REPORT: Holland dominates on opening night with four winners

Ireland-based trainer Graham Holland stole the show on night one of the Star Sports English Greyhound Derby by winning four races and clocking the fastest time with Swords Rex.

Holland grabbed an early double when defending champion Romeo Magico won Heat Two despite running into trouble during the race before kennelmate Romeo Hanzo followed up in Heat Three.

Odds-on favourite Cryptopunk justified favouritism to land Heat Five by three-and-a-half lengths before Swords Rex – one of the competition’s ante-post favourites – made no mistake in the finale when clocking the fastest time of the night in 28.93.

Holland’s four winners made up 11 Irish-trained qualifiers on the night. And he couldn’t be happier with the evening’s outcomes.

“We’re delighted,” said Holland. “Swords Rex didn’t quite break but he drove to the bend well and got his nose in front which is key.

“He broke the track record last week, and he can get a bit fresh. With three winners earlier, we were starting to think our luck had to change. But it didn’t and Swords Rex did very well.

“Romeo (Magico) really loves Towcester and runs it well. He didn’t break too, and he got into a tricky situation around the first bend. But he was smart and that’s encouraging to see.

“It’s great the Derby is back up and running and we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.”

The Star Sports English Greyhound Derby resumes on Friday night when Heats 11-21 of Round One take place. Heat 11 is due off at 6.20pm and tickets can be purchased via the Towcester Racecourse website or on the door.