Greyhounds: King to rule on dog day evening
However, in greyhound racing, as in horse racing, as in - let's face it - life, nothing is as simple as that. Deerfield Sunset is trained by the great Ger McKenna, who has superstitiously kept away from Wimbledon since his dog won his first round race in his absence but, with that well of luck having run dry, is flying over from Ireland to put the finishing touches to Deerfield Sunset's preparation.
Such is McKenna's reputation that, despite Saturday's comprehensive two- and-three-quarter-length defeat, Deerfield Sunset may still start favourite for tomorrow night's 480-metre contest. Moreover, Deerfield Sunset may have God - not McKenna, the one in the Bible - on his side. Deerfield Sunset is owned by the legendary Bryan Dalton, the Roman Catholic priest from Miami, who is straight out of Father Ted. He made his altar server wait by a fax machine ready to interrupt his sermon when the result of the quarter-finals came through. After hearing his dog had won, Fr Dalton claims he went on to give "the sermon of my life".
Chart King, a wide-runner who will race from his favoured trap six berth tomorrow, and Deerfield Sunset, a railer who also has the perfect personal draw in trap one, have dominated this year's Greyhound Derby. The bookmakers bet 20-1 bar the two for tomorrow's six-dog showdown and that includes Pottos Storm (66-1), attempting to be the first Greyhound Grand National winner to win the Greyhound Derby.
A victory for Chart King would be the culmination of a highly unusual Derby preparation. For Chart King, owned and trained in partnership by the brothers Karl and Ralph Hewitt, was not initially considered a Wimbledon prospect. Chart King first came to prominence when twice beating the track record for 525 yards at Shelbourne Park in Ireland on his way to victory in the pounds 10,000 D J Reilly Easter Cup and then netted another pounds 20,000 by winning the Scottish Derby.
After that the pressure to bring him to Wimbledon was overwhelming but, unlike the other contenders, Chart King was initially a day commuter to Plough Lane, flying from Belfast to Heathrow and back again for the early rounds. However, the decision has since been made to have Chart King take up temporary residence to the east of the Irish Sea and, judging by Saturday's display, when he clocked a sensational five seconds dead on the run to the first bend, leaving Deerfield Sunset four lengths in his wake, he has had few problems in acclimatising. Chart King's connections are fairly confident. Karl Hewitt said yesterday: "Chart King looks in good shape and there's every reason to suppose he will reproduce last Saturday's form."
Frankly, it is hard to see how Deerfield Sunset can turn things around. Laid out for the Greyhound Derby ever since his victory in the Irish St Leger at Limerick last October, Deerfield Sunset had seemed to be the dog that had everything - blinding speed from the traps, track craft (the ability to weave his way though gaps to avoid trouble in running) and genuine staying power at the business end of his contests.
Owen McKenna, the trainer's son, said yesterday he felt "Deerfield Sunset got too warm in the preliminaries and ran below par" last week. But Chart King - ironically labelled by some a sluggish starter prior to the event - made Deerfield Sunset look so moderate on Saturday night that even McKenna's magic may not be enough to enable him to turn the tables.
Latest in Sport
The Prince of Wales Stakes today is regarded by many as the No1 race of the Royal Ascot meeting and ...
by Gareth Purnell
19 June 2013 02:01 AM
Today’s St James Palace looks a cracker and there has been sustained money for Dawn Approach since t...
by Gareth Purnell
18 June 2013 02:01 AM
Newcastle don’t need a football director – they need a new medical team after finishing bottom of the injury league
Newcastle United have shocked their fans by appointing Joe Kinnear as director of football but new f...
by Alex Miller
17 June 2013 04:39 PM
ACT Brumbies v British and Irish Lions - player ratings
Premier League fixture list unveiled: David Moyes and Jose Mourinho on an early collision course
Liverpool expected to complete deal for £6m Spanish winger Luis Alberto in next 48 hours
In pictures: Royal Ascot 2013 - Opening day
Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo advised to stay at Real Madrid for further 18 months before making possible switch to Manchester United
- 1 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 2 'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 3 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 4 Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender's secret life as a Mossad and CIA agent revealed
- 5 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf
£600 - £750 per day: Orgtel: FATCA Project Manager - Banking - London - £600-...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: May & Stephens Recruitment Group: If you're an ambi...
£43000 - £50000 per annum + £5K Car Allowance + Bens : May & Stephens Recrui...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + Bens : May & Stephens Recruitment Group: If you're...