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Astute Electronics Gold Cup - Towcester 480m - £10,000


DOROTAS WILDCAT (pictured) (28.07sec -10) heads into Saturday’s final of the Astute Electronics Gold Cup at Towcester as the fastest of the weekend’s semi-final winners but, once again, facing a wider draw than would be chosen for him by connections.


Winner of the Derby Plate and Star Sports Shootout at Towcester last year both from trap, the Kevin Hutton-trained Select Stakes champion wore the orange jacket in Saturdays semi-final when making all from fast-finishing Calico Brandy (Carol Weatherall) - and again has trap five in the final.


He tackles three Liz McNair-trained runners in the weekend’s £10,000 decider with a ‘pair of Kings’ winning the other two semis in the form of King Turbo (28.28sec -10) and King Kid (28.20sec -10), with GBGB Greyhound of the Year King Elvis chasing the former home in their semi.


Barricane Tiger, a multiple big-race finalist and 2016 Sussex Cup champion, completes the field for Saturday’s final at Towcester having chased home King Kid in their semi - prompting Mick Livesey, head of racing operations, to look forward to the weekend with great anticipation.


“What a fantastic final we have,” he said. “We have a field chock-full of big-race winners and have got to be delighted with this first running of the Gold Cup. It’s a great sponsorship by Geoff Hill, and I suppose the only disappointment is we don't have his Derby champion Astute Missile in the final.


“He got crowded out at the bend along with Bubbly Bluebird in King Kid’s semi, but the way the latter is running Towcester is just superb. He’s got to have a big chance on the draw, given we expect Dorotas Wildcat to be moving inwards early.


“Kevin Hutton’s dog is just blisteringly fast but needs to trap well to get across, and then might have to get round King Elvis - he’s flying to the bend himself. Then you have the middle speed of King Turbo which is just breathtaking. Liz and Rab McNair have played a blinder.


“They’ve three chances on Saturday of lifting the Gold Cup, but it’ll still take some winning. Look how Carol’s Calico Brandy closed on Dorotas Tiger on Saturday. Well done also to Barricane Tiger, whose trainer Patrick Janssens is one of ‘ours’, of course, along with Kevin (Hutton).”


Three of the trainers involved in Saturday’s final - Liz McNair, Kevin Hutton and Patrick Janssens - also compete in the upcoming Gain/GTA Trainers’ Championship meeting at Towcester on March 24 and Livesey feels the Gold Cup is proving the ideal preparation for their clash with Seamus Cahill, Mark Wallis and Paul Young.


“You can see with what’s going on here and at Romford that Patrick and Kevin’s team is shaping up well. They have finalists in both the Essex Vase and Golden Sprint, plus the Gold Cup, and the McNairs have three finalists here. Until they were withdrawn off-colour, they had five in the Gold Cup semis. Their team as a whole also looks strong.


“We’re looking forward to what should be two super Saturdays here - for the Gold Cup and then the Trainers’ Championship. A reminder that we have supporting opens here for the final this Saturday, plus the traditional Trainers’ Championship lunch on Wednesday, March 21, again here at Towcester


“Each of the trainers involved will each have a table here. We’ll be making the draws for each of the eight races which will make up the Trainers’ Championship meeting that afternoon and look forward to staging yet another fantastic and high-quality meeting.”


Draw for Saturday’s Astute Electronics Gold Cup Final: 1 Calico Brandy, 2 King Turbo, 3 King Elvis, 4 Barricane Tiger, 5 Dorotas Wildcat, 6 King Kid (w).