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William Hill Festival - Sunderland

The big races are coming thick and fast at this time of year. The William Hill Classic is the second biggest four-bend race in the calendar behind the Greyhound Derby. It's worth £25,000 to-the-winner and the best four-bend greyhounds in the business are set to chase victory in this amazing competition.

 

It's one of the youngest competitions in the calendar but since its start in 2007 its always thrown up some of the most exciting action of the year. The 2015 running really does look to have all the ingredients of being the best yet. 

 

Last year Mileheight Alba took the crown and he is back defending his title this year for Pat Rosney. If he can pull off that magnificent feat he will make history and become the first greyhound to achieve back-to-back victories. It most certainly won't be easy but he showed he is still very much a force to be reckoned with in recent trials. His old rival and last year's runner-up Southern Mesut is back looking to go one better. His trainer Charlie Lister OBE is yet to taste success in the Classic and it must be about the only major race this legend of our sport is yet to win. Pinpoint Maxi last year's 4th is also back and last year he was sent off a very hot 1/2 favourite in the final. He's explosive at his best and is a greyhound you can never write off. 

 

Ireland are represented with the Peter Cronin trained duo Crokers Champ and Tynwald Rodney. The former absolutely exploded from the traps in a recent trial recording a mind blowing 4.77 sectional. He is a class act and was desperately unlucky to exit the Greyhound Derby in the first-round. His kennel companion Tynwald Rodney is a very fast greyhound in his own right and Ireland may only have two representatives but their inclusion definitely makes it even more exciting. 

 

Jimmy Wright is a trainer with a couple of live outsiders and he's searching for his first Classic victory with Bua Farah and Droopys Alessio. I decided to catch up with the Newcastle attached trainer and get the latest news on his runners.

 

Jimmy Wright on Bua Farah and Droopys Alessio 

 

'I think the tag lively outsiders is about right there are some amazing greyhounds chasing the Classic crown which you'd expect for the fantastic prize-money on offer. 

 

Bua Farah is a decent dog he made the final of the All England Cup but he's had a couple of injuries. He's running well and I'm happy for him to take his chance. I was delighted with his sectional on his first look of Sunderland but he ran off the track a bit and you'd have to say there is room for further improvement. 

 

Droopys Alessio is a nice little dog. He made the final of the Northern Puppy Derby finishing 3rd. He knows Sunderland well which is a big bonus and it's going to be interesting to see how he goes against the very best four-bend dogs in the country. He could go well and I'm hoping he puts up a good show'.

 

Jimmy can I ask you talking of four-bend dogs how's the talented Maum Legend and what are the plans?

 

'He's back trialling now and I'm very happy with him. It all depends how quickly I can get him fit and to a position he can compete at the highest level once more. No definite plans have been made yet but I'd think either the Gold Cup at Monmore or the Steel City Cup at Sheffield'. 

 

Heats: Saturday 4th July 

Semi-Finals: Saturday 11th July

Final: Wednesday 15th July (Sky Sports)