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William Hill Grand Prix - Sunderland 640M (£15,000)

THE art of training greyhounds is about having your dog at his or her very best for the biggest occasions and Champion Trainer Mark Wallis is planning on his Patchys Kerry being spot on for the final of the £15,000 William Hill Grand Prix final on Wednesday week.

In his weekly blog Wallis, who won the event back in 2011 with Blonde Fletch, says the triple Category One winner will “Come on a ton, and as we know it's all about peaking in about three weeks' time (for the final)”.

He was referring to the defeat of Patchys Kerry by kennelmate Ferryforth Fran in a trial over the Grand Prix 640-metre trip at Sunderland last weekend. It was clearly a message sponsors William Hill have taken on board as they have made the daughter of Blackstone Gene their favourite for the event won last year by Bubbly Gold.

Patchys Kerry, who since last September has landed the Champion Stakes, Golden Jacket and 3 Steps to Victory, returns from a short break after her semi-final elimination from the Regency in April.

Let’s have a look at Saturday’s six first round qualifiers.

Heat One (7.39pm): Shellam Delano (trap six) has been consistently good for some time now and will most probably be all the rage here. Her record over course and distance is one win from one start – an Inter-Track last year - and she is well drawn on the outside. Postivereaction (trap three) has ability and is open to improvement. Bramble Desire (trap five) was a winner over this trip at Newcastle and is another to consider.

Heat Two (7.54pm): Teejayspowerhawk (trap four) was a heat winner last year before going out in the semi-final. Droopys Benz (trap six) is difficult to assess. Her only previous start over six bends was when she was fourth in an Open at Sheffield. But she has huge scope and must enter calculations. Mustang Chick (trap two) caught the eye with a couple of displays of superb early pace before failing to see out the 695 metres at Hove during the Regency. This track will certainly suit her if she can find her trapping boots. Halcrow Bound (trap five) can improve after only a couple of six-bend starts.

Heat Three (8.10pm): This is a smashing race. Ferryforth Fran (trap six) is the one they must beat. She defeated Patchys Kerry in a trial last weekend, is well drawn and has tonnes of ability. Clever Jamie (trap two) has a tremendous six-bend record both in the UK and Ireland and is a must for calculations. Farley Rio (trap five) was beaten less than a length by Bubbly Gold in last year’s final and has maintained a high level since. Boherna Pedro (trap four) was a smart trial stakes winner. Both Swift Leonard (trap one) and Romeo Storm (trap three) have ability.

 

Heat Four (9.15pm): Patchys Kerry (trap one) is well drawn. She moved nicely in a four-bend trial at Towcester and produced a decent effort behind Ferryforth Fran. She will attempt to make all. Bubbly Torpedo (trap five) went really well over 575metres at Romford but is going into unchartered waters over this trip. Spa Road Piper (trap four) has hit a rich vein of form. He possesses Barefoot Rumble (trap six) has been performing well in handicaps and could figure from a decent draw. Princely Hawk (trap two) and Mustang Golden (trap three) are also players.

 

Heat Five (9.32pm): Coolavanny Lass (trap one) looks one of the leading contenders from one of the weaker heats of the round. She has performed well enough in trials and has bits and pieces of form which can put her ahead here. Zulu Baran (trap five) comes a long way from the south coast and has been running well over four bends recently. Bit View Turbo (trap three) comes into this race with a win and Rhapsodyinblack (trap two), Happy Man (trap four) – a race winner over six bends here – and Barntick Mist (trap six) are also players.

 

Heat Six (9.48pm): Pinpoint Boom (trap two) gives the impression of being able to stay this trip. The locally-trained dog has huge ability over four bends and that, blended with a fair amount of stamina, should make him the one to beat here. Garryglass Pixie (trap one) represents a powerful kennel. She has a good strike rate and must come into the reckoning. Slick Salsa (trap three) hasn’t done a great deal lately but has winning six-bend open race form in May. Calzaghe Rocky (trap four) gets the trip whilst Ballymac Rio (trap five) and Fearsome Code (trap six) can figure.