Peterborough-based greyhound trainer Richard Devenish will be placing his faith in the young paws of Ballymac McCole in the 2016 William Hill and Underground Racing Puppy Derby final at Fengate tonight (June 15).
Ballymac McCole is one magical run away from winning the £8,500 prize in the city stadium’s biggest night of racing for three years but trainer Devenish is keeping his feet on the ground.
He said: “It’s just a normal day for us. We are the underdogs in the big race and our preparations haven’t changed because keeping a routine is key.
“We didn’t expect Ballymac McCole to make the final but you need luck on your side and that is what we have with a very favourable trap draw.
“Both of the favoured dogs have been drawn on the outside which could give us a clear run around the first bend which will provide us with every chance.”
The Puppy Derby (9.08pm) is the feature race of the high-profile 14-racecard and eight of these races will be shown on Sky Sports who are broadcasting live from Fengate.
Derby favourite Newinn Shadow is the dog to beat after the romping to victory in the previous two rounds. The Hove dog also recorded the fastest semi-final time last Wednesday and is currently priced at 8/11 with Skybet.
William Hill and Underground Racing Peterborough Puppy Derby finalists:
T1: Ballymac Mccole (10/1) – Ballymac McCole is the only Peterborough representative in the final and the city dog could benefit from a favourable trap draw. The Richard Devenish-trained hound charged to victory from trap one last Wednesday which was an improved display after finishing third in the first round heat from the same trap.
T2: Dranoel (20/1) – Long shot Dranoel has made a steady route to the final. The Kent-based dog crept through to the semi-final after finishing third from trap three in the first round heat. The Barry O’Sullivan trained dog booked his final place with a second placed finish in the blue jacket behind Ballymac McCole in a five-dog race last week. He may well find the other finalists too good on the night.
T3: Holdem Rio (4/1) – Northamptonshire charger Holdem Rio has every chance of overturning the odds. The Towcester-based dog cruised through to the semi-final after a convincing first round win from trap one and finished a clear second behind Newinn Shadow in the semi-finals. Holdem Rio could well be in the mix at the finish although the trap draw is a concern after both his previous runs arrived in the red jacket.
T4: Savana Lord (20/1) – Joint outsider Savana Lord is an interesting prospect. The Hounslow dog finished second in the first round heat and showed a good turn of foot after making a slow break from trap four. The Jason Ray-trained dog made a slow start again in the semi-final but a clear run around the inside on the first bend allowed him to make up ground in style and clinch second place. Savana Lord won’t be able to afford a slow start tonight in such high quality company.
T5: Newinn Shadow (8/11) – Newinn Shadow is the hot favourite and with good reason. The Sussex dog cruised through the previous two rounds and got the better of fellow finalist Holdem Rio in a storming run from trap six in last week’s second semi-final, recording the fastest semi-final time in the process. That performance made it two victories from two races, building on his comfortable victory from trap five in the first round heat. However, if Shadow gets a tough run on the tight first bend it could bring others into contention.
T6: Droopys Country (7/2) – Droopys Country is a dog that’s not short of character. The Newcastle dog endured a very tough first bend in the first round heat but recovered impressively to finish second. There were no such problems for the James Wright trained dog in the semi-final when a trap six draw worked out well and Country finished a clear winner ahead of Savana Lord. If Droopys Country emerges from the first bend in front, he could prove hard to catch.
The Underground Racing Sprint Trophy (8.16pm) will also take place tonight and has a valuable £2000 prize pot. Five Peterborough trainers will battle it out in what promises to be a fascinating dash for cash.
Devenish representative Mac Foiche is currently the joint 13/8 favourite and believes that ‘if he gets a good break he will be hard to beat’.