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BGBF Puppy Cup - Sheffield 500m - £4,000


ROXHILL MYSTIQUE overcame a tough draw on paper to land Tuesday’s British Greyhound Breeders Forum (BGBF) Puppy Cup Final at Sheffield, unleashing a cracking burst of speed to make all in the £4,000 British-bred showpiece at the Owlerton venue.


A home-bred July 2016 daughter of Laughil Blake and Bleisce Charm, Roxhill Mystique was winning for Monmore trainer Paul Sallis and partner Esther Driver, who bred the litter and have seen them win 30 races between them.


“It’s all down to Esther really, she takes all the credit,” he said. “This bitch has gone through the grades at Monmore and stepped up into open class - and has won well tonight considering she had trap five and needed to come away to get across to the rails.


“She actually suffered a slightly cut foot in the heats, which meant we couldn't put the work into her we’d have liked. We thought stamina might be an issue, and to be honest it was - she tired late. She might have won more convincingly without the setback.”


Sallis has earmarked the Produce Stakes at Swindon, the British-bred feature, for Roxhill Mystique. “She might make an Oaks bitch in time, and I reckon will like Hove, but we tend to aim our home-bred pups at the Produce Stakes in their first year of racing.”


Winning breeder and Sallis’s assistant Driver added: “It’s been a while - it’s the first litter I’ve bred in four years - but they’ve all done well and she did great tonight. It’s always good to win a final, but better when you’ve bred the pups yourself.”


Driver reported that the dam Bleisce Charm is due to be mated to Droopys Roddick in the coming weeks. “She was a staying bitch of ours, who ran in open races and came through the ranks at Monmore for us, so it’s extra special for us,” she added.


Roxhill Mystique had trapped in front in the 500m final and was soon in command, taking full advantage as favourite Fearsome Ferigno came together with Lostrigg Zeus off the second bend, which helped the winner race clear down the back.


The John Marriott-trained Fearsome Ferigno rallied well afterwards, while his kennelmate Porterhouse also finished full of running to grab second, finishing just a half-a-length adrift of the 29.21sec (-20) winner to give the BGBF chairman second and third in the final.


“We’d have like to have won of course, but well done to Paul and Esther,” said Marriott. “Their pup has run a great race off the front and mine certainly played their part in a very good final. I think the form will hold up well, and you’ll see all of these greyhounds win opens with luck.


“It helps show how well British breeding has progressed, and I’d like to thank the British Greyhound Racing Fund for their continued support. It enables us to run these British-bred competitions at a number of tracks - giving British breeders opportunities to run their dogs.


“We have a framework of competitions now, and these will hopefully be run at the same time each year. The overall quality is improving all the time - and we thank Sheffield for hosting another fantastic British-bred competition.”