WHAT a difference two weeks makes! Then, Bev Lochead, Austin Whelan and Len Ponder joined forces to cheer home Lenson Bocko to an historic Irish Greyhound Derby victory - and now the trio are in different corners cheering on their respective finalists in this years Ladbrokes Kent Derby Final.
Lochead and Whelan are represented by the Patrick Janssens-trained Bockos Doomie, the original ante-post favourite, while Ponder joins forces with another highly successful owner in John Proctor (Droopys Roddick, Droopys Dresden etc) with the Tony Collett-handled Lenson John.
The betting suggests Bockos Doomie has the better chance, but Collett knows how to win a Kent Derby - with a big-priced runner, too. He has won two Kent Derbys with 8-1 chance Carlin Honcho (2006) and favourite Lenson Bolt, also part-owned by Ponder, in 2009. Then again, Janssens also has a great record when it comes to Kent Derbys.
The current leader in the GBGB Trainer of the Year standings sent out Bockos Alfie to win for Bev Lochead and Graham Box in 2017 and the kennel was second last year with Headford Johnny, when subsequent British-bred Greyhound of the Year King Turbo struck gold for a Central Park-trained one-two!
Like Collett, Paul Young has two Kent Derby wins on the card after wins for Underground Paul in 2014 and the popular Bubbly Bluebird in 2016, while Seamus Cahill is another of the featured trainers to have previously won this competition after Sparklee Bernie raced to victory for the Hove trainer in 2010.
Kevin Hutton needs no introduction as a Classic-winning trainer having won both the Derby and Oaks last year to add to his lists of successes which, of course, include some memorable evenings here on Trainers’ Championship Meeting nights! He sends out Ballymac Osby, while Stuart Maplesden fields fastest semi-final winner in Fayes Jet.
The Hove trainer has made a real splash since taking over the licence from Doreen Walsh and bids, along with Seamus Cahill, to continue Hove’s long association with the Kent Derby - the track’s Smoking Bullet remains one of the event’s most famous winners when he won the inaugural Kent Derby 2000.
The winning trainer then was Derek Knight and the greyhound himself was owned by John Ward and a certain Vincent Peter Jones. Yes, folks, Vinnie Jones!
Good luck to the owners and trainers of this years Ladbrokes Kent Derby Final - and on behalf of the management here at Central Park, led by Roger Cearns, we wish you a very happy and successful evening.
2019 Ladbrokes Kent Derby - The Finalists
Trap 1 Fayes Jet
Owners: Len Brown, George Norris, Norman Pike & Stuart Maplesden
Trainer: Stuart Maplesden, Hove
This Shelbourne and Drumbo Park winner has made a real splash in his fledgling UK career with wins at Hove and here at Central Park where he arrives as an unbeaten finalist - winning his heat and semi-final by an aggregate of almost 12 lengths. A brother of Derby entry Master Reed, he is trained by Stuart Maplesden who took over the kennels of longtime handler Doreen Walsh last December - although Doreen remains as assistant. Maplesden sent out Waste House Eco to finish third in the Sussex Cup at Hove in the summer and now fields another Category One finalist in this £7,500 decider.
Trap 2 Camps Star
Owners: Reg Arnold, Matthew Arnold & Paul Young
Trainer: Paul Young, Romford
Represents the in-form Paul Young kennel, fresh from Friday’s Puppy Cup Final at Romford. Another Category One finalist for the Wickford, Essex-based handler, Camps Star first came to prominence when posting a flying 28.19sec at Monmore in a prep race for the Puppy Derby there in February. Also a winner at Romford in A1 class in 23.93sec, he’s a litter brother of Irish Derby quarter-finalist Toolmaker Daddy and will look to trap better come Sundays final. Victory would give Young a third Kent Derby success after wins for Underground Paul in 2014 and the popular Bubbly Bluebird in 2016.
Trap 3 Bockos Doomie
Owners: Bev Lochead & Austin Whelan
Trainer: Patrick Janssens, Central Park
Representing connections which struck with Bockos Alfie in 2017, trainer Patrick Janssens also had last year’s runner-up in Headford Johnny. The ante-post favourite with a record of nine wins from 13 starts now, the precocious young talent which is Bockos Doomie lines up unbeaten in this competition and eyes a second Category One title after winning the Puppy Derby at Henlow. Looking to continue that good form here tonight - and the good form of his owners Bev Lochead and Austin Whelan who landed Irish Derby glory last month with Lenson Bocko, a dog they share with Len Ponder, part-owner of Lenson John.
Trap 4 Lenson John
Owners: Len Ponder & John Proctor
Trainer: Tony Collett, Central Park
The most experienced runner in tonight’s final, Lenson John is joint-owned by Len Ponder who, with Bev Lochead and Austin Whelan, won last month’s Irish Derby at Shelbourne Park. All four of Lenson John’s open-race wins have been here at Central Park where he is trained by Tony Collett - twice a Kent Derby-winning handler having sent out Carlin Honcho to win in 2006 and the Ponder part-owned Lenson Bolt to strike gold in 2009. A regular in A1s here, he arrived for this competition fresh after a short summer break - quickly returning to winning ways with a top-grade victory in August.
Trap 5 Ballymac Osby
Owner: Greg Lee, Stephen Jackson & Andrew Egan
Trainer: Kevin Hutton, Monmore
A high-class performer, Ballymac Osby reached the third round of the Derby at Nottingham before making the Derby Plate Final. A winner at Notts as well as Towcester, Sheffield, Hove and here at Central Park, the Kevin Hutton-trained runner won a small competition here in March and has always run the track well. Was back in winning form here with an authoritative win in the semi-finals, he is still improving after being sidelined from June to September. Comes from a star-studded family being a half-brother of Irish champions Ballymac Matt and Ballymac Bigmike, as well as 2017 Kent Derby winner Bockos Alfie.
Trap 6 Forest Alan (w)
Owners: New Forest Lads
Trainer: Seamus Cahill, Hove
From a kennel with a great CV when it comes to major successes at Central Park, Forest Alan is another major finalist here for Seamus Cahill. His Sparklee Bernie struck in the Kent Derby in 2010 and Caislean Fifi added to Cahill’s Grand National successes at Central Park in the summer. A good second behind Ballymac Osby in the semi-finals, Forest Alan has won races at Henlow, home track Hove and over 540m at Crayford. A powerful runner, he made the second round of the Derby but was off the track from June to September so is another with scope for improvement potentially
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