For the first time in three years, the English Greyhound Derby will return to the iconic Towcester Racecourse. Following the sad closure of Wimbledon Stadium in 2017, the Northamptonshire-based track became the historic race’s new home. However, after just two renewals of the Derby, Towcester entered administration and revealed it would be closing its doors — resulting in the 500-metre race being moved to Nottingham.
The good news is that Towcester is now back up and running and the Derby will take place back at the track this year, with the first round of races starting on June 4th and building up to the final on July 10th. Those looking for a greyhound bet will have already scoured the betting exchanges ahead of the opening races. So, as the excitement builds, let’s look back at the last five winners of the English Greyhound Derby.
2016 – Jaytee Jet
In 2016, 15/8 market favourite Jaytee Jet prevailed in what was the last running of the Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon Stadium. The Paul Hennessy-trained dog was prominent throughout and took the lead heading into the final 40 metres — going on to win the race by just a neck. It was an historic Derby Triple Crown for the Irish trainer, as he won the Scottish Derby and Irish Derby earlier in the season.
2017 – Astute Missile
With the race taking place at Towcester for the first time in 2017, Astute Missile caused an almighty upset. The Seamus Cahill-trained dog entered the final as a 28/1 outsider. However, with favourite Clares Rocket having issues from the off, the race was blown wide open. Hiya Butt had led for the most part, but Astute Missile came through the inside and into first on the third bend before holding off the challenge from Tyrur Shay to win the race by just short of a length.
2018 – Dorotas Wildcat
A dog with much shorter odds was back to winning ways in 2018, as 2/1 shot Dorotas Wildcat scooped a victory in the Derby. Known as the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo of greyhounds’, the Kevin Hutton-trained dog beat Droopys Verve — who was the 7/4 market favourite — narrowly over the line. Dorotas Wildcat was later named as the GBGB Greyhound of the Year for his efforts at Towcester.
2019 – Priceless Blake
Priceless Blake was the first winner of the Derby at Nottingham. 11/10 favourite Magical Bale ran into trouble at the first bend, and the Hennessy-trained greyhound took advantage. By the back straight, Priceless Blake has gained a three-length lead and despite Ballymac Tas and Skywalker Logan closing in to within a length, he held on to give the Irish trainer a second victory.
2020 – Deerjet Sydney
Deerjet Sydney’s victory in last year’s Derby, which was delayed to late in the year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, landed trainer Pat Buckley the Triple Crown. The Irish-trained greyhound, who was 11/4 pre-race, had gained a healthy lead by the half-way point, and despite late challenges from Ballydoyle Valor and Coolavanny Chich, held on to win by little less than a length.