Funk Factor narrowly outshone some of the country’s leading open racers when landing the fastest first round heat of the GMG Steel City Cup at Sheffield.

Paul Shore’s two year old black made it six wins in eight starts with a 28.60 victory over local heroine Geelo Blissful – the pair meet again in the semi finals. Next quickest, at jst one spot slower, was Roxholme Nidge making a brilliant return from an apparent career ending injury in December.

Funk Factor is trained by Paul Shore who only took out his owner trainer’s licence back in July, though he has a long background in dogs and pigeons.

He said: “I was out of dogs for about ten years but I had dogs on the flaps for many years. Chesterton was my most regular track.

“Brian Thompson was offered the dog by Andrew Delahunte in Ireland and he originally offered him to someone else. They didn’t want the dog and I was at work – I own an electrical and plumbing shop – when Brian asked me if I wanted him for £2,000. He looks a great bargain now.

“He has won two races since I started training him and in my opinion, there is a lot more in the tank. In fact, I think his long term future is over the distance.”

Having been re-bitten by the bug, the Staffordshire based handler has already filled in forms for a professional licece and will have space for 30-40 dogs.

He said: “I probably won’t have that many, but I plan to approach Nottingham and see if I can run a few there.”