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71st British Bred Produce Stakes - Swindon 480m - £15,000

KING ELVIS left the building on Saturday with the £15,000 first prize safely tucked away as the 71st British Bred 2 Year Old Produce Stakes final at Swindon went the way of the Liz McNair-trained, KSS Syndicate-owned and bred runner - the joint-youngest in the line-up.


Having been the fastest of three semi-final winners last week, and the only unbeaten runner in the final, the son of Tullymurry Act and the McNairs’ crack-sprinter-turned-successful-dam Skate On started a hot favourite to win the 480m four-round competition for British-bred greyhounds only.


However, as husband of trainer Rab McNair explained, the October 15 whelp missed the break and was put under pressure as Kevin Hutton’s Ballyoak Petal trapped quickest and led into the bend before King Elvis was able to challenge and pass that rival off the second bend.


“He was a bit fresh last night - he’s still a young pup remember - and missed the break and was under pressure, but he got a great run up the middle of the track and was able to get to Kevin’s bitch. He then went on well, but I always had an eye on where the five was!”


Indeed, Ben McBride’s Apache Kid produced a stirring run but King Elvis, reported as “bouncing” by Rab McNair the morning after the night before, held the local dog to the line to score by half-a-length in 28.74sec (+10), with the John Mullins-trained Carn Brea another one-and-a-quarter lengths back in third.


“He showed me something again that makes me think he’s even better than I thought,” added McNair. “I thought he was above-average when he caught Clondoty Alex at Henlow but he had to battle to get to the front on Saturday, and then powered on. He showed something else again.”


Options for King Elvis could now include a crack at the Peterborough Derby or Yarmouth’s version, but he could be kept to his own age group too with a crack at the Romford Puppy Cup also a possibility.


“He ran against older dogs at Swindon, so that’s doesn’t worry us, but there’s time for those events perhaps and we might keep him to puppy events. It’s a nice problem to have, and I’m just delighted for Liz who puts so much work into the pups. They’re a full-time job!


“We got back from Swindon at about half twelve, and Liz went straight to the kennels where the pups are - we’ve got some nice litters here - and made sure they were okay. She spends a lot of time with the pups and this victory is so much down to her work and care for them.”


McNair paid tribute to Brendan Keogh and the KSS Syndicate, owners and breeders of the pups they have at their Kent base from dams such as Skate On, Shaws Dilemma, Queen Asia and others.


“Brendan was at a wedding, but we spoke on the phone, and for a man who puts so much into the dogs and the breeding, victories like this are so important,” added McNair who also paid special tribute to the Swindon management for their staging of the competition.


“It’s been a good track for me. We’ve won two Arcs and now a Produce Stakes and we’re thrilled and enjoy going to Swindon. Long may our luck there continue, but you always need the dogs and the work Brendan and his team do ensure we’ve got a good crack at it.”


The supporting card at Swindon on Produce Stakes final night saw local victories for Peter Swadden’s Jet Stream Bound (42.11sec, 685m), Clive Elliot’s Alarming Khaos (16.49sec, 285m) and Paul Foster’s Swift Europe (30.25sec, 509m), while Hall Green-based Angie Kibble’s Let Me Tell You foiled a Foster double attempt when leading home the popular Tommys Approach in 28.79sec for the 480m.    


Stuart Forsdike, chairman of the British Greyhound Breeders’ Forum (BGRF), congratulated Liz and Rab McNair, Brendan Keogh and the KSS Syndicate, for the success of King Elvis in the Produce Stakes final and thanked Swindon for its staging of the event.


He said: “It was a quality final, with a very worthy winner for connections who do so much to support British breeding. Swindon did a great job in organising the event and we at the BGBF hope we can become even more involved to progress the event still further.


“We have the funding for it in place and will perhaps look at ways to make the entry system even easier and cheaper for those who want to race for Produce Stakes glory.


“It’s the most prestigious of the British-bred competitions and financially the biggest we stage - we want to make it even better.”