The RPGTV Steel City Cup first round looked set on paper to provide a quality evening of open racing. The actual races didn’t disappoint with some quality performances and one or two shocks along the way.
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Heat 1 saw Angela Harrison’s Droopys Trapper go into traps as 2/1 favourite. Trapper boasted some solid form as a puppy but was eliminated at the first hurdle here when finishing in fourth position. After trapping well enough and hitting the bend in second place , he looked sure to qualify. Trapper never looked to be travelling too well though and eventually dropped out of contention. He’s yet to find his best form this year. It was another Droopys bred dog who ran out a game winner though , the Barrie Draper trained Droopys Wild (2910). After trapping well he was soon in command and made every post a winning one. Though he came under strong late pressure from Patrick Janssen’s Headford Johnny , he held on well by 1/2 length and it does have to be noted that he was still in front as they headed into the pick up. Wild might not have the flashy times of some of his Steel City Cup rivals , but he does have excellent local knowledge and a good will to win once in front. Rod Eccles Small But Deadly took the third qualifying slot. Deadly has won 6 races for Eccles since arriving on UK soil from Cork , including 4 around this venue , he was inconvenienced by the draw in 4 last night , heading rails immediately from trap rise , shuffled to the back of the pack he made eye catching progress through the field once in his preferred rails pitch to eventually be beaten just 1 3/4. Droopys Trapper , Nadurra Dutch and Gazilly Shay were eliminated from the competition.
Heat 2 saw Angela Harrison’s superstar Droopys Verve (2869) sent off a short priced odds on 1/3 favourite. Such odds are generally justified for this classy black son of Louughteen Blanco however and he made easy work of what was a decent enough field. Moving middle from his trap 2 draw , Verve initially bumped with Sharpys Junior. This gave 2018 Brighton Belle winner a glimmer of opportunity to take command of the rail and her supporters at track side gave a brief roar , Verve was having non of it though , he’s one of the best bend runners in training and soon took back command , eventually stretching away to beat the running on Down To The Felt by 3 3/4 with Miscula a further 1 3/4 back in third. This was the fastest heat of the evening , official racing office comments read RlsMid , Ep , Ld1 , however with a MVD OFF BMP START to also be added into the equation , it was some effort and he looks sure to take a lot of beating in this competition. Sharpys Junior , Droopys Heron and Harton Ross were eliminated from the competition.
Heat 3 saw Kevin Boon’s Swan Style (2893) land the spoils by 1/2 length from Gary Carmichael’s Ballymartin Hero. Chances of qualifying for Style looked odds against approaching the line first time , laying marginally in last position. Boon’s March 2017 youngster stays well though and once a gap opened up on the rail he needed no second invitation to steam through into second place and set sail for the pace setting Scottish raider Ballymartin Hero. Swan eventually got there quite comfortably but Carmichael will be happy to qualify with Hero who has been showing good pace in defeat in a few races lately. Jimmy Fenwick’s Lemon Ronald didn’t break the best , was involved in trouble around the first two bends but ran on well to comfortably qualify in third place. Truth Matters , Raise The Stakes and Sparta Oscar (KO1) were eliminated from the competition.
Heat 4 saw Sean Parker’s Lightfoot King (2870) find somewhere near his best form of old as he ran out a 3 1/4 length victor over defending champion Roxholme Nidge. King absolutely flew from traps to take command early. Nidge had missed his kick , looked to move inwards from his trap 4 berth and then flew to the corner. Taking the lead rounding the turn the odds on 1/2 favourite for this heat ran a sublime first two bends and quickly went a couple of lengths clear of the chasing King. Readers of the Greyhound Star will have noted Mark Keightley’s pre-meeting comments though , healthy but not quite 100% fit was the warning and so it proved rounding the final turn. Nidge blew up on his return to competitive racing , King regained the lead and eventually ran out a good victor over the joint ante-post favourite. Parker will no doubt be delighted to see his 2018 RPGTV Scottish Derby finalist run so well and i’m positive that the Keightley camp will be far from disappointed with the effort of Nidge. Lostrigg Freddy a further 2 1/2 lengths back took the third and final qualifying slot. Beaming Mix Up , Droopys Nadal and Plaza Lep were eliminated from the competition.
Heat 5 saw a shock as Seaglass Phantom , third favourite for this competition after scorching to an impressive victory in the Racing Post Juvenile here last week was eliminated in last position. In what looked a very hot heat , all six greyhounds headed into the first bend together. Hayley Keightley’s Roxholme Jim (2898) lay marginally last as they headed across the line for the first time , he looked long odds on to come off worst of the inevitable crowding that was approaching. Jim was having non of it. Showing bravery far beyond his racing experience of just 7 career starts , he stormed through the middle of the pack without a seconds hesitation. From last to first in the blink of an eye , Jim was gone , eventually running out a two length victor over the running on Droopys Expert. The runner up encountered more than his share of trouble and Angela Harrison and the team will be far from disappointed with what was an excellent effort. Daniel Brabon’s classy Trade Fudge used his outside pitch from trap 6 well , skipping round the bend into second place , he was just picked off late by Expert but comfortably beat the remainder. Swift Taxman , Dropzone and the aforementioned Seaglass Phantom were eliminated from the competition.