Greyhound racing: The top dogs of 2022

As we pass the half-way stage of 2022, and this year’s renewal of the prestigious English Greyhound Derby appears on the horizon — with the final due to take place at Towcester in Northamptonshire on June 25th — it’s worth taking a look back at some of the standout performers of this exciting season so far, especially as the winner of the Derby will steal the spotlight from all others.

There have only been around 18 Category 1 finals at the time of writing, with roughly 30 still to come before the year is out.

So, there is still a large portion of this season left to be written and more records to be broken, but as we eagerly count down the days to the Derby — which Graham Holland-trained Romeo Magic is the favourite to win amongst the greyhound betting — read on a we take a look at some of those who have already made a name for themselves.

Bellmore Sally: Golden Jacket

One of the standout Category 1 finals of this year thus far, with a £20,000-winning prize purse up for grabs, the Golden Jacket was held at Crayford on February 19th and Bellmore Sally landed the massive sum of money for trainer Jimmy Fenwick.

Capitalising on a missed break from pre-race favourite Warzone Tom, the bitch gained a good lead at the first bend and the 2019 daughter of Droopys Sydney and Bellmore Lucy was never headed as she won by over five lengths clear of Droopys Senorita, who made it a miserable night for Warzone Tom — passing him for second.

Coolavanny Aunty: Essex Vase and Grand Prix

A dual Category 1 winner in 2022, Coolvanny Aunty took her over career tally at the highest level of racing to three with victories in the Essex Vase at Romford in the first big final of the season back in later January before doubling up with a win in the Grand Prix at Sunderland in April.

It was an over 600-mile round trip down to Essex for trainer Angela Harrison, but the two-year-old made it worthwhile — beating her Alnwick kennelmate Coolavanny Bani by over six lengths to land the £10k purse. Aunty got the better of Bani again in the 640m Grand Prix. The latter lead the whole way, but Coolavanny Aunty pipped her at the line.

Rising Coco: Kent St Leger

We all love it when a massive outsider prevails and Rising Coco certainly did just that in the Kent St Leger. Locally trained by Jim Reynolds, the three-year-old was written off in the latter stages of the contest. But she proved the bookies wrong to win her semi-final from 50/1 and did so in some style, never being headed as she crossed the line almost three lengths clear of Bellmore Sally.

The oldest and again least fancied of the finalists at 10/1, Rising Coco performed almost a carbon copy of her semi-final showing — once again leading from trap to post and finishing two and three quarters lengths clear of Bellmore Sally, the exact same distance as their head-to-head in the semis.