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William Hill Classic - 450m (£25,000)

This promised to be the hottest William Hill Classic in its history and it most certainly lived up to that billing on night one. It's safe to say the second biggest four-bend competition in the calendar started with a bang. 

 

Mileheight Alba the defending champion went off in the first heat and is safely through after qualifying in 3rd behind No But and Irish challenger Crokers Champ. This was an impressive victory for the Julie Calvert trained No But who stopped the clock in 27.07. The first-round though would belong to another North-East girl Kelly Macari. 

 

Kelly Macari's smile lit up Sunderland after watching her three entries Pinpoint Maxi, Pinpoint Finas and Conna Trigger all put in very impressive displays. Would Pinpoint Maxi the 2013 champion and finalist last year be a force to be reckoned with in this year's competition? You bet he is after he put in a breathtaking display to send out a very loud message; “if you want to win the 2015 Classic you must beat me”. He ran out an impressive winner beating Laughing Gravy by 1.25L in 26.88. Not only is Pinpoint Maxi a remarkable greyhound this was one of the best training performances you are likely to see. Injured in April and with just one sprint trial to his name he entered the competition severely lacking race fitness. Kelly Macari produced him in magnificent condition and he duly put in this sensational display.

 

It was not only Pinpoint Maxi who impressed; Kelly saw her Pinpoint Finas race to a first-round success. He soon raced in to the lead and never looked like being caught crossing the line 1.5L to the good over Romeo Ballistic in 27.15. The Racing Post Juvenile champion Ballymac Brogan crashed out here but it was not all doom and gloom for Seamus Cahill who trained the 3rd Who Needs Pace.

 

Pinpoint Maxi and Pinpoint Finas will grab the headlines for Kelly but her third entry Conna Trigger also qualified. He qualified in 3rd behind Bubbly Ninja and Farloe Nutter in a very fast 26.98. Bubbly Ninja was brilliant away and gone on the bunny which ensures you create your own luck. Conna Trigger was crowded at the first and third-bend when he looked to throwing down a serious challenge and was eye-catching in defeat.

 

The Northern Puppy Derby champion Kneejerkreaction was in flying form. He was fantastic on the night scoring by 5.25L in 26.74. Poolie Storm completes the list of heat winners beating Calzaghe George 1.25L in 27.11. It's all to play for and we have 18 brilliant greyhounds heading to the eagerly anticipated semi-finals. Who do you think will be crowned the 2015 William Hill Classic Champion? 

 

I caught up with Kelly Macari to get all the latest news and reaction on her three qualifiers.

 

Kelly Macari On Pinpoint Maxi, Pinpoint Finas and Conna Trigger 

 

'I'm so proud of all of them I really am. A few weeks ago I did not even know if we'd have a runner in the competition. It was touch and go right up till Monday but we decided to let all three of them take their chance.

 

Pinpoint Maxi only had a sprint trial and we just did not know what to expect if I'm honest, it was real pressure and I was just hoping he'd qualify. What he did was incredible and he showed what a class act he is. I can't help but think 'What If' and just how good would he have been if he'd not had the injuries he's had. He won it for us in 2013 and made the final last year, it's a great feeling to be back in the Classic and him running so well. It sounds bizarre when you look at his run but I'd certainly be hopeful he can come forward on that with more racing. The main job is he's bouncing this morning and he's come out of the race very well. 

 

I'm delighted with Pinpoint Finas he's nearly five and was the only greyhound to win on the night in the red jacket. He showed everyone how good he is and was a little bit ahead in terms of having a four-bend trial but that said he's still entitled to come forward for the run.

Conna Trigger may not have won but he really impressed me and he ran a great race. He was checked up a couple of times so I'm delighted he qualified. He's just a ping break away from showing everyone how good he is. 

This is an amazing competition and the best Classic I can remember. We need some luck now with trap-draws. The three of them did the kennel and our team proud it's amazing to have three in the semi-finals now. It would be fantastic to get one of them to the final. I'm delighted for the owners. It's fantastic sponsorship and everyone connected to the competition deserve massive credit'.