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Coral Olympic - Hove 515m - £7,500

KING TURBO (pictured abouve) and Calico Ranger shared the plaudits at Hove on Thursday as the Coral Olympic, the final Category One four-bend event of the year, kicked off at the Sussex venue - the former setting the standard on the clock with a stunning 29.68sec return in his heat, and the latter producing a whirlwind finish to land his.


The Liz McNair-trained King Turbo served up a treat in the sixth and concluding eliminator, soon in command and really turning on the style down the back as the British Bred Derby third came away to win by four lengths from Glamorous Sharif in the fastest time of the night and earn a place in Thursday’s semi-finals - and what a semi in store!


“It’s like a Derby final, no doubt about that,” said Rab McNair, husband and assistant of trainer Liz, after King Turbo was drawn in the first semi against fellow heat winner Calico Ranger and Eclipse first and third Bubbly Bluebird and Bruisers Bullet. It will be the first time the son of Leamaneigh Turbo and Wee Tiger Tots will wear the red jacket.


“We changed his seeding because he was cutting across at the bend, but he kept pretty straight to the bend in a trial from (trap) two and hopefully he runs well. At this time of year it’s track conditions which would be a real factor, but it’s such a good competition we had to be involved and has kept our year going a little longer.”


McNair, who reported that Greyhound of the Year contender King Elvis would now be kept for next year after the weather claimed a planned competition run at Towcester last week, will have Olympic elimination King Eden checked out week before a possible run on final night. “I thought he looked a bit short, but that might be in my head! I never like to make excuses. We’ll see.”


He does, however, think that King Kid will improve for his third place behind in heat one. “He had a slight shoulder niggle and only had two sprints back, so I’m pleased with him. He hadn’t run since October so will improve. I’m just delighted he’s not that first semi-final too! Getting the six-box back will suit him.”


Carol Weatherall had sent out three litter-brothers to win their Eclipse heats at Nottingham last month and the feat was almost repeated at Hove on Thursday, with Calico Brandy looking a possible winner of heat two until taking a tumble when challenging approaching the fourth turn.


Calico Blackjack had earlier won the opening eliminator when pacing up and making virtually all to hold Droopys Alex by a short-head in 30.19sec (-20), while Calico Ranger landed the Weatherall double in heat four with another incredible off-the-pace performance.


Sealing his reputation as one of the most exciting greyhounds in training, Calico Ranger (29.91sec) caught leader and his Eclipse conqueror Bubbly Bluebird on the run for home when he wasn’t even sure of qualification approaching the third bend, producing a devastating finishing kick.


Seamus Cahill suffered the disappointment of seeing fancied Drooopys Gold crowded out of the competition behind the John Mullins-trained Oakfied Caesar (30.16sec), but a double in their respective heats for Crossfield Blues (30.31sec) and Sporting Dave (29.86sec) softened the blow.


Form for Thursday’s semi-finals: