By Mark Pierrepont

Remember remember the fifth of November , you might just have witnessed the MSCM Limited Eclipse winner in action.  When the sports leading photographer Steve Nash appears at a track in order to capture images of a trial session, you know that there must be something special in the offing. 

In a trial session littered with superstars and superstar potential , it was the tried and tested Dorotas Wildcat who set the standard with a flying 29.33 (+20).  After emerging unscathed through two comeback open victories at Swindon , team Hutton have now set their sights on gaining compensation for Wildcats defeat in the 2017 running of the then Betfred sponsored Eclipse.

It’s scarcely believable that after taking the lead in last years final , the Wildcat eventually succumbed late to Bubbly Bluebird.  This is a wiser , more experienced Wildcat however and after showing his class to conquer all in this years Star Sports English Greyhound Derby Final, he’s back to make amends for last years defeat in the Eclipse.  On last nights showin , it will take a performance of the very highest quality to deny him.

There is quality amongst the likely entry for the MSCM Limited Eclipse though and plenty of it.  Step forward the Angela Harrison trained Droopys Verve , a Rolls Royce of a greyhound , runner up behind Wildcat in the Derby this year , he has since set new track record figures when landing the Dundalk International before going on to win the ‘North East Derby’ The All England Cup at Newcastle.
This greyhound is something special and a second best time of the session of 29.46 (+20) on what was his first look at this Colwick Park venue firmly places him in the ‘aeroplane’ category.
William Hill Northern Puppy Derby Final winner Droopys Trawler recorded 2980 (+20) for trainer Pat Rosney whilst Droopys Trapper who had been sent off for favourite for that final up at Newcastle recorded 29.83 (+20) on what was his first look at the track for the Harrison team.  Jimmy Wright declared himself very pleased with the performances of both Verve and Trapper , with time to come from Trapper in particular given his running off between the first two bends.
He’ll be much better for the look around.  Other trials of note came from Ballymac Osby in behind kennel mate Dorotas Wildcat , this was Osby’s first look at the track , he will undoubtedly improve and to be beaten just 4 1/4 lengths behind a dog of the calibre of Wildcat was no mean effort.  What Holdem Zidane lacks in stature he more than makes up for in heart.
Having already this year made the finals of the William Hill Classic at Sunderland , The Ladbrokes Gold Cup at Monmore and most recently the William Hill All England Cup up at Newcastle , who’s to say this dog can’t make yet another final for Carol Weatherall and his loyal band of owners.  Maybe this time he might just grab the victory that his consistency deserves.
There were three MSCM Eclipse Trial Stakes on the night.  The first of which was won by Laurence Tuffin’s 2017 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Winner Pointless Pearl.  In fact that victory on the 26th March 2017 was the last time Pearl had emerged victorious before last nights success.
There’s no doubting Pearl has her own ideas about the game but she’s not a bitch that many would want too close in behind.  The second trial stakes saw the betting revolve around last weeks Nottingham winner Knockard Spring and Ballymac Twitter.
I think it’s fair though to say that some people forget about dogs a little too easily in this game and Salacres Vincent serves as a reminder that a greyhounds class is never too far away from the surface.  Having reached the quarter finals of the Star Sports English Greyhound Derby this year , Vincent has spent a little time off the track through injury.
Though his trials hadn’t initially been spectacular , it was plain to see to any dog mans eye that this was a greyhound heading in the right direction.  Needless to say connections were a little surprised to say the least when he wasn’t deemed good enough to be accepted for either of two divisions of an open race at this venue last week.
Last nights run of 30.05 (+20) off the back of a supersonic 4.99 sectional shows that Vincent is well and truly on the way back for trainer Peter Harnden and the team.  The third trial stakes was won by Leyland trainer Pat Rosney’s Newinn Jet.  There is no doubting this black son of Kinloch Brae’s ability but it was concerning that he’d not won since a victory in a heat of the William Hill Puppy Derby up at Newcastle in July.  Last night’s 29.96 (+20) success though was much more like it and maybe he’s just regaining his best form at just the right time.
Next Mondays first round heats promise to showcase the talents of some of the fastest greyhounds in training.  If you can get to the track , watching on television is a fantastic substitute , but there is nothing like watching these great creatures in action live and in person.

DROOPYS VERVE clocks 29.46 (+20) in solo trial over 500m
Nottingham 5th November 2018
Photo: © Steve Nash