THORN FALCON, who emerged triumphant in the 2021 Star Sports/TRC Derby for Patrick Janssens, has serious claims of joining an elite band of greyhounds by retaining his Classic crown.
He gave trainer Patrick Janssens and his band of owners the thrill of a lifetime last year and his campaign has been mapped out to ensure he has every chance of shining once again.
A strapping individual who glides round the Towcester turns, Thorn Falcon also has the advantage of being a natural wide runner – without being over extravagant at the bends.
He should fare well in the draw – last year he ran from trap six in every round – and he has been drawn there again in heat 19 on Friday night.
Another greyhound who enjoyed a memorable 2021 campaign was Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Fairone, who matured through the competition 12 months ago and was sent off joint favourite for the final.
It wasn’t to prove his night, but Dowling vowed he’d be back, all being well, and while things haven’t been all plain sailing for him since, the dog served a timely reminder of his talents in a 29.24sec (+20) workout last week.
At 50-1 he can be added as an each-way play in a competition which is top heavy with Irish-trained talent.
There are at least half a dozen who could be punted as strong contenders and one trainer with a good hand is Peter Cronin.
His Kirby finalist Kildare is flying high in the lists after some impressive Towcester trial work, but at twice the odds it is 66-1 Kirby semi-finalist kennelmate Da Bold Freddie who is recommended as a value play.
A lightly-raced youngster with fast wins at Tralee and Limerick on his card, there was lots to like about his 29.29sec workout and he looks a dog who could be a real improver.
There’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of strength and determination into the mix and one who strikes as potentially hard to knock out is Richard Rees’s progressive Amaze Me Seb.
Winner of back-to-back trial stakes and boasting a gallant victory over Thorn Falcon in one of those, the wide runner can be backed each-way at 100-1 and could go deep in what promises to be an absorbing event.
Thorn Falcon 20-1
Ballymac Fairone 50-1
Da Bold Freddie 66-1
Amaze Me Seb 100-1