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Servoca Nursing & Care British Bred Derby - Towcester 500m - £7,500


KING ELVIS emerged as a possible key player for the GBGB Awards in early 2018 as the Liz McNair-trained home-bred landed his fourth major title of the year in Wednesday’s Servoca British Bred Derby final at Towcester on Wednesday.


Already winner of the Produce Stakes (Swindon), Trafalgar Cup (Monmore) and Henlow Derby in 2017, the October 15 son of Tullymurry Act and Skate On made all in the £7,500 decider to add to his successes and give the McNairs a first and third in the decider.


Lowgate Belatrix, trained and bred by last year’s winning handler Jim Hayton, finished well to split King Elvis and his kennelmate King Turbo with less than a length covering the first four home in the final, with Barry Derby’s Alfies Prince also close up.


“That’s brilliant, and I’m delighted for the boss (Brendan Keogh). It’s what he deserves given all he puts into the dogs,” said Rab McNair. “Elvis has always been on our mind! He’s been a great dog from the start and has got so much speed.


“There’s no question 500m at Towcester tests him at this time of the year on slow going, but he’s held them off well, and him and Turbo bumping has probably cost the other dog second - but he’s run another good race.”


Bob Morton, whose involvement with the sponsors led to Servoca Nursing & Care backing the competition, said: “It’s been a superb event, and well done to all those breeders who made the final. There’s special satisfaction in achieving that.


“It’s important we support British breeding with these types of competitions, and the British-Bred Derby has a real home here at Towcester - a track I’m impressed with the more I come here.”


Morton, owner of the legendary dual Derby winner Westmead Hawk, himself a British-bred champion, was joined in Lord Hesketh’s box on the night by Nick Savva, his great friend and breeder and trainer of his three Derby winners - Hawk twice and Westmead Lord.


The Star Sports English Derby next May at Towcester - the final is Saturday, June 2 - is also the main target of Dorotas Wildcat who gained revenge over his Nottingham Eclipse conqueror Bubbly Bluebird with a brilliant win in the Star Sports Shootout.


The £5,000 one-off also featured another local champion in Bruisers Bullet, but it was Dorotas Wildcat who made the most of his inside draw to catch fast-starting Bubbly Bluebird just before the bend and race on to victory in a fastest-of-the-night 29.06sec (-20).


“He ran a great race last week at Nottingham from a tough draw, but there’s no doubt his fitness improved a week on and roll on the Derby next for him,” said part-owner David Usher who shares the May 2015 whelp with trainer Kevin Hutton.


On the concept of the three-way challenge, Usher added: “It was a great idea, which hopefully they can build on in 2018. There were plenty of opinions out there as to who should be invited. We were delighted to be invited - even more to win! It makes the long trip back to Scotland easier!”


Ben Keith of sponsors Star Sports, also backers of the English Derby, said: “Well done to all concerned. It was a great idea and brought together three of the fastest dogs in training - and a sensational winner.

“It’s topped off a superb night and great year for us.


"We look forward to next year's Derby with great excitement, and once again well done to Lord Hesketh, Kevin Ackerman and all the team here at Towcester.”