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Antigua Storm Came Good at the Last to Seal Victory in East Anglian Derby

You couldn’t say it wasn’t dramatic. Pre-race favorite Antigua Storm had to bide his time in the final of the East Anglian Derby, but once the opportunity to streak ahead presented itself, the talented greyhound went into another gear, leaving the rest of the pack trailing in his dust after a sensational race. 

Most fans of the sport had been hoping for a memorable final, and it duly delivered. The East Anglian Derby is one of the showpiece events of the British greyhound season and is part of the fabric of the Yarmouth area’s sporting scene. With this year’s edition being the 75th running of the race since its inception, it was always likely to be quite a spectacle.

Antigua Storm delivered a performance fitting of the occasion, though he was certainly made to work for the victory. Coming out of the traps as the pre-race favorite in the greyhound betting odds, Antigua Storm found himself squabbling at the tail end of the pack, as Bockos Jon Jo and King Bruno battled at the front. But Bockos Jon Jo didn’t quite have enough in the tank, and at the final bend, Antigua Storm came through like a whirlwind, blitzing past the frontrunners and crossing the line in first place.

“I think you can say he deserved this title,” said trainer Mark Wallis. “This was his third big final in just a handful of races – and he’d finished second in both. But this was easily the best race he’s run because he’d not had the easiest start to the week and in the race itself, he found himself with plenty to do.”

Wallis is a man who knows what it takes to train a prized greyhound. The 57-year-old has been there and worn the t-shirt many times before, winning the UK Greyhound Trainer of the Year accolade on 11 occasions, which is a record. Antigua Storm’s victory made it three of the best for Wallis in the East Anglian Derby, following the success of Fear No One in 2005 and Clondoty Alex in 2016, though it’s fair to say those two did not make him sweat as much as Antigua Storm. 

The best greyhounds are not those who start well, but those who finish well, and Antigua Storm proved that maxim to be true. It was a stunning recovery from the dog who had been in last place around the first bend, and in the end, it was simply proof of his enduring qualities. 

Owner Nic Jeal was left beaming after Antigua Storm pinched victory at the last, living up to his billing in the greyhound betting tips.

“It was a great result,” Jeal said, “and a great watch for us! I thought he’d probably blown it off the second bend, he had so much to do. But he showed amazing pace down the back-straight. He really took off and then to be stopped in his tracks and then come again was just brilliant, although we always knew he was a tough sort – in Ireland he was looking like he got four bends strongly. 

“The East Anglian Derby was the competition I wanted to win. I can remember watching it 40 years ago when I lived in Yarmouth – so to win it all these years later is amazing.”