The first round heats for the greatest race around two bends, namely the Wimbledon Derby, are just around the corner and with 152 hounds due to spring from the traps during the opening stage news.ladbrokes.com picks out a quartet of four-legged friends to follow during this year’s competition.
Ballymac Eske @ 8/1
No discussion of this year’s Plough Lane spectacular would be complete without mention of ante-poste jolly Ballymac Eske. Described by the Racing Post’s Paul Kay as “the complete specimen” he breaks from the traps superbly and stays on with relish.
It’ll take a high class dog to best Barry Draper’s kennel star, who won the Scottish Derby in 28.75 seconds recently, putting more than half a second between himself and the runner up.
Droopys Jet @ 14/1
Deeply unlucky to be eliminated in last year’s Wimbledon semis, Droopy’s Jet had been bumped twice by the first bend before eventually coming home fourth to eventual Derby-winner Blonde Snapper, whom he had beaten in the quarters.
Having been in less than sparkling form back in Ireland since, he posted a zippy 28.38 seconds victory in his first race back at Plough Lane in May and few would begrudge him better luck this year.
Lemon Pluto @ 25/1
Charlie Lister OBE is the most successful handler in the history of the Derby and his six winners included two of the last three. With the market rating Lemon Pluto his kennel’s leading chance at this stage, he’s got to be one to keep on side, especially given he’s capable of posting 28.35 secs times over 480m, as he did at Monmore in October 2012.
Farloe Warhawk @28/1
The second member of Barry Draper’s outfit to make into our Plough Lane quartet is one of only three dogs to have beaten Ballymac Eske over the Derby trip 480m and the only one to do so without substantial trouble in running playing a defining part.
His kennelmate has gained substantial revenge since when giving him a nine-and-a-half thrashing in the Racing Post Juvenile, but the Warhawk posted a classy 28.56 over course and distance last time and having shown he has the wherewithal to beat the favourite cannot be discounted.