By Mark Pierrepont

The usual mix of early meeting graded races followed by some intriguing opens at Nottingham tonight.

The Greyhound Media Group Maiden Trophy gets underway at 8.07pm.  The dog i’m interested in is the David Pruhs trained Ballymac Tivoli (TREBLE).  It’s interesting that trainer Pruhs and owner Mr R Ball are sticking to open racing with this March 2016 dog , suggesting to me that they believe the dog has talent , despite being well enough beaten in his four career starts to date.  Having now turned 2 years of age , things can’t have been straight forward with the dog for him to be so lightly raced.  He can belatedly get off the mark tonight though in a race that shouldn’t take alot of winning.  Tivoli raced here at Nottingham on the 21st May , he paced up well in a maiden open but absolutely blew the bend in dramatic fashion , his chance already long gone before encountering further trouble at the second bend.  It was a look around all the same that can serve him well tonight.  I fancy him to turn handy before exploding to life down the back straight and finally getting his maiden victory under his belt.
In heat 2 of the Greyhound Media Group Maiden Trophy at 837pm , Dog Mac Arthure (NEXT BEST) , also trained by the shrewd David Pruhs , heads to Nottingham without a trial but he has a touch of class. Finishing third in the final of the 2017 B.I.F National Produce Stakes at Clonmel , he’d previously won a second round heat of that competition in a top class 2841.  He then went on to win his final race on Irish soil , a 2838 win around Shelbourne for the 525 yard trip as recently as the 28th April.  You don’t record those two times unless you have ability.  Purchased by Mr J Gilliar and placed with the aforementioned David Pruhs , this looks a dog to follow over the summer months.  I’d have preferred a draw nearer the middle than his rails position in red , but I fancy that Anna Thompson’s local runner Haggswood Kirk in the blue jacket can prove a useful guide around the opening two turns before Mac Arthure shows his class and asserts down the back straight.

It’s the final of the Carling Black Fruits Trophy at 922pm.  It’s a final full of quality but I made no secret last week of the esteem in which I hold Brinkleys Poet (NAP) and i’m more than happy to stick with him again.  It’s not an easy race but that just means though he’ll be short , he’ll be backable.  He has a good make up on the outside and after producing a top class 4.98 sectional last week despite not being foot perfect at the traps , he’ll want some leading up.  It’s far from inconceivable that there could be some jostling on the run to the turn between the other runners , Russanda Ripley will be looking for middle ground from his draw in red and with the other 4 runners looking for the inside , some degree of crowding is more likely than not. With everything taken into consideration , the path looks clear for Poet to ping out from his trap 6 berth , before putting in another flawless performance for trainer Matt Dartnall , owner Mrs A J Jeal and his growing army of followers.