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Coral Sussex Cup - Hove 515m - £10,000

CALICO RANGER, a last-gasp winner on Derby final night at Towcester, is one of the most exciting greyhounds in training just now and set the standard on the clock in the heats of the Coral Sussex Cup at Hove on Thursday, when producing another thrilling finish to land the spoils narrowly from Brinkleys Blaze in 29.82sec (-30).


The runner-up ran with huge credit for June Harvey, but it was the Carol Weatherall-trained youngster, owned by Keith Hardiman and Weatherall’s partner and assistant Darren Holmes, who thrilled his growing legion of fans with a whirlwind finish after a slow start and crowding at the first bend to grab gold by a short-head.


“He’s so much like his dad, exciting to watch and we’re just delighted with him,” said Weatherall yesterday from her Rugby base about the August 14 son of Holdem Spy and Wont Fall Behind, being a son of a Scottish Derby champion and a Coventry open-race winner.


Both were trained by Weatherall, with Holdem Spy, an English Derby semi-finalist in 2013 and unlucky quarter-finalist in 2014, known for his power-packed style of running and regular last-to-first finishes.


At this stage Calico Ranger is the best of the litter says Weatherall, although the likes of Calico Brandy and Calico Blackjack are also well regarded.


Ironically, and perhaps unfortunately for connections, litter-brothers Calico Ranger and Calico Brandy clash in a red-hot third semi-final of the Sussex Cup on Thursday with just the first two qualifying for the live-on-Sky Sports decider on Thursday, August 3.


“It’s a shame they’ve been drawn together but hopefully with Brandy being a middle and Ranger being a wide they’ll keep out of each other’s way, even though they’re drawn side by side. But it’s a tough heat, probably the best of the semis,” added Weatherall, who also has Inky Holdem in the second semi.


“I thought he ran well behind Donation,” she continued. “He found himself in a pocket at the bend but ran well to qualify, and I think will improve for the week now between heat and semis. He’s been over to Shelbourne, and won over there, so has certainly been busy.”


Weatherall confirmed the visit to Dublin could pave the way for a crack at the BoyleSports Irish Derby with their runners next month, but first port of call will be the Sussex coast next week for the semi-finals of the £10,000 annual won last year by Barricane Tiger.


The latter takes on the Calico brothers in the third semi after making it through again, despite missing the break behind 30.14sec winner Paul Marchant’s Clash.


The other heats were won by Heather Dimmock’s Donation (30.32sec), Kevin Boon’s popular Shaneboy Freddie (30.28sec) and the Liz McNair-trained pair of Shaneboy Russell (30.36sec) and King Kid (29.99sec).


Form for Thursday’s semi-finals:




First semi: Kevin Boon’s pair of Graigues Russell and Shaneboy Freddie have been drawn alongside each other, the latter announcing himself as a senior now with yet another victory - his 20th open-race win. He is joined by fellow heat winner Shaneboy Russell.


Second semi: Puppy Derby runner-up King Kid impressed in the heats with victory and will be looking to dominate again, although Brinkleys Blaze went quicker on the clock with that fine second to Calico Ranger in the fastest of the six heats. Yorkshire Oaks winner Donation is also in here.


Third semi: The toughest on paper, with defending champion Barricane Storm joined by last year’s Champion Stakes runner-up Starring Storm, fastest heat winner Calico Ranger, kennelmate Calico Brandy, Puppy Derby winner King Eden and impressive heat scorer Clash.