2022 Star Sports/TRC Derby final - watch the race and reaction

2022 Star Sports/TRC Derby final - watch the race and reaction

Romeo Magico, the 5/2 second favourite, took the £175,000 first prize and title of 2022 Greyhound Derby champion for trainer Graham Holland and owner/breeder Dave Firmager.

Kildare (T2) and Mickys Barrett (T5) had the best of the break but Romeo Magico (T4) railed well going into the back straight as Kildare drifted out.

From that point on Romeo Magico held then increased his lead, winning by just under two lengths in a superb 28.95sec from 9/4 favourite Kildare with Mickys Barrett, the 20/1 outsider, third.

It was a first Derby win for Holland, who had five previous finalists, including a runner-up and third. Romeo Magico, bred in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire,  originally went to Holland for schooling - and stayed.

Holland said: “As the traps rose, it was ‘oh’. Badger [kennel name] simply hadn’t broken well enough, in a split second, his Derby final seemed over.

"Another split second later and he’s rushing up the inside - and running a blinder. That was what won the Derby - the way he ran those first two bends.

"This is a special moment for his owner, but also my family - it’s their win too. They have all put so much into this. I admit I am tearful. It is emotional to achieve something you have always dreamed about. My thanks to Dave and Nicola [Firmager], to Towcester and the sponsors.”

Dave Firmager reflected: “You never give up, we’ve got lots of nice dogs coming along and lots of possibilities. I’ve been calm all week, I felt confident and, whilst never admitting it, I expected Badge to break. He didn’t [Firmager then sighed].”

He explained he then lost sight of his dog as they went to the bend. “Suddenly he was there and from feeling despair you realised it was going to be his Derby - he’s pure class and every round proved it the way he handled the bends.

“The reaction from well-wishers has been fantastic, there have been so many cheering him on. The sportsmanship has also been striking - from all the connections."