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Betfred Eclipse - Nottingham 500M - £8,000

THE GENERATIONS clash at Nottingham on Tuesday in the final of the Betfred Eclipse (500m) and it should be a cracker.

Droopys Buick, one of last year’s leading juveniles, and Bubbly Bluebird, outstanding among those whose careers started ion 2016, meet in one of the most eagerly anticipated deciders for a long time.

That none of the runners is seeded only serves to make the £8,000-to-the-winner renewal even more fascinating.

Bubbly Bluebird might just start favourite on the draw. The dog who won the Puppy Classic over course and distance in August suffered his first defeat in 11 starts during the first round of the Eclipse but came back to form with a vengeance in the semi-finals and has the advantage of rails.

Droopys Buick, whose year hasn’t quite panned out as planned after he landed the Northern Puppy Derby last year, has looked at his very best during the preliminaries of this event and connections will be happy enough with his draw in trap four.

The first bend will be where this race is won and lost and given an even start from both runners it might be Bubbly Bluebird who turns in front given the advantage of the draw.

It is often said that when six railers are drawn together, as is the case here, trap six is probably one of the better draws, and Ballymac Mossjoe starts in the striped jacket.

Barrie Draper’s dog finished last when favourite for the Eclipse final last year, which was won by Pinpoint Boom. He was only a couple of lengths behind Bubbly Bluebird in the semi-finals and will be on hand to capitalise if the principals falter.

Tynwald Baz is a dog I have a lot of time for. He is drawn on the immediate outside of Droopys Buick and, if trapping well, he could compromise the space available to the Newcastle dog on the run-up.

Barricane Tiger, the Sussex Cup winner, has appeared held in the preliminary rounds but it would be folly to ignore the claims of a dog with his ability. Those same comments apply to Shaneboy Freddie. He is fully deserved of his place in the final but need to improve to make an impact.

The Betfred Eclipse Final, Tuesday, November 22 2016

1 Bubbly Bluebird

2 Shaneboy Freddie

3 Barricane Tiger

4 Droopys Buick

5 Tynwald Baz

6 Ballymac Mossjoe


The Semi-Finals – Monday, November 14 2016

First Semi-Final

In a race reduced to five runners by the withdrawal of an off-colour Ballymac Darragh (trap five), Droopys Buick (trap four) produced another display of textbook front running to secure a place in Tuesday’s final. Jimmy Wright’s dog was marginally slower away from the traps than in the first round but he again showed that blast of early pace that put the contest beyond the reach of his rivals from the first bend. Barricane Tiger broke well and put enough early pace into the race to turn in second place. He stayed on well to hold that position and grab a place in the draw for the decider. Droopys Buick pulled right away on the long run-in at Nottingham to score by a shade under four lengths in 29.41sec (0.10sec fast).

Second Semi-Final

The field were closely grouped and crowded right until the third bend when Tynwald Baz (trap one) went on to secure the lead and ultimately a three-length winning margin. Up to that point Shaneboy Freddie (trap three) had held a slim advantage after coming off best from a collision with the strongly-fancied Pinpoint Boss (trap six) at the crown of the first and second turns. Shaneboy Freddie went on, only marginally though, as Pinpoint Boss sat just off him in second place with Tynwald Baz also part of the leading group of three. The Terry Munslow-trained Tynwald Baz accelerated into the penultimate bend and the manoeuvre paid dividends as it secured him an advantage he would nurse to the wire. The clock was stopped at a modest 30.30sec (0.10sec fast) – reflecting the trouble in the race.


Third Semi-Final

It doesn’t take long for the very best to bounce back and Bubbly Bluebird, winner of the Puppy Classic over course and distance, proved the point with a sizzling success. Paul Young’s dog had suffered his first defeat in 11 starts when beaten almost four lengths by Tynwald Baz at the first round stage. But he resumed winning ways with a display of power and pace that saw him lead on the way to the first bend and stay well enough to defeat Ballymac Mossjoe, the very talented Sheffield dog, by two lengths in 29.65sec (0.10sec fast). The latter may have just about trapped in front but he had no answer for the early speed shown by Bubbly Bluebird and was reduced to a supporting role throughout.