No it’s not Friday, you haven’t lost three days. It is indeed Tuesday. As I’m on Racing Post TV tonight I’ve decided to expand ‘Rob’s Round Up’ to Sheffield. With the final of the 3 steps to victory on show along with ten other open races there is plenty of enjoyment to be had. With the final of the 3 steps to victory having greyhounds that have not run over six bends before I’ve endeavoured to find out more about one of them. With other greyhounds making their Sheffield debuts and comebacks I’ve found out more about some of them while I was at it.
The showcase race of the night is the final of the Greyhound Media Group 3 Steps To Victory over 660 metres at 8.14pm. For those that are not aware the previous two heats were over 480 and 500 metres. That is what makes this competition so unique and equally entertaining. We are at the final stage and three of the finalists are making their six bend debuts.
The bookmakers favourite for the final is Nadurra Ross and he is one of the three yet to be tried over six bends. The July ’15 whelp is in fine form winning both the heats over 480 and 500 metres. Trained by Shawfield’s John McLachlan the son of
Droopys Jet and Enda Causeway certainly has early pace and if doing what he has done in the previous heats will definitely cause the others problems. If he gets in front as he has been doing he will be hard to catch.
Trainer John McLachlan on Nadurra Ross said: “We are quietly confident he will stay. His run over 500 metres was very strong. To the pickup last week none of the stayers gained on him. Once he gets on the hare he is pretty strong at Sheffield. If he does get picked up it will be in the last ten metres.
“He was unlucky when beaten by Boomtown Actor back in June and came off sore. We were looking to go over six bends at Sunderland with him but he split his web. He has come back really strong and in good form. I would have preferred trap three but trap four is okay. It is what it is. We are looking forward to it.
“He loves Sheffield and Newcastle and after the final we are looking at the Steel City Cup for him.”
Now second favourite for the race Roxholme Ray has been withdrawn, Nadurra Ross is now available best price 6/5 with Ladbrokes. He has early and connections are quietly confident he gets the trip.
Those who follow the open scene down south will definitely have come across Affleck Bolt. Trained by Central Parks Patrick Janssens, the January ’16 whelp won the British Bred St Leger at his home track unbeaten over 640 metres back in June. Over three heats, the son of Kinloch Brae and Ardrine Lunar showed consistency throughout the competition to claim the £4,000 winners prize. Tonight, after a lay off he is back over four bends in a British Bred only race over 500 metres at 7.09pm. Although making his Sheffield four bend debut he does have experience at Sheffield with one run over 660 metres back in March. On that occasion he could only manage fourth place.
Trainer Patrick Janssens on Affleck Bolt said: “I’ve been struggling to find six bend races for him. Romford doesn’t suit him so we have to look elsewhere. We took him to Doncaster for a trial over the 661 metres trip with a view to the St Leger later on but their minor stayers race didn’t fill. We thought we would put him over 500 metres instead to keep him ticking over. He prefers a longer run to the bend and the 660 metres at Sheffield is a bit short for him to the bend.
“We want to get some races into him and he should go well on Tuesday. He is a very classy dog and has been round there before over six bends.
“Trap five is fine for him as there are four railers in the race.”
Paddy Power make Bolt a 15/8 shot and that is worth taking. He is a strong sort and if he gets on the ‘bunny’ will be hard to get passed.
The Sheffield faithful will definitely know Lightfoot Oscar, trained by Sheffield’s Sean Davy. The April ’16 whelp burst on the scene last year winning six from eight. Four of those wins were at Sheffield. Two were over 480 metres and two over 500 metres. The son of Candlelight King and Puma Girl however has not run on these shores this year due to injury. He did have one recent run at Shelbourne Park for the Irish greyhound derby but came fifth in his first round heat. Tonight he is officially back and races in a standard affair over 500 metres at 7.57pm. His recent trial over C&D suggests all is well and it should not be long before he gets back to winning ways.
Trainer Sean Davy on Lightfoot Oscar said: “He has had bits and pieces. We planned to rest him over Christmas after his puppy cup final. We gave him a couple of trials at Sheffield in January and February and were aiming to take him to Monmore for the puppy cup there but he picked up a niggle. We wanted to trial him at Towcester but picked up another niggle at Sheffield but nowt serious.
“We took him to Shelbourne Park for the derby but it was too soon. We were hoping he would get through the first round to give us another week but he didn’t.
“He is fit and ready and is a very good dog. Before we gave him a rest his best race was when he lost the Ryan Holmes puppy cup. He came from an impossible position and almost won. After that race Pat Rosney spoke to me and told me he looked a proper dog.
“He has trap three but that won’t be a problem. He ran from trap five before and made no difference to him. Since coming back though he has started to head to the rails. We hope he will stop doing that.
“We think he gets six bends. We will try him further down the line if he loses a bit of early pace.
“After Tuesday we will aim him for the Steel City cup at Sheffield.”
there has already been movement for Lightfoot Oscar and it is not a surprise. He is available at around 4/5 at the moment and even that feels a bit too big. He is a class act, loves Sheffield and should get back to winning ways tonight.
Trainer Davy has seven runners tonight and on his other six was asked who he thinks has a good chance. To that he replied: “Cibulkova. She is an interesting entry. We think she could get it. She is better than before when we tried her over 900 metres.”
Cibulkova is in the Sheffield Stadium marathon race over 934 metres at 8.13pm.
Slick Sphinx is another of Janssens staying stars to tackle Sheffield tonight in a stayers race over 660 metres at 8.29pm. The April ’16 whelp unlike his kennel mate has not been to Sheffield before. The son of Greenwell Hawk and Droopys Solange does however have proven staying ability with wins at Romford over 575 metres. He goes into tonight’s race in fine form after reaching the semi-finals of the Champions Stakes at Romford over 575 metres. On those performances it looks like he would definitely benefit from further and tonight’s distance and track could suit him perfectly.
On Slick Sphinx, Janssens said: “We entered him for 660 metres. He has been crying out for further. He has been disappointing at Romford. He had good form at Romford but wants further now. He likes it all his own way and at Romford he has been running against dogs with almost four bend pace. He has good early for six bends.
“He will definitely stay 660 metres. If you get him on the bunny he is awesome. If he has to do it the hard way he is not very brave but can move from behind. If he gets in front it will take a very good dog to get passed him.
“I can’t see Sheffield being a problem to him. He should take to the track. He is the only wide runner and could have a chance.”
Paddy Power make Sphinx a 10/3 chance and that should be considered. He has been crying out for further and is perfectly drawn as the sole wide seed.