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English Greyhound Derby finalist King Memphis set to contest £20,000 Premier Greyhound Racing Kent Derby at Central Park in October

English Greyhound Derby finalist King Memphis is set to reappear at Central Park Stadium in October when the Sittingbourne venue hosts the Premier Greyhound Racing Kent Derby.

Trained by Ashford couple Elizabeth and Rab McNair, the talented two-year-old finished sixth in the English final at Towcester after missing the break and struggling to catch eventual winner De Lahdedah.

King Memphis, right, is due to return to Central Park in autumn 2024. Picture: Jim Tate Photography
King Memphis, right, is due to return to Central Park in autumn 2024. Picture: Jim Tate Photography

The son of 14-times open race winner Queen Beyonce, King Memphis will now be aimed at Kent’s premier competition this autumn having finished second to kennelmate Queen Joni in Central Park’s other major final - the Arena Racing Company Kent Plate - earlier this year.

Assistant trainer Rab confirmed plans to track a strong team for the £20,000-to-the-winner competition, which this year concludes on Saturday, October 19. He and wife Liz last lifted the trophy in 2018 with King Turbo, and the couple plan to repeat that achievement in three months’ time.

“He deserves a well-earned rest,” said Rab. “He’s done us proud in recent weeks, so we’ll let him enjoy some downtime and be back for the Kent Derby in October.

“I love running my greyhounds at Central Park, and we plan to have a strong team in place for the Kent Derby.

“It’s the biggest competition locally, and we want to do the double after Queen Joni’s win in the Plate in March. She’s a contender for the race, too, and has already proven what she’s capable of at the track. It’s an exciting time for sure.”

Towcester marked the fourth time the McNairs had qualified for the English Greyhound Derby final.

Despite missing out on the top prize, the couple had reason to be cheerful as Arena Racing Company Kent Plate champion Queen Joni followed up on her Central Park success by winning the Derby Plate in convincing fashion.

With other homebred kennel stars including Queen Shakira, King Capaldi and Queen Georgia, Rab remains as enthusiastic for the sport as ever.

“As a trainer, there’s nothing you can do when a greyhound misses the break,” he said. “We’ll never know why he was slow away - maybe it was the atmosphere from the crowd, who knows?

“Of course it’s disappointing. Greyhound racing is our lives and we dedicate every hour to our dogs and the sport. But he’s come out of the race in great health which is all we ever want.

“He’s still a young dog, and the experience he’s gained will be invaluable moving forwards.”

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