Roxhill Mystique (Laughil Blake-Bleisce Charm, Jul 16) graduated to another level when landing her first competition, the BGBG Puppy Cup Final at Sheffield on Tuesday.
Drawn orange in the £4,000 decider, the 9-2 chance led up and skipped clear of first bend bumping that pretty much determined the result. The John Marriott pair Porterhouse and Fearsome Ferigno ran magnificently to finish a close second and third with the winner clocking 29.21 on going rated .20 slow for the 500m.
Mystique is from a litter of nine pups bred by Paul Sallis and Ester Driver. To date, six of the litter have won races with Mystique and brother Skyfall Venom – a sprint open and Monmore A1 winner – the pick of the bunch.
Paul said: “That pair have been different from the start. When you arrive at the track, they don’t want to be kenneled or go on parade, they just want to race. The other three were less forward. I believe that you have to be patient with pups and gradually they have progressed and are going through the grades.
“Of the other three, one little bitch was a complete lunatic and was re-homed. Roxhall Minstrel, who is also owned by Robert Morphew, picked up an injury as a pup and began his schooling when the others were already on the track.
“The other litter dog, Skyfall Viper is the ‘silly brother’ of the family but I am confident that he will reach the track when I have finished schooling him.”
Mum Bleisce Charm, a prolific S1/OR winner over six bends at Monmore, is currently in season and heading off to the Droopys Kennel on Thursday with Droopys Cain and Droopys Roddick among her potential suitors.
Paul said: “It is great to see the Breeders Forum doing so much to encourage British breeding and I was thrilled for Robert on Tuesday. I think this litter have surprised some of the owners by how much they continue to improve.
“I have been fortunate enough to work in some top kennels, including with George Curtis and Brian Clemenson, and along the way I have learned that you cannot rush young dogs.
“We won the Winter Derby and Pall Mall with a dog (Drink Up Zorro), who started out in A6 at Hall Green. We won the Produce Stake with Go Go Sonic, who started out in A3 at Nottingham.
“I would also like to acknowledge the Monmore racing office for showing some common sense with these pups. You have to be patient with them and not look to outgrade them or they lose their confidence. All this litter have progressed because they have been graded to do so.