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Missile back but Bullet fastest in weekend trials



BRUISERS BULLET, the Olympic champion, was the fastest of a number of top-class trialists at Towcester across the weekend as the Northampton venue prepares to kick-start its open-race season with this weekend’s heats of the Astute Electronics Gold Cup over 480m.


Sponsored by the company owned by Derby-winning owner Geoff Hill, the Gold Cup is for 36 greyhounds with six heats planned for Saturday, the semi-finals a week later and the £10,000 on Saturday, March 17. It will be the first four-bend Category One competition of 2018.


Bruisers Bullet led home King Kid by a length in a high-quality trial at Towcester on Saturday, the winner recording a time of 27.87sec (normal) - the same night as the Derby champion Astute Missile (28.16sec) continued his comeback from injury with a terrific workout.


Bubbly Bluebird (27.92sec), Droopys Gold (27.94sec) and Sporting Dave (28.04sec) and King Elvis (28.14sec) were others to impress on Saturday, while Friday saw champion Magical Bale (28.66sec, -60) and Dorotas Wildcat (28.57sec, -60) both put through their paces.


Sunday’s eye-catcher on the trials sheet was Forest West, who recorded 28.74sec (-60), and the latter stands by as reserve for the Racing Post Juvenile at Sheffield next month. However, most of the weekend trialists have the Astute Electronics Gold Cup and Gain/GTA Trainers’ Championship as targets.


These include GBGB Greyhound of the Year King Elvis, whose trainer Liz McNair was delighted with the comeback trial he produced on Saturday when showing trademark early speed - note his fastest of the weekend 4.11sec sectional - before tiring on the run for home.


Rab McNair, the trainer’s husband, said: “I thought both Elvis and King Kid ran really well. Kid gave Bruisers Bullet a good race in their trial, and Elvis’s speed was there for those to see. Both will be entered for the Gold Cup along with King Turbo and King Eden.”


The Gold Cup closes to entries on Wednesday and promises to attract a high-class entry, and most of the leading handlers will be represented given the Gain/GTA Trainers’ Championship follows on Saturday, March 24 where the McNairs will be joined by Mark Wallis, Seamus Cahill, Kevin Hutton, Paul Young and Patrick Janssens.


“Then it’s all roads to the [Star Sports] English Derby with our team,” added McNair, “except for King Turbo it seems. The conditions as they stand rule him out. I understand Towcester have discussed the situation and there’s no movement on it so far, and I’m disappointed with that.


“He was a pup when he had his card marked in hot weather at Swindon. We cannot change that, but does anyone honestly believe we would embarrass our staff and our owners by entering a dog in the Derby which we felt would be disqualified? The answer is no.


“I do feel the old conditions need looking at, and each case looked at individually. We have some quirky greyhounds running in the big competitions week in, week out, and that includes the Derby. Turbo hasn’t done anything wrong since - but he’s not allowed to run. It doesn’t seem right.”


King Turbo clocked a rapid 27.68sec (normal) in a recent trial at Towcester and will head for the RPGTV Scottish Derby at Shawfield. The 480m Classic, won last year by Dorotas Woo Hoo, kicks off at the Glasgow circuit on Saturday, March 31.