Droopys Nidge could be the headline act for the forthcoming Ted Lloyd Classic at Sunderland writes Floyd Amphlett.

Hayley Keightley’s hugely popular brindle clocked a ‘fastest of year’ 26.89 (+10) in a trial over the 450 metre Classic course on Wednesday.

It was at Sunderland that Nidge reached his first major final when he beat a certain Droopys Expert in the William Hill Puppy Plate. He has since gone on to land the Romford Puppy Cup and two Steel City Cups, yet incredibly his last run, when KO’d in the final of the Bresmed Northern Sprint was only the 20th race of his career (14 wins).

Next quickest on Wednesday night was Angela Harrison’s Velvet Juliet, with Gary Carmichael’s Ballymartin Hero and Freedom Lord only marginally slower.

The competition closes on Friday with a batch likely entrants scheduled to run in opens at the track that evening before the first round proper next Wednesday.

Joe Frelford who took over the Sunderland racing manager’s job the week before the 2018 William Hill Festival said: “We have had little interest from the southern kennels this time but there are a lot of decent dogs from the North East and Scotland likely to be entered.”