Stirling raider Nadurra Ross was only two spots outside the Sheffield 480m clock with a 27.34 run in the first round of the GMG Three Steps To Victory on Tuesday night – the question is now – does he stay?

John McLachlan’s brindle was soon in command in the opening heat and was never challenged by the 2017 runner-up Swift Hanzel, the winning margin being almost six lengths – first two to qualify.

All six winners broke 28.00 for the shorter four bend course and move up to 500m next Tuesday and the 660m final one week later.

They will include last year’s beaten favourite Droopys Live and recent Summer Stayers Classic winner Ela Juliet and both are drawn against the Scottish runner in a semi with four heat winner.

But trainer John McLachlan who has been backed his dog at 12-1 for £200 in the ante post market remains confident in a dog who has never ventured beyond 500m.

He said: “I am convinced he will stay. In fact we we were originally planning to run him in the Grand Prix at Sunderland but he split a web.

“His mother was a marathon runner and the owners of his litter brother Sir Dancealot are equally sure about their dog.

“I think this is a great competition and I am looking forward to next week. I would love to see him go through to the final.”