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A look at Charlie Lister’s success in the English Greyhound Derby

Romeo Magico’s English Greyhound Derby win this year was a really impressive feat, an outstanding run that summed up the magic of British greyhound racing’s top event so well. It led to emotional scenes trackside as Graham and Nicky Holland finally clinched their first success at the event.

A win at the event is highly valued by every trainer on the tour, and the competition is fiercely competitive, making it a favourite for those placing a greyhound bet on Betdaq. It’s testament to his ability then that Charlie Lister, one of the most successful trainers of all time, has won the competition seven times in his career — more than anyone else.

Since his first success in 1997, it’s been clear that Lister has a unique relationship with the Derby. His success in the competition came in two short periods, and we’ve taken a look at them below.

1997 – 2003:

In the 1997 Derby, Lister’s Some Picture had recently won the Scottish Greyhound Derby and was the favourite heading into the final — unbeaten up until that point. Some Picture led with Stows Val around the first two bends, before kicking on down the back straight to finish well clear of the pack. The winning time, 28.23 seconds, was the fastest ever recorded for a Derby final held at Wimbledon.

Lister won the 2000 and 2001 Derby finals with Rapid Ranger, making him only the third dog in history to win the Derby more than once. The dog headed into both finals with odds of 7/4, and finished both finals with times of 28.71 — finishing ahead of Rackethall Jet in 2000 and Sonic Flight in 2001.

The 2003 Greyhound Derby final was marked by controversy. Lister had three runners in the race: Farloe Verdict, Top Savings, and Larkhill Bullet — they finished second, third, and sixth respectively. However, the winning dog, Droopys Hewitt, was disqualified after a standard third round sample test and stripped of the win. Farloe Verdict and Top Savings were then promoted to finish 1-2 and, although it won’t have been in the manner he would have hoped, Lister picked up his fourth Derby win.

2010 – 2013:

After a seven-year break, Lister was once again the winning trainer at the 2010 Derby, when Bandicoot Tipoki finished well after moving wide early on, taking pole position from Lyreen Mover and Toomaline Jack, who battled for the lead for most of the race. It was Lister’s fifth Derby win, which saw him equal the post-war record, set by Leslie Reynolds.

Lister won the following year as well, taking a strong team to the Derby in 2011. It was Taylors Sky who won the final for Lister, clear of Westmead Guru in second. The dog equalled the track record, 28.21 seconds, in the semi-final, and went one better in the final, breaking the record with a time of 28.17 seconds.

Lister’s final success came in the 2013 Greyhound Derby, with 6-1 runner Sidaz Jack finishing first. The dog overtook Ballymac Vic at the second bend, and the two contested the lead of the race until Sidaz Jack broke clear and led the pack home.

The 2013 win was Lister’s seventh, and his final before his retirement in 2018. It remains an incredible feat of success that’s unlikely to be rivalled any time soon and, for the foreseeable future, the competition will be inextricably linked with Lister.