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British Breeders Stakes - Nottingham 500m - £8,000

JOHN MULLINS eyes back-to-back wins in the Nottingham British Breeders Stakes at the Colwick Park venue on Tuesday after his Romeo Desperado clocked the joint-fastest time in Monday’s semi-finals to make the final of the £8,000 decider for British-bred.

Twelve months on from Badabing’s success in the 500m event, and his subsequent GBGB British-Bred Greyhound of the Year award, the Suffolk-based handler now hopes the two-year-old owned and bred by Dave Firmager can continue his upward curve after joining the Mullins team recently.


“To be honest I thought this might come too soon for him”, said Mullins. “I’ve known Dave (Firmager) for many years, and he asked me to train three of his for him, which we were delighted to do. He came into us about six weeks ago, and needed time to settle in.


“One of my owners actually tried to buy Desperado about six months ago, so it’s great to have him in the kennel. I actually think he’s a helluva dog, and  will improve again for his runs at Nottingham. Remember before the heats, his previous race was in late April.”


That was in a trial stakes for the Derby at Towcester where he finished behind Irish star Drive On Tipp. Before that, the then Firmager-trained runner had risen from A3 to A1 at Hall Green as well as reaching the semi-finals of last year’s Puppy Classic, also at Nottingham.


Running from trap four in the third semi-final of the British Breeders Stakes on Monday, Romeo Desperado broke well and made all to clock 29.73sec, staying on stronger this time to lead home Liz McNair’s Queen Dawn in 29.73sec (+40).


The McNairs will be doubly-represented in Tuesday’s decider with their fellow home-bred King Kid involved in a cracking head to head with Elaine Parker’s Candlelight Fire (pictured above crossing the line at Sheffield) in the first semi, the latter getting first run with his trademark early dash and holding the former's strong-running effort in 29.73sec. The winning margin was three-quarters of a length.


There was a turn-up in the second semi-final as favourite King Eden was crowded out of contention at the second bend, as Jim Hayton’s Lowgate Malfoy swooped late on to edge Kevin Hutton’s Far Bank Frank in 30.28sec, with Castell Henry narrowly missing out in third.


Incidentally, Hutton is set for a busy few days as owner of Irish Oaks favourite Forest Natalee, who runs in the bitches’ Classic final at Shelbourne Park on Saturday. She is a sister of Scottish Derby winner Dorotas Woo Hoo, Select Stakes champion Dorotas Wildcat and Monmore Puppy Derby winner Forest Con.


After the weekend, focus will then switch to Nottingham on Tuesday with a greyhound owned by the Burton family. “Mike (Burton) bred, reared and schooled that particular litter at his place near Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, so it’s a great achievement for all of us to reach a major British-bred final at Nottingham.”


Draw for Tuesday’s final, live on Sky Sports:-


1 Far Bank Frank (m): Owned by George & Mike Burton; bred by Mike Burton, Gloucs.


2 Romeo Desperado (m): Owned and bred by Dave Firmager, Melton Mowbray.


3 Candlelight Fire (m): Owned by Mark Crosthwaite & Elaine Parker; bred by Elaine Parker, North Humberside.


4 Lowgate Malfoy (m): Owned by Janneke De Baat & Jim Hayton; bred by Jim Hayton, North Yorkshire.


5 Queen Dawn (w): Owned by KSS Syndicate; bred by Brendan Keogh, Kent.


6 King Kid (w): Owned by KSS Syndicate; bred by Brendan Keogh, Kent.