Londonderry butcher, Paul Ellis believes his greyhound, ‘Farloe Blitz’ fully justifies its odds-on favourites tag ahead of Saturday’s English Greyhound Derby final.
A whopping prize of £250,000 to the winner is up for grabs on the night and all eyes will be on ‘Farloe Blitz’ as he aims to take home greyhound’s racing’s richest prize.
It goes in trap two in the showpiece which will be shown ‘live’ on Sky Sports 3 (Channel 404) on Saturday and Farloe Blitz will begin the race from Trap Two at the Wimbledon track and puts its unbeaten record on the line.
It sailed through the gruelling qualifying stages and his owner, Mr Ellis is confident ‘Farloe Blitz’ can do the buisness on Saturday.
“Anything can happen, but the dog’s a justified favourite,” said Ellis.
“He’s done nothing wrong and all he has to do is the same thing he’s been doing again.
“The night of the quarter-final, everyone thought there was one dog that was going to ‘do him’ that night but he showed great track craft to get round the bend and, look now, we’re in the final.”
“It’s the biggest greyhound race in the world,” he continued. “Of course the money matters and it will buy some dogs in the years to come but it’s all about winning the Derby.
“This dog’s getting better,” added Ellis. “We knew he was capable of this but I still can’t believe we’re going to a Derby final. his is a dream.
“He’s been to three finals and lost in them all so we’re hoping it’s fourth time lucky.”
The drama of the Derby will spark real excitement among dog racing fans and pundits. However Ellis claims that the dog’s trainer, Owen McKenna isn’t one to get excited and yet he remains ‘quietly confident’.
“Owen doesn’t get excited, he’s a quiet man and doesn’t say much. I think he’s quietly confident. He wants to win the Derby.”
McKenna always knew ‘Farloe Blitz’ had the potential and given a bit of fortune during the qualifyiers.
He believed it would have a great chance to make the final of the Derby.
“We came over to have a good go at the Derby and we’re in the final,” he said.
“I was confident enough he was going to be alright (in the semi-final) and he’s in the final and we’re delighted to be there.
“He has what you want - real early pace. I’m delighted with him. I knew the dog’s ability from day one before we came over. I knew he was good enough if he was lucky enough.
“With the two to qualify in the first night, anything could have happened But he’s running well through the competition.”
The greyhound yet again blew his rivals away in Tuesday’s first semi-final.
He will be aiming to ping the lids for one final time in the Plough Lane feature, but a classy field will line up and ‘Rio Quattro’ is sure to be one of the primary challengers.