A star-studded line up of greyhounds will battle it out in four competitive heats of the $40,000 Group Two Richmond Derby this Saturday night.
Conducted over the testing 535m distance, this prestigious event will celebrate its 41st running this year with past winners including; Cyrus The Virus, Stately Bird and last year’s victor Jagger Swagger, who is nominated for 2013 Greyhound of the Year.
Heat One – Race Three (7.26pm)
Ritza Raider (8) comes into this race with superb form on the board, having only been unplaced once out of sixteen career starts. The son of Bombastic Shiraz and Midnight Flare was very impressive at Wentworth Park two starts ago, saluting comfortably from box eight in a respectable 29.93. The Mark Gatt trained chaser made his debut at Richmond back in October last year and clocked a slick 30.47.
Gatt’s other star chaser Gradence (4) returns to the racetrack after a month-long hiatus and comes fresh off his sensational Group Three Bulli Gold Plate Victory over the 472m distance. The winner of twenty-two races had an outstanding month of January, notching up two other feature races wins in the Gosford Gold Cup Consolation and ‘The Collerson’ Paws of Thunder Consolation at Wentworth Park. The son of Vapour Whirl and Ding’s Rocket has a speedy personal best of 30.61 at the track and can trouble this field with a clear run.
Litter brother to Group One winner Belfast Johnny, Belfast Kaiser, is drawn ideally near the rails and recorded three straight victories during February, including a quick 30.67 at this track. Trained by Troy Vella of Blacktown, this greyhound possesses the genuine early pace to feature heavily at the first turn. The son of Cosmic Rumble and Wongawilliesue has won two from four at Richmond thus far.
Heat Two – Race Five (8.14pm)
Evil Punk (5) is unbeaten at the Richmond circuit, with five starts for five victories and a blistering personal best of 30.35. This greyhound has been airborne at present, finishing runner up in the Group One National Derby last month, clocking a fast personal best of 29.59 over the 515m. The son of Collision and Punk Angel has the early pace to overcome the middle box and give trainer James Coyle another group final berth.
Ritza Ryder (4) is in fantastic form at the ripe old age of four, and has only had two starts at Richmond for a speedy win in 30.57 back in February of 2012. Exiting from box seven will suit the winner of twenty-two races, with his best work produced at the finish. Another prodigal son out of sensational broodbitch Midnight Flare, Ritza Ryder could easily take out this heat in smart time for trainer Mark Gatt.
Hunter Valley trained sprinter Cawbourne Havoc (3) will be looking to secure his fourth consecutive win after some quality performances at Wentworth Park in 29.84 and 29.85 in FFA class. The son of Brett Lee and American Spot has only had the one start at Richmond, however is perfectly drawn to get the fly in this race and secure the win.
Heat Three – Race Six (8.34pm)
Two-time Group One finalist Boyce Road (7) returns to his stomping ground after unsuccessful trips to The Gardens and The Meadows during February. This gifted chaser by Collision out of Mystic Pace has drawn ideally out wide and is set to return to his best for trainer Mark Gatt. Boyce Road has a superb Richmond record, having won four of his five starts over the 535m distance, with a fast personal best of 30.48.
King Cobber (4) is yet to be unplaced at Richmond and recorded a flying time of 30.48 last November. The Frank Hurst trained greyhound by boom sire Swift Fancy, has been successfully racing around the Bathurst circuit of late, placing third in the Bathurst Gold Cup last month.
Like A Boss (2) stepped up to the 600m distance at Dapto last week and saluted in fine style, clocking 35.00. Despite just the one victory at Richmond, a slick personal best of 30.64 and an ideal box two will see this greyhound run a cheeky race for trainer Frances Harris.
Heat Four – Race Seven (8.52pm)
Red Road (6) is another greyhound from the highly-talented Collision x Mystic Pace litter and relishes the Richmond track, having stepped out on debut during October last year and clocked a sizzling 30.22. He has drawn awkwardly in box six, however only needs some room early to clock a blistering time once again.
Clay Mullen’s star chaser Fast Archer (7) returned to his brilliant best at Wentworth Park two weeks ago, clocking a flying 29.61. The son of Collision and Clay Model will be searching for his first victory at Richmond, after finishing second twice from three attempts.
Father Skeeta (5) has an excellent record at the track, having won three races from seven starts and two minor placings. The Leslie Dennis trained son of Ashton Galilee and Madam Jessie recently recorded three straight wins and despite box five proving a difficult task to overcome, this greyhound shows good early pace and his three recent victories came from boxes 5, 8 and 6 respectively.