FABULOUS AZURRA continued her rich vein of form by setting the fastest time in the heats of the Premarket Pets Blue Riband at Towcester on Sunday.

Trained by Patrick Janssens for owner and breeder Dave Firmager, the August 2019 daughter of Magical Bale and Fabulous Artist faced a clash with kennelmate and Derby champion Thorn Falcon in heat three of the 48-dog Category One event, the first of the new year, but came through the test with flying colours.

Winner of the British Bred Derby at Sheffield last month, Fabulous Azurra followed up her victory over C&D the previous week when trapping in front and never being headed as she crossed the line three lengths clear of the staying-on Thorn Falcon for a Janssens-trained one-two, with Signet Otis (Kevin Hutton) in third. The winning time was 29.32sec (-10).

Aussie Captain, twice a winner at Towcester in December, landed a quickfire double for the Janssens camp in the following heat four as the three-year-old turned a fast start into a first-bend lead and all-the-way success over Lemon Tossy (Jason Bloomfield) and Boca Junior (Kevin Hutton) in 29.56sec for the 500m trip.

The David Mullins-trained ante-post favourite Brookside Richie duly landed the odds in heat eight, albeit was led from the boxes by fast-trapping Savana King (Diane Henry), the eventual third, before riding a bump at the first bend and going to score from BGBF Puppy Cup winner Moments Of Magic (Kevin Hutton) in 30.18sec (-10).

The four-round £10,000-to-the-winner kicked off with Chelms Fred landing the odds over Signet Denver in heat one. The John Mullins-trained runner made it six victories at the Northamptonshire venue courtesy of a slick exit and trap-to-line victory over Kevin Hutton’s dog in a fast 29.40sec (-10). Another Hutton runner Kaiser Kubrick qualified in third here.

The other heats were won by Adam Sear’s in-form Kantoher Jack (29.89sec -10), Mark Wallis’s Drumcrow Brent (29.78sec -10), Kevin Hutton’s Forest Gold (29.66sec -10) and Angie Kibble’s Ballymac Conti (29.76sec -10).

Towcester consultant and spokesman Nathan Corden said: “I thought it was a superb afternoon’s racing with some top performances and plenty of class on show for a competition staged so early on in the year. Of course, our thanks go to Patrick Janssens for the sponsorship via Premarket Pets.

“Overall Fabulous Azurra was quickest. She flew the traps and continues to impress, although it was great to see Derby champion Thorn Falcon run another really solid race here at Towcester. Aussie Captain also looked back to his best, so all in all made it a pretty decent afternoon for Team Janssens.

“You sense there’s plenty more to come from Brookside Richie for what was his first run of the year, while Chelms Fred clearly loves Towcester and the switch to John Mullins has worked well. He’s a really fast dog, as is Forest Gold for Kevin (Hutton). He’s still underrated in my opinion but is a rock-solid professional type.

“Drumcrow Brent is another ultra-consistent sort who generally gets the job done for Mark (Wallis), while I was delighted to see local trainer Adam Sear on the scoresheet with Kantoher Jack in the race in which Lights Out fell, albeit she was reported okay afterwards, which was great. I also thought Ballymac Conti ran superbly well for Angie Kibble, leading home the fancied Candy Man, although he’s still very much a player.

“All told it was a great day for Towcester – and the Cordens! My son James (Greyhound Trader) was a guest on RPGTV, before we both headed off to the City Ground to see our team Nottingham Forest beat Arsenal – and they thoroughly deserved it! Happy days.”

Trap draw and form for Sunday’s Premarket Pets Blue Riband second round heats:

Heat 1: 1. Kirabilly Kathy, 2. Ivy Hill Skyhigh, 3. Kantoher Jack, 4. Forest Gold, 5. Aussie Captain, 6. Drumcrow Brent (w)

Heat 2: 1. Kaiser Kubrick, 2. Savana King, 3. Bryce Canyon, 4. Signet Otis, 5. Fabulous Azurra (m), 6. Swift Addition (w)

Heat 3: 1. Brookside Richie, 2. Chelms Fred, 3. Perfecto Storm, 4. Signet Denver, 5. Boca Junior (m), 6. Candy Man (w)

Heat 4: 1. Sleek By Design, 2. Moments Of Magic, 3. Lemon Tossy, 4. Ballymac Conti, 5. Bull Run Norris (m), 6. Thorn Falcon (w)

Results: https://www.gbgb.org.uk/meeting/?meetingId=380981&raceId=805533