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

DOROTAS WILDCAT added his name to one of the most lauded rolls of honour at Nottingham on Wednesday when the Kevin Hutton-trained Derby Plate champion struck gold again in the £7,500-to-the-winner Betfred Select Stakes - and now has his sights set on an Irish Derby campaign.


Part-owned by Hutton and David Usher, the May 15 son of Ballymac Vic and Droopys Daneel was adding yet another major trophy to those collected by the most successful litter in training given victories for Forest Con (Monmore Puppy Derby) and Dorotas Woo Hoo (Scottish Derby) amongst others.


In a high-quality renewal at Colwick Park, one of the best in the race’s 60 years-plus history in front of a bumper crowd, it was the Angela Harrison-trained Droopys Buick, the reigning Greyhound of the Year, who broke in front looking to repeat his Betfred Eclipse victory over C&D at the backend of last year.


However, he was soon put under pressure by the early pace of Dorotas Wildcat on his inside, with Paul Young’s Bubbly Bluebird pacing up on his outside into the turn. Hitting the bend in front, Hutton’s star kicked on down the far side and held Droopys Buick and the rallying Bubbly Bluebird by half a length and the same in 29.61sec.


“It was a fantastic race, one of the best I’ve been between three top-quality performers,” said Nottingham general manager Dave Baldwin. “They went on from the others, and weren't stopping! Buick runs Nottingham so well, so it was a great effort for Wildcat to beat him, and look where Bubbly Bluebird was - on their heels.


“I’d love to see them all back here for the Eclipse, and naturally would love to see Murrys Act, Newinn Shadow and Dorotas Woo Hoo back here too. They played their part in a great line-up, and we thank Betfred once again for backing the meeting - particularly their efforts behind the Select Stakes and Select Stayers.”


Baldwin had travelled to Betfred’s Manchester base to oversee the draw, which was broadcast live to the company’s betting shops last week, and Mark Pearson, Betfred’s head of media, was full of praise for the Corden family-run track, which has staged the Select Stakes for over 20 years now, commenting:


“Dave was great and accommodating as ever - he puts a lot of work into the night and it’s appreciated - and well done to the Greyhound Writers’ Association for selecting a great field. It was disappointing not to see the Derby winner Astute Missile here, but we wish him a speedy recovery from injury.”


For his part, Hutton and partner and assistant Donna Witchells were overjoyed. “He’s the best we’ve had,” said Witchells, “an absolute star - my best friend! He’s a joy to have in the kennel and after the disappointment of the Derby, it’s great for him to have won the Derby Plate and now the Select Stakes.”


Hutton, proudly holding the trophy he is allowed to keep and share with owner Usher for a year, added: “The Select Stakes is a prestigious race we’ve always wanted to win of course, although more than that it’s about having a runner in the first place - you’ve got to earn it! But we’re delighted and we’ve got to go to Ireland now.”


Hutton confirmed that Dorotas Wildcat will now trial at Shelbourne Park next week with the BoyleSports Irish Derby very much on the cards - “it’s a no-brainer with a dog of his ability” -  which excites part-owner Usher, who made the trip down from Scotland to see the two-year-old continue his excellent 2017.


“Tonight has been brilliant,” said Usher, who owned former open-race star Rossacredibility with Charlie Lister and has had runners in Ireland also, added: “Kevin and his team have done a fantastic job and, with more luck, he’d have gone further in the Derby. But that’s behind us now, he’s shown his class, and we’re now looking forward to Shelbourne. With a dog of his ability, you’ve got to have a go!


“I’ve been in dogs for 40 years and he’s the best I’ve had by a long way,” added Usher. “To have a runner in the Irish Derby final would be a dream come true, but we know you need luck along the way - he didn’t have that in the second round of the Derby - it’s essential. But ability-wise he's right up there and Kevin and Donna have played a blinder.”


Hutton paid particular tribute to those behind the Dorotas Wildcat story. “I say thanks and well done  again to Paddy and Margaret Keogh who reared the litter, and always do such a wonderful job, and to Jim Gurney who bred him and sold Wildcat to us. Thanks also to Dave [Usher, part-owner], who’s a great supporter of ours and the kennel. He put his hand in his pocket in the first place - hopefully we’ve repaid his faith.”


Russelena Reggie was also picking up another trophy when winning the chief supporting race, the £2,500 Betfred Select Stayers, in brilliant - and quick! - front-running style for Henlow trainer Jason Bloomfield, his partner and assistant Kelli Windebank and the dog’s proud owner Jack Newland. He was adding to his Crayford Summer Stayers and Towcester Derby Stayers victories.


Pacing up to lead into the bend, Russelena Reggie was always holding Charlie Lister’s Grand Prix winner Cloran Paddy and crossed the line one-and-a-quarter lengths in front in 44.13sec - a time which had clockwatchers purring as the second fastest ever for the 730m distance only behind track-record holder Romantic Rambo (44.11sec).


Trainer Bloomfield said: “He’d run a good trial so we were always hopeful, and he stayed on well to the pick-up at Towester, so while you can never be sure of his stamina - we were pretty confident he’d stay. It’s just great to win another top event and he’s the kennel star for sure. We’re all delighted for Jack (Newland) too.”


For his part, Newland, who used to work for Bloomfield and Windebank but has now taken out an owner-trainer licence himself and had his first open-race winner in Magical Casper at Henlow last weekend, said: “It’s unbelievable, and I’ve got to say a big thank-you to Jason and Kelli who have helped me so much. He’s such a cracking dog - and just so strong in front, What a night!”