There’s no denying that the Greyhound Derby is the most prestigious race in British greyhound racing. The 2021 edition is set to get underway later this month, from Towcester – with the final to be staged on July 10th. If you’re waiting in anticipation for the heats to begin, why not take a glance at the latest odds as you place your greyhound bet?
With a rich history, extending back as far as 1927, let’s take a look at the Greyhound Derby’s not-too-distant history, and see how the last few finals have gone.
2020: Deerjet Sydney
The 2020 Derby was held at Nottingham, and took place later in the year, due to its cancellation in May. The competition was dominated by Irish entries – highlighted in the final, with four Irish greyhounds making the running for the second consecutive year.
Deerjet Sydney had come second in both his respective heats at the quarter-final and semi-final stage, but turned up the pace when it really mattered. The greyhound, trained by Pat Buckley, and owned by Kenny Glen was always leading in the final, and recorded a sectional of 4.91.
It was a family affair, with Deerjet Sydney’s half-sister coming third, and his brother Smurfs Machine, finishing in fourth.
2019: Priceless Blake
Like 2020, Nottingham played host to the Derby, following the closure to Towcester Racecourse – which has since reopened and will stage this year’s race. The favourite was the defending champion, Dorotas Wildcat, who exited at the semi-final stage.
Priceless Blake had won his quarter-final heat, but took the third and final spot in the semis, finishing 0.06 seconds faster than the favourite, In the final, the black, trained by Paul Hennessy and owned by husband-and-wife team, Bryan and Kathleen Murphy, made an excellent start. Holding off the challenge of Ballymac Tas and Skywalker Logan, it was a priceless moment for Hennessy who won his first Derby in three years – also securing a 1-2-3 for Ireland.
2018: Dorotas Wildcat
Dorotas Wildcat had been the favourite in the quarter-final and semi-final heats, but was second to Droopys Verve in the final, which was held at Towcester. And it was a battle between the two greyhounds, who has recorded excellent times in their previous races.
In the final, Dorotas Wildcat made an impeccable start, leading comfortably after racing clear of the two greyhounds on his inside. He led the entire race and wasn’t challenged by Droopys Verve. Known as the Cristiano Ronaldo of greyhounds, he landed trainer Kevin Hutton a first Derby win, but Hutton is a three-time Champion Trainer. He trains out of Towcester.
2017: Astute Missile
2017 marked the first time that the Derby had been held out of London, with Towcester hosting the action. And there was a shock in the final, as the 28/1 outsider, Astute Missile took home the money.
The black, trained by Seamus Cahill, and owned by Geoff Hill, had been one of the least-fancied greyhounds in his heats, particularly in the race’s latter stages. But in the final, he defied the odds and came from behind to usurp the early leader, the pacy Hiya Butt, who later tired. A strong finish saw Astute Missile hold off the Tyrur Shay’s challenge to win by three-quarters of a length.
2016: Jaytee Jay
The final year that Wimbledon hosted the Derby, and there were no surprises this year, although it was incredibly tight, as the Hennessy-trained Jaytee Jay beat Droopys Roddick by a neck.
The favourite had finished second in his respective quarter-final and semi-final heat, losing out to Hiya Butt and Droopys Roddick on those occasions, but raced a good final, despite being drawn wide.