The sport of greyhound racing has undergone a difficult couple of years thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Races have been forced behind closed doors so the already dwindling number of spectators in the stands was reduced to none as the eery silence of an empty track was all anyone could hear for the best part of 18 months. However, with restrictions easing and the small, but dedicated set of supporters heading back to the track, there is plenty to look forward to in the world of greyhound racing Maiden Derby.
While we are still a few months away from the English Greyhound Derby, perhaps the most anticipated event on the whole racing calendar, there are a number of other races at Towcester this spring sure to whet the appetite of those in the East Midlands. After a brief spell at Nottingham, the Derby is back in Northamptonshire and the new facilities from its renovation will be sure to attract some new visitors looking to place a greyhound bet on Betdaq.
Towcester will also host the Maiden Derby — a 500-metre race in similar style to the English Greyhound Derby which takes place in May, and judging from last year’s race, there is plenty to get excited about. There’s already been a few upsets throughout Category One races this year including the Essex Vase, which was won by Angela Harrison-trained Coolavanny Aunty when many expected Mark Wallis to dominate for another year.
The unpredictability and frantic nature of the Maiden Derby always makes it entertaining and the favourite doesn’t always tend to dominate. When you take a look at last year’s race and £7,500 prize, you’ll see one name stand out above most — English Greyhound Derby champion Thorn Falcon. Indeed, the three-year-old used this first win in Towcester as a real catalyst for more success, with trainer Patrick Janssens taking over in April and winning seven of his first nine races on British soil.
The Belgian dominated proceedings with Thorn Falcon in the Maiden Derby, in the middle of a brilliant winning streak that ensured Amazing Wink and Buttsys Blackie simply couldn’t get near him. Kennel mate Kilara Lion, who would also go on to finish second in the English Greyhound Derby, got Janssens off to a flying start when he secured the Northamptonshire Sprint, and Thorn Falcon continued that purple patch later on with a strong run out to finish with a time of 29.24 seconds.
While the greyhound racing tips had always predicted Thorn Falcon to go all the way, especially considering his 100% record at the time, Janssens was still just as happy with the victory, singing the dog’s praises following another dominant display.
“I think Enniscorthy can be a tough track to handle in some ways, so I was confident he could therefore handle Towcester,” he said. “he’s impressed me from day one at the kennels. He has a great attitude, is a very good-looking greyhound, very happy and friendly. When he arrived he seemed to have the lot, except experience.
“It’s an exciting time for us and great for the team at the kennels. It’s also great to see the owners and the general public back. It makes it more special.”