The final of the English Greyhound Derby is the premier event on the British greyhound racing calendar, and this year it didn’t disappoint. Romeo Magico clinched glory in the final, seeing off Kildare to finish first. A great result for trainer Graham Holland, his dog wasn’t favourite with the bookmakers going into the race but, anyone who knows how to bet on greyhound racing is well aware that the early stages of the competition are key for understanding which dogs are in form, and who is mostly likely to taste success at the end of the event.
The Greyhound Derby is a massive event, taking place over a month, with numerous rounds of heats before it even reaches the quarter-final stage, and those early stages are key for knowing who to back in the big race. Romeo Magico ran an impressive set of races that had many backing him for success in the final. We’ve taken a look at his runs in the 2022 English Greyhound Derby, to get a better idea of just how well he performed at the event.
The first three rounds of the event should be plain sailing for any dog looking to make the final. While there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win, and big names do go out in the early rounds, Romeo Magico did well early on to avoid an upset, and looked comfortable qualifying for the latter stages.
He got through the first round without any problems. He ran in heat 15 of the season round. He was up against Lautaro, who had managed a track record performance in the first round, but Romeo Magico saw off Patrick Janssens’ dog.
The third round saw a relatively slow track, Romeo Magico came second in the third heat, with a time of 29.60, behind Signet Goofy at 29.55. Holland’s hound negotiated the opening rounds without any slip-ups, and was already looking in confident form. The comfort with which he navigated the early stages of the event were indicative of the success he would have later on, and explain why he’s cropping up in greyhound tips today.
Romeo Magico was drawn in heat three of the quarter-finals. The race had a strong field, with Lautaro seen as the favourite for the win. Romeo Magico took first, with a time of 29.01. Make Noise surprisingly came a distant second, with Lautaro finishing third. Derrinasafa Boss and Bobsleigh Dream both missed out, with Signet Denver struggling, recording a 30.10 finish.
It was a commanding victory for Holland’s dog, finishing well clear of the rest, and he managed the second fastest time of the quarter-final stage. Priceless Jet finished the first heat with a time of 28.78, a new track record, but no other runner came within 20 seconds of Romeo Magico’s time.
Romeo Magico lined up alongside a strong field but, given how well he had run so far, he was the favourite for the race. He didn’t disappoint the punters either. He won impressively, his time of 29.06 was the fastest of the semi-final stage. He ran almost 30 seconds ahead of Mickys Barrett, and left the rest of the field, including Savana Beau, Signet Goofy, Faughan Rebel, and Deelish Frankie in his wake.
Kildare won the other semi-final at 21.16, while Priceless Jet finished only five seconds slower. Romeo Magico was the fastest in the round, and the pair from the other semi-final were seen as the most likely to trouble him in the final. Kildare managed just that, starting slightly, but it was Romeo Magico who finished in pole position. While his final success will have made headlines, it was built on a month of solid, consistent performances.