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Coral Olympic - Hove 515m - £7,500

BRUISERS BULLET set the standard in the semi-finals of the Coral Olympic at Hove on Thursday as Mark Wallis’s dog and King Turbo qualified from the ‘heat of death’ and both will line up in next week’s £7,500 Category One showpiece - the final major competition of 2017.


Beaten by Bubbly Bluebird in the Eclipse, Bruisers Bullet reversed that form again having split Dorotas Wildcat and Paul Young’s dog in the Towcester Shootout. This time, however, he led his rivals home when catching longtime leader King Turbo (pictured above) in the first semi-final.


The Liz McNair-trained flyer paced up to lead off the second bend after Bubbly Bluebird had trapped in front. The latter was unable to get across as King Turbo railed into the lead and was forced to check his stride as the leader went on.


However, Bruisers Bullet had moved into a great position approaching halfway and caught King Turbo on the run for home to win in a superb 29.63sec (-10), with strong-running Calico Ranger staying on from off the back to finish third.


King Kid, a kennelmate of King Turbo, made it a second finalist for the McNairs when producing a faultless effort in the second semi. Trapping well, he paced up and avoided trouble inside to skip clear to win by six lengths in 29.77sec, with Romeo Desperado (John Mullins) qualifying in second.


Rab McNair, husband of trainer Liz, said he was delighted with the performances of both King Kid and King Turbo, the pair helping to continue a good week for the husband and wife team after Queen Anna’s victory in the National Sprint final at Nottingham on Monday.


“They were both fantastic, and I’m delighted with the draw for them both. Turbo has trap four and it might help his trapping. He handled trap one well enough, but probably didn’t come away as he can. He might break better from the middle.


“I thought King Kid would come on for the heats. He’d been off since Nottingham, and I reckon he cramped slightly coming home. If he traps there’s not many around who’ll beat him, but it’s a great race next Thursday and Mark’s dog (Bruisers Bullet) will be tough to beat I know.


“But we’re there with two chances and it’s great for the kennel, especially for Brendan (Keogh) and the owners, in the last big event of the year. I’d just like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year - we’re hoping we can end it on a high.”


June Harvey’s Clash came through powerfully to claim gold in the third semi. The October 14 whelp, the oldest finalist, managed to turn handy and proved too strong for Paul Young’s Puppy Classic winner Wildfire Lord in 30.00sec for the 515m trip.


Form for Thursday’s final: