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Greyhound Media Group Puppy Classic - Nottingham 500m - £7,500

 

DROOPYS EXPERT, trained by Angela Harrison, was the quickest of the three semi-final winners in the Greyhound Media Group Puppy Classic at Nottingham on Monday to help set up what should be a tremendous final at the Colwick Park venue on Bank Holiday Monday.

 

After winning the third semi in 29.39sec (+50), the Sunderland Puppy Plate runner-up joined fellow unbeaten finalists Droopys Gold (29.47sec) and Madabout Maggie (29.68sec) in the £7,500 final-to-the-winner decider, which forms the centrepiece of a gala card at Nottingham next week.

 

Droopys Gold, who posted a fastest-of-the-year 29.36sec (+60) in the heats, kicked off proceedings in the first semi as Seamus Cahill’s dog again paced up to lead and made all from Paul Young’s Wildfire Lord, the winning margin three and a half lengths.

 

Madabout Maggie came through strongly to lead at the third bend to win in 29.68sec, eventually winning by three lengths from the Tony Tuffin-trained local hope Bottoms Up, before ante-post favourite Droopys Expert set the semi-final standard in the third semi.

 

Again showing good speed to the bend, Harrison’s dog raced clear to win by five and a quarter lengths from Corren Price’s Vigorous Becca, thus continuing a fine run for both trainers after they landed the main events at Monmore’s Summer Festival last week.

 

Delighted with the performance of the winner, Jimmy Wright, partner of Droopys Expert’s trainer Angela Harrison, said: “It was another excellent effort, especially as he was slightly hampered coming out of the boxes before pacing up to get clear.

 

“He’s coming along really well, but it’s a top-class final on Monday. It will likely be about who leads up, but the standard this year in the Puppy Classic has been superb and they’ll all have to be at their best to win you feel. But we’re delighted where we are with him.

 

“He’s drawn on the inside of the three middle seeds, which suits us,” added Wright, who confirmed that Droopys Trapeze, an impressive comeback sprint winner at Monmore last week after three months off, would travel down with Droopys Expert for a two-bend race on the supporting card.

 

“He’s come back in good form after a long spell off and has always been a classy dog. Droopys Country (Sunderland Classic winner) unfortunately now faces a similar spell off, but hopefully he can return to the track later this year.”

 

Droopys Country will miss a William Hill All England Cup bid, but the Harrison/Wright kennel, plus principal owner Neil Conlon, could be well represented in the Newcastle annual with Droopys Expert and Greyhound of the Year Droopys Buick likely contenders.

 

Droopys Buick will have a fortnight off after his Monmore Gold Cup success last week, but will be trained with the ‘North East Derby’ in mind, and Wright could follow the same big-race path for his star performer as he did last year, which ultimately saw him take the sport’s top honour.

 

“It’s all about him, and whether his form holds up. If it does, as Monmore showed us, he can still compete with the very best. Newcastle and Nottingham (Eclipse) are certainly on the agenda,” added Wright, who is hoping for better luck for Buick at Newcastle this year.

 

“We had to pull him out after the first round of the All England last year - and he was 6-4 favourite to win at the time, so that was disappointing but was the right thing to do, as was the case before the Derby at Wimbledon last year. Hopefully all will be well this time around.”

 

Wright once again praised his staff for their work during this busy period for the Northumberland kennel. “We had a few days away before the Monmore final and the staff did a fantastic job, not just with Buick, but with all the others,” he said.

Meanwhile, amongst rials before racing at Nottingham on Monday, Hayley Keightley’s Roxholme Nidge, the Puppy Plate runner-up, recorded an impressive 17.55sec for the 305m trip with a crack at the Romford Puppy Cup on the agenda for the talented youngster who could also take in the Northern Puppy Derby.

 

 

Draw for Monday’s Puppy Classic final: 1 Madabout Maggie, 2 Wildfire Lord, 3 Droopys Expert (m), 4 Vigorous Becca (m), 5 Droopys Gold (m), 6 Bottoms Up (w).