Seven open races all sponsored by Arena Racing Company are the highlight of the Nottingham card live on RPGTV this evening the first of which is the Sprint Trophy at 7.51pm.
It’s a race which will not take a lot of winning. Ben Reynolds Matts Malibu catches the eye in trap 3. He’s been in decent form of late winning his last two at home track Perry Barr in D2 and most recently D1. He also trialled well here at the end of November when recording 17.96 (+10). That kind of run wouldn’t be too far away from winning a race of this nature but the presence of Barry Denby’s locally trained Penninment Milo drawn to his immediate outside has to be of concern.
Denby’s charge is far from devoid of early pace himself and is sure to be looking for a pitch nearer the rail at the earliest opportunity. That pair could well find themselves doing each other no favours on the run to the turn whilst there should be no worries on that front with Jim Hayton’s Strides Farran drawn on the wide outside in six. Farran reaches veteran status in just a couple of months’ time but retains a level of ability that should see him capable of taking this.
He comes into this race off the back of a short break having last appeared competitively on 21st December when running well and leading for a long way here over 480m until picked up late by the strong running Winetavern Curly. Farran did trial at Kinsley last week and stopped the clock in 15.94 (+5) over 268m which was just 0.15 spots outside the 2018 track record of Roxholme Hat. He can trap out pace up and be gone for home by the time they head off the second bend.
The 8.06pm race is a 500m maiden which can go the way of Colin Wilton’s Panda Blue. A talented local with an almost 1 in 3 winning record having won 11 of his 31 career starts to date. Panda won for the second time in A1 company last time out when running out an impressive 4 1/4 length winner over Sonny in 29.80 (+20). He’s ideally drawn here and can make every post a winning one. Connections do like to avail themselves of the early prices so keep an eye on the market before the odds take a tumble.
The puppies are up at 8.21pm and a very interesting race. I included Easy Shot in my recent ten to follow for 2021 and it would be no surprise to see her winning here but I’m surprised to see her carrying a wide tag. I’m not sure she wants to be drawn this far out and going forwards when in against full fields of high-class opposition I’m not sure it will do her any favours.
That said, being drawn so wide isn’t always a negative in regards to coming away at which point her early pace could soon see her in position to run wherever she wishes. Her trial run last week of 17.96 (+20) was moderate enough for a bitch of this class as was her run to my pick up marker. For that reason I’m going to take a chance that she might just need this first appearance of the year and side with Jimmy Fenwick’s Cold As Ice who is a very high class sort himself and may just have the edge at this stage of the year at least.
Taxman has been a grand servant to connections but he’s been lightly raced for some time now and had little in the way of excuses when leading to the turn last time out before easing significantly and losing his position. He may well be able to run the bend a little better being drawn slightly off the fence in two tonight but I’m siding with Gold Dust who is a bitch firmly on an upward curve and looks set to have another good year ahead of her. She’ll need to be lively at trap rise but if so can pace up well before cutting the turn and setting off for home.
The third and final sprint of the evening at 8.51pm and Geelo Coney who won over course and distance on his last competitive start can give Carl Perry a quickfire double. Coney has trialled over 480m at Sheffield since that last time out win here which from a trapping perspective is a slight concern. Take a chance that he can trap level though and if so should be too good.
Maidens again over 500m at 9.11pm where a chance is taken on Carl Perry’s Geelo Josh to follow up his win in A1 at Sheffield last time out and complete a treble for the Geelo team with success here. Josh has some high-class form in Ireland but isn’t the most consistent of greyhounds. After 5 unsuccessful runs at open level since arriving on UK soil he finally got off the mark when well supported to get the better of top-grade company on home soil.
He didn’t lead on that occasion and visually was quite impressive when coming through the field to win going away by 2 1/4 lengths from Keefill Finn. Hopefully that can act as a confidence booster and a catalyst to further sucess this year and he can take this before reembarking on a full open level campaign.
Dingle Pub has been brought through the grades nicely at Sheffield by Chris Akers improving from A5 to winning impressively a couple of runs ago in A2. He showed good pace to half way here last time and is sure to come on for the look around. He’d be a danger if the selection isn’t at his best.
The best has been saved to last with the 500m standard at 9.26pm. The Chris Akers trained Gymstar Elusive had just hit form when winning a Derby trial stakes over course and distance here in August before connections were denied a chance in the Derby proper with Elusive found to be lame the next morning.
Patience has been shown as Elusive has been steadily brought back to the track with a succession of trials which have been steadily improving in nature culminating in a 29.47 (+50) effort here last week. He’s bound to improve for a run or two of that there is no doubt but I’ll take a chance that he can get to the front early and is forward enough to hold on in the latter stages.
He can’t afford to be tardy at trap rise though with Look Like Power and Churchill Holly drawn to his left and right respectively looking to take his ground if he’s not fluently away from traps.