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


CANDLELIGHT FIRE is to target a famous British-bred double at Towcester next month after winning the British Breeders Stakes at Nottingham on Tuesday, the prolific-scoring Sheffield raider making all to complete a unbeaten run through the £8,000 event for Elaine Parker’s kennel. In truth, after breaking smartly, he never looked like being beaten.


“It was a brilliant run, and I’m just delighted for mum, who bred the dog also,” said son and assistant Sean Parker after the April 2014 son of Ballymac Vic and Droopys Peaches, part-owned by trainer Parker and Mark Crosthwaite, trapped in front to extinguish any threat from Romeo Desperado, whose early pace and middle-moving tendency had seen King Kid go off favourite.


The latter was crowded and knocked to the floor at the first bend but was quickly up and unscathed, and it was left to Candlelight Fire to lead home the John Mullins-trained Romeo Desperado with Queen Dawn, a kennelmate of King Kid’s at Liz McNair’s kennel, back in third. Jim Hayton’s Lowgate Malfoy was fourth and Kevin Hutton’s Far Bank Frank fifth. 


The winner clocked 29.70sec, the fastest time in the competition which he effectively dominated from the start, and Sean Parker admitted there was extra satisfaction for winning the 500m annual with a greyhound they had bred themselves at their Goole, North Humberside kennels, and credited kennelhand Mark Grain who paraded the winner on the night.


“Mark has done a fantastic job, works a lot with this dog, so it’s extra special for him too,” added Parker, who outlined the Servoca Nursing British Bred Derby at Towcester as Candlelight Fire’s next target. “His litter brother Russanda Rubin won it last year for Jim Hayton, and we nearly went for it ourselves but just felt the 500m at Towcester would prove too much for him.


“He’s a year older and stronger, has proved to everyone he can win away from Sheffield and must have one of the best strike-rates in training - he’s won 31 times from 60 races, and as Mark has reminded me has lost just once when leading. We’ve got to let him take his chance at Towcester, but will enjoy this. It’s a great competition, and it’s been a great night for us.”


Bob Gilling, a longtime supporter of British breeding in his role as secretary of the British Breeders Forum, congratulated connections at the presentation podium: “He’s a very good winner and well done to Elaine, Sean, Mark and the team - they’ve done a great job. It was a quality final and that is the intention and aim of all the competitions now staged for British breeders.”


The supporting card saw Carol Weatherall and Carl Perry land doubles, with both trainers reporting big-race plans for their charges. Weatherall struck with litter brothers Calico Ranger (29.79sec, 500m) and Calico Blackjack (29.46sec, 500m), with the Betfred Eclipse a likely target for both back at Nottingham next month.


Perry weighed in with recent Angel of the North winner Geelo Zip (29.70sec, 500m) and Geelo Breeny (30.12sec, 500m) in the bitches’ races. Geelo Zip has the Greyhound Media Group Oaks at Belle Vue in December as a target, a race where the trainer is hoping to be well represented given the kennel also houses Three Steps to Victory and Lowther Stakes winner Geelo Sapphire.


Nottingham general manager Dave Baldwin said: “Our thanks go to all our sponsors for another superb British Breeders Stakes final night. It was especially great to see Bob Gilling here in what is his 47th year involved in such events - he continues to be a great ambassador for British breeding. Overall, we’re delighted and are now looking forward to the Betfred Eclipse here next month.”