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Betfred Select Stakes - Nottingham 500m - £7,500

 

 

THE Greyhound Writers’ Association assembled this week to vote for the field for the Betfred Select Stakes at Nottingham, live on Sky Sports on Wednesday. They helped produce a top-class one-off for racegoers and viewers alike - with a host of big-race winners chasing the first prize of £7,500.

 

Unfortunately, the line-up will be missing English Derby winner Astute Missile after Seamus Cahill’s star picked up an injury in a trial at Hove on Thursday, and is replaced by Charlie Lister’s Newinn Shadow. However, Dave Baldwin, Nottingham’s general manager, remains delighted with the field and response this year from trainers.

 

He said: “On paper the original line-up would be amongst the best we’ve ever had, certainly the best since we took over the running of it from Wembley. It’s sad to lose the Derby winner, and we wish him a speedy recovery, but Newinn Shadow is a Puppy Classic finalist here and runs this track well.

 

“We still have the Scottish Derby winner in Dorotas Woo Hoo and the Greyhound of the Year Droopys Buick. He won the Betfred Eclipse here at the back-end of last year and, of course, ran-up to Domino Storm in the Select last year. He’ll be hoping to go one better!

 

“Throw in the last Puppy Classic winner from here in Bubbly Bluebird, a Juvenile winner and Derby finalist in Murrys Act, and a Derby Plate winner Dorotas Wildcat - and it’s an exciting prospect. It should be a great race and hopefully a fantastic card here on July 26.”

 

In trials before racing at Nottingham on Monday, Select Stakes contenders Dorotas Wildcat (29.58) Murrys Act (29.60sec) and Bubbly Bluebird (29.74sec) all warmed up for the event. Danzey Exception, who is a rails reserve for the Select Stakes, covered the 305m sprint trip in 17.92sec.

 

Bob Betts, life president of the Greyhound Writers’ Association and former greyhound editor of The Sporting Life, had spoken of the great history of the Select Stakes at Monday’s traditional Betfred-backed lunch. The event dates back to 1952 when Lesley Reynolds’ previous year’s Derby champion Ballylanigan Tanist won.

 

Derby winners litter the early years of the Select Stakes, including Endless Gossip, Rushton Mac, Ford Spartan and Mile Bush Pride, when the runners were selected by a committee. It was not until after the GWA was formed in 1982 when the Press selected the field.

 

“The aim was to give the selection of the runners independence and transparency,” explained Betts. “As happens today, members of the Press got together and argued, debated and then chose the runners they felt had earned the right to run in the Select.

 

“It’s always been about competition winners, but also trying to make the best race possible. Nottingham this year stages their 21st Select Stakes and it’s the 66th overall dating back to its Wembley days. It remains one of the best races in the greyhound calendar.”

 

Jim Cremin, a former racing manager at Wembley but now hugely respected Racing Post journalist, recalled conversations with trainers over the years whose runners had failed to make the cut. It was his responsibility to pass on the decision of the Press panel, who by that time had disappeared to a London watering hole!

 

“I remember in particular telling Joe Pickering his Another Spatter hadn’t made the cut,” said Cremin. “He wasn’t best pleased - his dog had won the Laurels after all. But that’s the Select Stakes. In most years there’s a debate, but you can’t argue that it has the most outstanding roll of honour.”

 

Last year’s winner was the greyhound christened the ‘pocket rocket’ by Mark Wallis. “Domino Storm beat the boys last year, and we were so proud of her,” said the champion trainer, reflecting on his Bitch of the Year’s triumph which had followed that of her litter-brother Swift Hoffman the previous year.

 

Wallis doesn’t have a runner this year with possible contender Bruisers Bullet currently sidelined through injury. “But I’ll be watching for sure,” he added. “It’s a great race, with a great history, and the selection adds something to it. You’re always nervous you might not make the cut!” Asked for a winner, Wallis went for Droopys Buick.

 

Chief supporting race to the Select Stakes is the Betfred Select Stayers, the field also chosen by the GWA. It features last year’s winner Bona Mindy for Diane Henry, plus two of the stars of Sunderland’s William Hill Festival of the Racing final card - Grand Prix champion Cloran Paddy (Charlie Lister) and marathon winner Shellam Delano (Angela Harrison).

 

Trap draws:

 

Betfred Select Stakes: 1 Dorotas Wildcat, 2 Droopys Buick, 3 Bubbly Bluebird, 4 Murrys Act (w), 5 Newinn Shadow (w), 6 Dorotas Woo Hoo (w).

 

Betfred Select Stayers: 1 Karlow Turbo, 2 Borna Mindy, 3 Russelena Reggie, 4 Cloran Paddy, 5 Slick Strauss, 6 Shellam Delano (w).

 

 

Further information: www.nottinghamdogs.com

 

Betfred Select Stakes roll of honour: http://www.nottinghamdogs.com/betfred-select-stakes.aspx