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William Hill Classic - Sunderland 450m - £25,000


DROOPYS EXPERT (pictured), the ante-post favourite, posted the fastest time in the William Hill Classic over 450m at Sunderland on Wednesday - on a night of high-octane action at the north east venue.


Sharing the stage with the William Hill Grand Prix, the Classic heats bookended the meeting and Droopys Expert posted the night’s fastest four-bend time in the sixth and concluding heat.


Pacing up well after a moderate break, Angela Harrison’s runner just edged ahead at the turn and was always in front thereafter as he cut the bend and went on score by two and three-quarter lengths in 26.80sec (normal).


Jimmy Wright, partner and assistant to Harrison, said: “He didn't handle Towcester that well during the Derby and then the Plate, but likes it here. He needs to come away, but we know he’s got a lot of class.


“He had a great battle with Roxholme Nidge in the Puppy Plate last year and hopefully we can get some racing into him now. He had a tendon out at the turn earlier in the year which held him up going into the Derby.”


Incidentally, Wright had news of the kennel’s Derby runner-up Droopys Verve. “He trialled well at Newcastle and will be having a look at Dundalk ahead of the International there. He ran great at Towcester but is still a young dog and hopefully there’s more to come.”


Paul Young and Liz McNair both landed doubles in the William Hill Classic heats, with the former sending out Bubbly Bluebird (26.81sec) and Bubbly Turbo (27.13sec) to land the spoils in heats two and five respectively.


Miriam Young, wife and assistant trainer to the Romford handler, said “They’ve both done it well, but have always seemed to like Sunderland. Turbo made the final of this last year, and Bluebird won the Puppy Plate here two years ago.”


McNair’s double was initiated by Gold Cup winner King Turbo in heat one as he led early to win a trouble-marred race, going clear to win by 27.09sec, while Greyhound of the Year King Elvis (27.27sec) battled well to come through a crowded heat four.


“Elvis showed what’s he about,” said Rab McNair, husband and assistant to the Central Park-based handler. “His will-to-win is fantastic and hopefully we can enjoy better luck here than we’ve had in the past.


“The dogs are in great form. They had plenty of trials here and Turbo flew round, he loves it. Elvis is a middle seed here - it’s a different track to Towcester - but in truth he can run from anywhere. We’re looking forward to the semis now.”


Shawfield trainer Graham Rankin sent out Jaguar Jack (27.08sec) to win heat three, as the March 2016 son of Taylors Sky and Fuerty Flash held off a challenge from Allowdale Bruno at the third bend before drawing clear on the run for home.


Form for Wednesday’s semi-finals: