The dogs takes centre stage at Wimbledon tonight as the Sky Sports cameras cover their final greyhound meeting of the season, the William Hill Oaks.
If rumours are to be believed this could be the last time a greyhound meeting is covered live on Sky Sports as their contract to cover greyhound racing runs out after this meeting and there are noises coming out of the industry that Sky won’t be renewing.
If that is the case that would be a huge blow for the industry and greyhound fanatics, with that in mind, Thursday night’s card could be a historical moment in the sport’s history, and one that all greyhound punters should appreciate and enjoy.
The major final itself, the williamhill.com Oaks, is shaping up to be a cracker. Due off at 9:45, it brings together the top four bend bitches in the country.
The race, according to the betting anyway, looks to be a straight match-up between Droopys Hope, in trap six, and Droopys Loner, in trap one. Droopys Hope is a best priced 13/8 shot with the sponsors whilst young trainer Dean Childs red jacket is just favoured by the markets at 11/8.
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Droopys Loner has the edge in the market probably down to the fact she has kept her form all season against dogs and bitches.
She made the semi-finals of the williamhill.com Derby and was so unlucky to finish fourth in her semi-final, missing out on a place in the £125,000 showpiece by just a neck. Her consistency is remarkable and she races the exact same way every race. You can expect her to break out fast on the inside, lead up at the bend, and then she will try her might to hold on when the line approaches.
Her stamina runs out around the final bend and this is why she is vulnerable to a stronger staying dog if they can stay on her tail for the first three bends of the race.
Her chief market rival, Droopys Hope, who is trained by the charismatic pairing of Liz and Rab McNair – both, mad as a box of frogs, won the Gimcrack last month and has continued her form in this competition.
She lost her unbeaten run to Lemon Velvet in the semi-finals, but came out of that race with plenty of credit after failing to get a clear run at a crucial stage of the race.
She should reverse the form with that runner tonight from a far better draw out wide in trap six, and it looks only Droopys Loner that could stand in her way. At the prices, Droopys Hope just gets the verdict due to the slight doubts about whether Droopys Loner can break with the same snappiness as she does from the middle boxes.
Of the other runners, Lemon Velvet obviously merits respect after her semi-final performance, but there are doubts that the race will fall into her lap so easily seven days on. Skate On in trap two, although very pacey, shouldn’t be quick enough to deal with Droopys Loner on her inside and Forest Mollie looks out of her depth. Trap three Aero Scramble has been declared a non-runner.
Elsewhere, on a bumper eight race televised card, a dog to keep an eye on in the market looks to be the top-class Loughteen Blanco in the 9:25.
He has been trading around 11/8 with William Hill and that price is far too big of a dog with his class in a below par event. Seamus Cahill’s hound runs the bend excellently at Wimbledon and as long as he brings his trapping boots to the party, he should run out a decisive winner.