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Coral Puppy Cup - Romford 400m - £10,000



ROXHOLME NIDGE (above) was the undoubted star of the Coral Puppy Cup first round at Romford on Friday as the Hayley Keightley-trained youngster roared to a new track record in heat five of the 400m competition - and clear favouritism for the £10,000 prize.

Breaking smartly, and racing to a red-hot 3.58sec split, the November 2015 son of Droopys Nidge and Silver Dollar drew right away from his rivals, stopping the clock in 23.26sec (+20), a length inside the previous best which was set during this competition by Barrie Draper’s Eden Star in 2011.

“I always felt that record wouldn’t go in my lifetime, let alone be beaten by one of our dogs!” said Mark Keightley, husband of trainer Hayley. “It was unreal, he never broke his stride throughout. We’re buzzing here, and just testament to the work of Hayley and the team. They’re doing a great job.”

Owned by Martin Green, Duncan Lambie, Claire Williams and Hayley Keightley, Roxholme Nidge was bought by Mark Keightley from breeder Eamon Mackey in Waterford, although, as Keightley explained, the call to offer the Newark-based couple the brindle was seven years in the making!

“I’ve known Eamon for over ten years. To be fair he’s been more a breeder for the field, but said he’d one day have the right dog for me and Hayley - that was seven years ago! He sent over Nidge and Roxholme Hat - so these two have certainly been worth the wait,” joked Keightley.

“We’ve a nice team of owners for him. In addition to Hayley, Martin [Green] was involved with Forest Twilight with us and Duncan [Lambie] had the Roxholmes Ted and Scolari amongst others with us. Claire [Williams] came down to write a blog on Roxholme Magic and said she’d like to be involved - she is now!”

Roxholme Nidge has drawn trap one in the first semi-final back at the London Road venue on Friday and, while the red jacket would not have been Mark Keightley’s first choice for his puppy, he is hoping the inside works well. “The two [Linden Twiggy] could move off, and most of the pace is on the outside, so we’re hopeful,” he said.

The Puppy Cup heats kicked off with victory for Headford Kev over his litter brother Headford Octane in heat one, the pair both trained by Kevin Hutton. It was Headford Kev who broke first and led at the bend on his way to a 23.96sec victory, the winning margin four and a half lengths.

Hutton was to later land a Puppy Cup heat double courtesy of heat four winner Prize Fighter (24.01sec), and that feat was matched by Liz McNair who struck a brilliant double courtesy of British-bred sister and brother Queen Anna and King Elvis, the October 15 littermate by Tullymurry Act and Skate On winning in contrasting styles.

Queen Anna was first up in heat two as she broke smartly and made all in 24.00sec form Sussex Puppy Trophy winner Sporting Dave and hotpot Kilmore Lemon, while King Elvis was forced to come from off the pace as he stumbled on exiting the traps but unleashed a great burst of early pace to lead off the second bend to score in 23.73sec.

Wuheida struck for the locals in heat six with the Phillip Simmonds-trained bitch continuing her fine run with a third win in five starts as the Champions Night Puppy Standard winner again powered through to lead on the run for home to score narrowly from Ballymac Father in 24.00sec.

Semi-final draw and form: