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Greyhound Derby: The finalists

There is more big race action in the north east tonight (pic: John Walton/EMPICS) There is more big race action in the north east tonight (pic: John Walton/EMPICS)

Friday, May 30, 2014
10:05 AM

Our guide to tomorrow’s six runners chasing £200,000

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A record £200,000 is up for grabs as the honour of being the world’s fastest greyhound will be settled at Wimbledon Stadium, London, tomorrow night with the final of the William Hill Greyhound Derby, live on Sky Sports 1.

Who will land a knockout blow on the track, just minutes before Carl Froch and George Groves step into the ring across the capital at Wembley Stadium. Bookmakers are betting on the double. The red corner (Crokers Champ) or the blue corner (Salad Dodger)?!

Ireland are fancied to claim their first Derby title for six years with the two favourites in a competition where 222 greyhounds started out on the road to canine immortality.

Mind The Net, trained by Pat Buckley, is the fastest qualifier, but Crokers Champ, handled by Peter Cronin, is generally considered to quickest starter.

For form, see bagsracing.com. See all the action in the UK’s betting shops

WILLIAM HILL DERBY FINAL (9.08pm)

1 Crokers Champ 

Owner: Jim Treacy

Trainer: Peter Cronin, Ireland

The fastest starter in the competition with his record-breaking 4.62 split time in the second round, supporters will be heartened by the fact that the longstanding trap one hoodoo is now over after recent victories for Taylors Sky and Sidaz Jack. Crokers Champ ran second in the valuable juveniles-only Kirby Memorial at Limerick en route to Wimbledon and he has proved versatile in qualifying from a host of traps - and, yes, the Irish dog has won from the red jacket already, in the quarter-finals.

2 Salad Dodger 

Owners: Bruno Berwick and Ron Mills

Trainer: Bruno Berwick

Joint-youngest in the final, this 500-1 shot ante-post with William Hill remains one of the great stories of this competition. Coming from a small kennel, he is yet to win a round but sits at the top table with a series of gutsy performances - and he’s getting better. Part-owner Mills is a sports massage therapist who has worked with previous Derby winners, while trainer Berwick is a big boxing fan hoping to deliver a knockout blow on the night it matters most with this British-bred puppy. 

3 Droopys Ward

Owners: Peter Abrey, Geoff Bowmer, Alan Heard and Seamus Ryan

Trainer: Paul Young

Another puppy star who has made rapid progress throughout the Classic and made his best break in Saturday’s semi-finals and caught long-time leader Crokers Champ on the run for home. Ultra-strong, no-one knows how good he can be after his own personal best of 28.25sec in the last-12 stage.

Trainer Young got closest last year when Airlie Impact finished second to Sidaz Jack and there will be huge support not only at Wimbledon but in the Brentwood pub owned by his part-owner Bowmer.

4 Mind The Net (m)

Owners: Mike Davis and Javier Jarne

Trainer: Pat Buckley, Ireland

Lines up in the final as the fastest qualifier, with his 28.09sec quarter-final run the third fastest ever at Wimbledon. The Irish dog was also quickest in the third round with a flying 28.16sec, so pace-wise there are no questions to answer. Brought top-class form into the blue riband event as runner-up in the Scottish Derby at Shawfield, Glasgow, where he was edged out by Holdem Spy. Has the ability to lead up, but also stamina-laden as he proved in the semis with a rousing finish to win.

5 Kincraig Rory (m)

Owner: Len Ponder

Trainer: Tony Collett

The oldest runner, he was bought by owner Ponder on recommendation and sent over by Irish handler Allen Agnew just a few weeks before the Classic.

Boasting some decent Irish form and a near-track record run at Drumbo Park, he is yet to win a round, but has battled well to qualify in some tough heats. His owner, who had Lenson Express in the 2008 final, is a lifelong Arsenal fan who missed the third round Derby action to see his team win the FA Cup final. He is now looking for a famous double himself. 

6 Farloe Trent (w)

Owner: KSS Syndicate

Trainer: Liz McNair

This ex-Irish dog has an impressive CV with a track record-breaking time at Tralee when winning the Race of Champions, as well as finishing second in the Dundalk International. Bought by syndicate member Brendan Keogh at the back-end of last year, injury ruled out an early-season campaign but a fast win at Swindon in March gave connections real hope he was coming back. The sole wide seed has been showing better early pace and will look to lead from stripes.

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