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Calne Racing Arc - Swindon 480m - £8,000

THE Calne Racing Arc is a race that resonates with Paul Young. It was started and established at Walthamstow, the track at which he cut his greyhound teeth under the tutelage of Ken Linzell, and in 2004 he won the race for the first, and thus far only time, with Airtech Rapid.

So, the Romford-based Young will have been delighted to get this year’s competition off to a flying start with Glenkeel in the first heat of the 480-metre Category One on Saturday.

The October ’14 Tullymurry Act whelp recorded his third straight win with a slick early-paced performance that put him almost six lengths ahead of the talented Dorotas Del Mar in 28.44sec (0.10sec fast) – the quickest time of the round.

Glenkeel was Young’s only winner on a night when all six qualifiers went to different trainers, including one for Ireland in the shape of Garryvoe Bobby, who scored for the prolific County Tipperary-based Graham Holland.

Holland, of course, is no stranger to Swindon. Before leaving for Ireland at the turn of the Millennium, he had been contracted at nearby Oxford and regularly had open race runners at Swindon’s Abbey Stadium.

These days the journey home to Golden is a little longer than it used to take him to return to his former Dorset base but a winner always makes the trip back seem a little shorter.

Garryvoe Bobby recorded his first win since October last year with a smart start that soon put him ahead of his rivals in heat four. He went on to score by three-parts of a length in 28.48sec (0.10sec fast).

Castell Henry, odd-on favourite when fifth in the 70th British Bred Produce Stakes over track and trip in June, took his Swindon record to six wins from seven starts when getting the better of Huarache Finn by three quarters of a length in 28.68sec (0.10sec fast).

Seamus Cahill won the Arc 12 months ago, with Ballymac Brogan, whose career was sadly cut short soon after by injury. The Hove trainer was successful with Astute Missile in the fifth heat and, after the Kinloch Brae whelp made all from trap two in 28.58sec (0.10sec fast), he can look forward a good defence of his title.

Lenson Rocky, fourth in last year’s Derby final behind Jaytee Jet, recorded his third straight win for new trainer Tony Collett in the sixth heat. The dog formerly with Pat Buckley in Ireland has settled well with the Kent handler. That was a point hammered home when he scored by a length and a quarter in 28.82sec (0.10sec fast).

And the Dean Childs-trained Droopys Costa had a good field that included the highly-rated Proud Graham and Swithins Brae in arrears when landing the third heat of the evening in 28.73sec (0.10sec fast).

THE CALNE RACING ARC SEMI-FINALS – WEDNESDASY, MARCH 15

First Semi-Final

Garryvoe Bobby can take another step towards becoming the first Irish-trained winner of the Arc by safely securing a place in the final with a win here. Graham Holland’s dog can be expected to improve on his first-round performance, which was impressive. He is drawn to get a run and is fancied to defeat Droopys Costa. The latter is the only other heat winner in this semi-final and caught the eye at the weekend with a powerful display of front-running.

The Draw

1 Garryvoe Bobby

2 Droopys Costa

3 Droopys Turin

4 Dorotas Del Mar

5 Coolavanny Rebel (m)

6 Huarache Finn (w)

Second Semi-Final

Oscar Whisky was made the odds-on favourite to defeat Astute Missile at the first round stage only to go down by two lengths to Seamus Cahill’s dog. Given that considerable improvement is expected from Oscar Whisky here I fancy last year’s All England Cup winner to turn the tables on the Hove dog. Charlie Lister, his trainer, has yet to land the Arc and will be keen to put the competition on his CV. Astute Missile and Castell Henry are my choice for the minors but an order of finish is difficult to predict.

The Draw

1 Astute Missile

2 Oscar Whisky

3 Barricane Tiger

4 Castell Henry

5 Coconut Corker (m)

6 Brinkleys King (w)

 

The Third Semi-Final

I have been very impressed with Lenson Rocky since his arrival in this country to be trained by Tony Collett. The Derby fourth has settled in well and seems to have retained all his old zip. In fact, there may be a case for suggesting he could be even better this year. This is a good race with Glenkeel, the fastest first round winner, in trap six and the talented Irish-raider Ela Alecko in two. But I expect the well-drawn Lenson Rocky to come off best.

The Draw

1 Lenson Rocky

2 Ela Alecko

3 Savanna Donie

4 Huarache Scotty

5 Black Zack (m)