Veteran greyhound trainer Tony Collett accepts his sole Premier Greyhound Racing Kent Derby runner requires a career best performance to reach the competition’s £20,000 final.
But the 68-year-old will take his chance after Miami Patrol was drawn out of the hat following a dramatic Round One dead-heat for third place with the Derek Knight trained Clona Uriel.
It means Tony’s two-year-old star is potentially less than 30 seconds away from a spot in the final of one of greyhound racing’s most prestigious competitions which was first held at Central Park Stadium in Sittingbourne in 2000.
Miami Patrol clocked a career best time over Central Park’s 491-metre trip when stopping the clock at 29.71 seconds. Despite this, Collett anticipates his hope will need to improve further when bidding to place in the first two of Semi Final Two on Sunday at 4.04pm to reach the final.
He’ll face English Greyhound Derby runner-up Romeo Command, Puppy Classic finalist Newinn Syd, Open 600 finalist Storys Cashout, Hunt Cup champion Havana Lover and East Anglian Derby champion Watch The Limo.
“We were really pleased with his run on Sunday,” said Tony. “It was a career best performance over the track and distance against some talented greyhounds and although we qualified in fortunate circumstances following the dead-heat we’ll take it.
“He’ll need to improve again on Sunday to qualify for the following week’s final – it’s a seriously tough draw. But to be one race away from a Category One final is always exciting.
“He’s in great shape and is very capable of winning competitive open races so we’re hopeful of a good run.”
Tony’s other Kent Derby hopes Lostrigg Paddy, Lostrigg Joel and Lostrigg Ajay all missed out on qualifying after placing outside the top three in their respective races.
“They all ran well,” added Tony. “But they were just beaten by better greyhounds on the day.
“As I’ve mentioned previously, this year’s Kent Derby is the one of the best competitions we’ve seen at Central Park for many years and we’re up against it again this weekend.
“Droopys Clue was especially impressive in Round One and breaking the track record speaks for itself. Newinn Syd, who we’re drawn against, also took my eye. I believe there’s more to come from him.”
Tickets for the Semi Finals of the 2023 Premier Greyhound Racing Kent Derby are available from £7 via the Central Park website or can be purchased on the door. U18s can watch for £1.
Race one is due off at 2.04pm with the first Semi Final scheduled for 3.44pm.
Semi Final One: Asbo Lenny, Slick Sabo, Droopys Prymtime, Alberts Legacy, Borna Hero, Churchfield Syd.
Semi Final Two: Romeo Command, Newinn Syd, Storys Cashout, Miami Patrol, Watch The Limo, Havana Lover.
Semi Final Three: Droopys Clue, Kanturk Mills, King Ezra, Bluejig Baron, King Combs, Eire Buckle.