A heat/final series conducted at Wentworth Park in Sydney, the race is a Group 1 event run over 520m. It was first held in 1963 when taken out by Keen Linen and at one stage was the richest greyhound race in Australia.
Five heats were held on Saturday January 27, with each winner progressing to the final. The remaining three positions were decided by the fastest individual 2nd placings. Between 2009 and 2014 the race was held at The Gardens.
Total prizemoney on offer in the 2018 final is $105,000 with the winner to receive $75,000. The 2017 winner was the Ray Smith trained Big Daddy Bee, while other previous winners include Fernando Bale, Bogie King, Slater, Master Hilo and the only dual winner Steelflex.
|Date:||Saturday 3rd Februray 2018|
|Race Time:||20:08 AEST|
|2017 Winner:||Big Daddy Bee|
|2018 National Derby Odds|
A son of the former champion chaser Fernando Bale, the Seona Thompson trained dog will be looking to emulate the deeds of his sire and secure victory in the National Derby. Already a G1 winner, Out Of Range entered the Derby heats as a last start winner of the Silver Chief Final at The Meadows in an all the way performance from box 1. Beaten into 7th place in that race was fellow Derby finalist Fernando Express. Making his Wentworth Park debut in the heats, Out Of Range was quickly into stride from box 7 and by the turn out of the front straight the first time had found the rail and once there was never in danger. Quickly developing an impressive record, the dog has 10 wins from 15 starts and his only start from gate 4 resulted in a fall at Warragul.
In a superb result for Fernando Bale, both the fastest qualifiers for the Derby Final were sired by the 2015 Derby winner. Fernando Express recorded the same time as Out Of Range when winning his Derby heat from box 2. Of the 5 heat winners, they were the only 2 to break 30 with their winning time of 29.91. In a similar run to Out Of Range he wasn’t the first chaser through the first split but soon found the rail and the lead and was able to street clear of his opponents to a commanding win. With 8 wins from his 20 career starts, his only meeting with Out Of Range was in the Silver Chief Final when well beaten. This will be the first time that he has worn the black rug in a race and as not the greatest beginner it might just play to his advantage if there is any early scrimmage.
Trained by Ray Smith, Little Digger is another son of Fernando Bale and earned his position in the final with a fast-finishing sprint to take a three-quarter length victory. Starting from box 7 in the heat he was mid-field through the first two splits but was able to work in behind them turning into the back straight and finding the rail then stuck to the inside and arrived in time to defeat Blue Moon Rising. Yet to wear the white vest under race conditions, he is 1 from 1 when jumping from box 2 and is 3 from 3 when jumping from box 4. He may lack the speed required to take the Derby at this stage of his career and from 6 appearances on the Wentworth Park track is yet to break the 30 second barrier. His record at the track in those runs stands at 6:3-1-0.