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    Towcester Derby 2024: The Best Yet?
Towcester Derby 2024: The Best Yet?
Derby 48 stage attracted a good crowd. Photo: Steve Nash. Source: greyhoundstar.co.uk

Towcester Derby 2024: The Best Yet?

Patrick Janssens, the Derby-winning trainer, was in high spirits at Towcester on Saturday night, praising the atmosphere despite technical issues earlier this summer. Though his chances of repeating his Thorn Falcon success this year seem slim, with two of his dogs through to the Derby quarter-finals, Janssens expressed particular disappointment at Barntick Bear's elimination.

“He is a really good greyhound and I expect him to win his share. Looking at some of the older dogs in the Derby this year gives me hope for the future, especially since I think he has great potential as a stayer,” Janssens remarked.

Despite the frustrations, Janssens remains a staunch Towcester supporter. “I love this place. It’s the best track in England or Ireland. It’s such a fair test, and I’ve had very few injuries here over the years. In my opinion, it’s the only place to run the English Derby.”

Rab McNair, predicting the biggest crowd for a Derby Final since Wimbledon’s peak, echoed Janssens' sentiments. “I’ve always loved this place and took a lot of stick for defending it when things went wrong. But Big Kevin has nailed it this year. The running surface has been brilliant, there have been no issues with the traps, and the atmosphere is the best I can remember,” McNair said.

McNair noted the enthusiasm of the Irish fans, particularly the Grouchos Duke team, who have added to the lively atmosphere. “It’s great to see such enthusiasm. I used to drive down from Scotland to watch the Derby at Wimbledon. It’s not on TV this year, and that seems to have brought out bigger crowds.”

Despite some betting shops not taking bets on Towcester, McNair remains optimistic. “This has been a fantastic Derby, and I hope the greyhound community gets behind it on finals night. There were a few issues last year, but I hope they’ve learned and get it spot on this time. This is a Derby for proper greyhound folk.”

On his kennel’s last remaining entry, King Memphis, McNair said, “The draw for the next round seems to have worked out well, but you can never take anything for granted. Dog racing is unpredictable.”

Kerry breeder/trainer Liam Dowling added, “It has been a very good Derby so far. The crowds are up, bringing a great atmosphere. Most importantly, the track has been in excellent condition and very consistent. This is the English Derby, and it should be supported. Critics should now acknowledge the progress made.”

Kevin Boothby addressed rumours of Towcester’s closure, confirming they are false. “Towcester is not closing at the end of the Derby. We have no plans to close the greyhound operation, though there will be some changes to the schedule. I am very pleased with how the Derby has gone so far. Big thanks to my staff and brother for their hard work, especially after an emergency with the rail and hare motor three weeks before the Derby started. Also, thanks to Ben and his team at Star Sports for organizing a fantastic Derby. Let’s enjoy the next three weeks and everyone get behind it on finals night—it’s going to be emotional!”

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