the type of dog that if he can get past the first couple of rounds, I think you will see a better dog then as he is the type who is going to improve.
We are just looking to get through Saturday, but I do think he is a dog who can get through the first couple of rounds and will improve. The first three dogs in each heat go through and there will be a few dogs in the race finishing strongly so we need to be at least first or second coming off the last bend to qualify.
Delighted with Ballyard Ricki’s run in this evenings derby trial stake. Showing a lovely burst of pace to lead a good field. Hopefully more to come with further track experience and we look forward to the derby with him Nice to hear the OiOi’s from the stands again! pic.twitter.com/6tM11Z7tm0— Nathan Hunt (@NHunt67) September 21, 2020
Of the opposition, Sparta Master (Trap Five) is a fast dog and he will be finishing strongly. Faughan Rebel (Trap Six) has been running very fast trials, but again I think he is quite a strong runner who Ricki might get away from early in the race.
Irish trainer Graham Holland has brought over Feudal Spirit (Trap Three) and any dog he has brought over has to be respected. He is probably the outsider of Graham’s team for the Derby, but he showed when he did break in the Irish Derby that he is dangerous.
I however like Southwood Jet (Trap One). He is well drawn, given he is a tight-railer and the dogs drawn outside of him will give him plenty of room on the inside. I think he is the dog that we will have to battle with to get the lead.
I think Glengar Bale is an interesting contender for the Greyhound Derby
Looking at all the heats, I can understand why Newinn Session is the 10/1 favourite for the Derby as a whole, but he has not really proven himself in a competition so far. He is a fast dog, but I don’t think he is well-drawn in his heat in trap one and I think Bockos Doomie could win that heat at 9.26pm on Saturday.
The Irish dogs have to be feared and they will improve for their first run having come over on the ferry.
I quite like Glengar Bale to win the competition at 28/1. He is a very fast dog and should get his draws throughout the competition.
We have five runners in the BGBF British Bred Scurry heats at Harlow this evening:
6:48: Harlow: Aero Rackitup (Trap One)
Aero Rackitup (8/1) is well drawn and shaped much better than his trial suggests as he had a bit of a look round as Harlow is a hard track to run round first time out. He can break better than he showed on that occasion and if he does break well, he has got a great chance. Hopefully he can at least get into the top three and then improve.
7:24: Harlow: Bang On Annie (Trap One)
Bang On Annie (6/4) is favourite for her heat, but the only negative is that she does not always break smartly from trap one. He has been trialling very well there of late and also trialled well there back in March. It is just whether she can get break. It’s a good race, but she is our best hope for the competition – we just need to get through the first round.
8:03: Harlow: Binksy Brave (Trap Two)
Binksy Brave (13/2) beat Aero Rackitupin a trial at Harlow last time out. He is breaking a lot better and whilst he is an outsider, if he comes out he could have every chance.
8:43: Harlow: Binksy Bruce (Trap One)
Binksy Bruce (6/1) had a bit of time off with injury. He has not really come back as the same dog since injury, but he ran a nice trial time there. He trialled along with Bang On Annie last week. If he breaks well, he will be seen to best effect. I will expect him to improve a fair bit given that was his first four-bend race for a while last week.
8:43: Harlow: Ive Got Gears (Trap Three)
Ive Got Gears (12/1) will need to break and she has one in her locker. She ran well the other week when producing a time of 24.00s and if she can reproduce that form she would have a chance. However, it is quite a hard heat.
Best bet this evening
I think Bang On Annie is our best chance of the night, but Aero Rackitup might be worth a little bet and offers a little value given he has a chance if he breaks smartly.