Three semi finals of the GMG Puppy Classic take place at Nottingham this evening , the first of which takes place at 7.52pm.

Ballymac Defo won his heat last week but his stride didn’t seem quite its usual self throughout the race and it didn’t come as too much of a surprise to see him withdrawn from tonight’s engagement.

As such his trap 4 position will be vacant and the betting is likely to revolve around the inside trio of Newinn Jet , Swift Taxman and Arthur Noodle.  Jet and Taxman faced each other in their heat , from the same boxes.  Neither were quickly away but Taxman soon put his superior early pace to good use and take command of the race by the first bend.  As Taxman began to skip clear, Jet was squeezed up slightly against the rail by Desperado Dan who was edging in from trap 3.

As they came off the second bend Taxman was already gone beyond recall and Jet actually did some amount of running to grab that all important final qualifying spot in third place from Julie Bateson’s Droopys Policy.  Arthur Noodle lines up from trap 3 this evening , this bitch loves it around Nottingham and took her record here to 4 wins from 6 starts when winning her heat.  It’s also interesting to note that she back run a front running Swift Taxman on the 30th July.  This first semi final is sure to be an interesting affair , with even the outside duo of Shoot The Bolt and Blackstone Blue not totally out of it if there were any crowding on the inside , which is far from inconceivable.

The second semi final at 8.08pm see’s ante-post favourite for the competition , the Hayley Keightley trained Roxholme Butt lining up from what looks a plot draw in trap 1.
Butt had enjoyed just a 4 day break between appearing in the final of the William Hill Northern Puppy Derby Final and when winning his heat of this competition last Monday.  All the same he produced yet another gutsy performance to get up close home from the front running Raise The Stakes.  He’s sure to have benefited from a full week between races and looks sure to take a lot of beating this evening.  Blue Trooper , Piemans Cougar , Seaglass Celine, (Incognito – withdrawn lame) and Antigua Boss will all be hoping that they can claim that all important second qualifying slot to progress to next weeks final and it looks like being a good battle for that position.
Semi final 3 at 8.23pm is another 5 runner affair after the withdrawal late last week of Produce Stakes Finalist Raise The Stakes.
Peter Harnden’s local Salacres Barley lines up from trap 1.  This strong running black dog put up another good performance when beaten just 4 lengths in third behind the aforementioned Roxholme Butt and Raise The Stakes.  He didn’t have the clearest of passages around the opening two turns in his heat and from what looks like a good draw in trap 1 tonight with the usually slow starting Droopys Trawler in trap 2 he should put up another good effort.
Droopys Trawler who as mentioned runs from the two box tonight showed all kinds of pace in defeat when a running on second to Ballymac Defo last week.  He was all at sea in the first half of the race but his pace late on was a sight to behold and he took the eye of many good judges.  He should be much better for last weeks sighter and is sure to take a lot of beating tonight , with just a small foot note that the manner in which he was closing down the winner of last weeks heat might have looked a little more impressive than it actually was given that Ballymac Defo has since been withdrawn from the competition lame.
He’s a strong runner all the same and is a danger to all.  Good Lad who lines up from trap 3 tonight produced a promising first run here in the UK for Mark Wallis when running out an early pace always led victor for champion trainer Mark Wallis in his heat.  A 2850 win around Waterford in June had outlined his potential and with improvement to come he rates a danger to all.
Doing A Stretch in 4 and Fizzypop Jet would need to improve on their runs from last week but that’s far from out of the question and they will be hoping that they can take a qualifying slot if there is any trouble on the inside.
It’s an interesting competition with some top class pups on display , good luck to all sets of connections.