The ‘local hero’ theme might normally be associated with Newcastle, but attached trainer Harry Burton would have been entitled to the tag when he took Jonny Whiskers to Sunderland to land the ARC Classic on Friday night.


There are times when these selections are almost impossible to make. . . then there are the times. . . .like when a British bred pup breaks the track record for the Derby course, that it isn’t so tricky. King Memphis. That is some run, three spots inside Clona Duke’s clock and while the groundsman must take a chunk of credit for the condition of the track, the atmospherics on a November afternoon, with a single digit reading on the thermometer, would surely suggest that there is more to come!


There can only be one selection from Crayford, as there has been most of the year. That is 16 unbeaten over the Crayford 540m course for Laughil Jess following a fastest semi final win in 33.55 (+20). She needed every spot of that to get home by a short head having clocked 33.60 last week and 33.59 the week before. Her PB is 33.49 (+20).


The oldest line of form on the table is the 29.48 clocked a week ago tonight at Nottingham by Newinn Syd. It is 36 spots off of Romeo Command’s quickest over c&d this year, though 30 of those spots might be accounted for by variations in going allowance.


After a couple of months of slow going, Harlow has been running a lot quicker in the last fortnight. On Wednesday, Debbie Hurlock’s Aines Elle clocked the fourth quickest 415 of the year with a 26.17 run. But bearing in mind he is three months short of his second birthday, we think Romeo Cypher’s 26.24 on the same card has to edge it. The quickest run in 2023 is Shinbone Jack’s 26.12 clocked back in July.


At sister track Valley, the fastest hound over the 460m thus far, Glenmalure Flyer, made it two from two though his 28.49 was a couple of lengths slower than his debut. At this early stage, times at the Welsh track seem more on par with a 480, than a 460m trip. You might reasonably expect a hound of Flyer’s calibre to be clocking at least 80 spots faster, if comparing with the only other track with an identical distance, Henlow.


There aren’t too many quicker at Suffolk Downs that Glideaway Bono who will be very short priced to win Thursday’s dual distance final over his favoured 548m trip after landing the four bend version in 23.67. But Jim Daly’s runner was surprisingly outshone on Thursday by 18 month old Notesinurpocket who landed a puppy open in 23.63, the eighth fastest time of the year before a -20 going allowance is taken into consideration.


Dashing Dude further enhanced his reputation when clocking the fastest 262 of the year at Swindon on Thursday. That is five wins and a short head second from six UK outings for Frank Bryce’s 37kg white and black, his 15.18 being just a length outside the clock.


The 2022 Ballyregan Bob/George Curtis Memorial winner Clongeel Ozzie was back over his favourite trip on Thursday in only his third race in seven months. It proved a bit of an argy bargy with Baywatch Bullet before the pair were both mugged by Jacktavern Magic. The Wallis runner clocked 44.54 (N). (Ozzie was an 8-1 chance in a field that included Space Jet last December when recording 44.48 -30).


Coppice Gracie was 21 months old when qualifying into A7 at Newcastle in late August. Since then, she has gone: 2nd, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st. The most recent was an impressive 28.80 (-20) run in A2. Top heat is another step up for Jimmy Fenwick’s runner, but she is amazing Gracie (😫).


Any doubts whether New Destiny would stay – to be honest there weren’t many – were put to bed on Saturday night at Monmore where the MWD Partnership’s Juvenile Classic fourth stepped up to 630 metres and produced the fifth fastest time of the year. The only ones quicker were: Fromposttopillar (37.37), Droopys Clue (37.40), and Cochise (37.53 and 37.61).


Going allowance was a big factor at Romford this week where only one hound, Droopys Try broke 24.00 for the standard. But comparatively speaking, Pennys Oxo’s 13.45 (-10) for the sprint more than matches up. Not a bad effort from John Mullins’ veteran in his 87th UK race. (The FOY is Ballymac Slapup’s 13.20 +20).


It was all about Matt Dartnall at Oxford on Friday where Pall Mall finalist Ivanexile reminded punters how much he loves the place with a 26.76 (-10) run. However, with the Bet365 Challenge Cup on the horizon, Lively Lauren was by far the quickest of the 650m open winners with an impressive 39.75 (-20) work out. The others were won in 40.37, 40.49 and kennelmate Fifty Nine in 40.31 – though all were on -30.


Going allowance also played a major part in the time of another classy stayer. Having been Performer of the Week at Doncaster and Perry Barr in the last fortnight, Barrie Denby’s Ballyhimikin Mel returned to Stainforth on Saturday. Although her winning time was 20 spots slower than Trewmount Fury’s exceptional 41.14 last week, Mel was made the 8-13f in a race where Fury (15-8) finished third and the track was running 20 spots slower.


With no opens this week, Mel’s Perry Barr POW title was taken over by Moyar Brow in the week’s top A1. Dave Welding’s Puppy Classic finalist, knocked 22 spots off his PB with an emphatic four length win over Lakeside Lady in 28.21.


This time last year, Dairyhills Best was running A5 at Perry Barr. But after missing out in last week’s top A2 to Ay Up Frederick, Bev Heaton’s bitch turned the tables in some style with a 27.73 run.


By its standards, a fairly quiet week for Sheffield with nothing breaking 29.00 for the standard, despite the track running well. Closest to it was Distant Tanya completing an A2-A1-A1 hat-trick in 29.02.


Chanceme Jacko was the quickest hound over Yarmouth’s 462m this week. But ask any of the locals what was the best race of the week and they would probably point to Supa Nova’s 27.92 (-10) run on Wednesday. In a race that included Wee Fat Mac and Slider McCoy, Paul Burr’s hound came from fifth to first for career win 24 from 73 races


Being able to play the ‘puppy card’ is always going to an advantage in this column. In the case of Alecs Garden, she didn’t really need it as the 17 month old clocked the fastest time of the day at Pelaw Grange yesterday. Am a bit intrigued though, did she really run qualifying trials back in August?


When it comes to winning percentages, anything above 30% is worthy of note, so Asbo Lenny’s, 15 wins in 35 races resulting in a 42.8% strike rate is well worthy of note. Not only was Paul Donovan’s runner the fastest of the week in 29.50, the second quickest, Miami Patrol (29.58 on Tuesday) was beaten a couple of lengths in Lenny’s A1 win on Sunday.


The last name on the list is Ballyard Shawny who became the fifth hound this week to defend his POW belt. Although Droopys Venus held the advantage on the timer with a 27.32 run on Friday, it was in A2 company on +20 going. Jason Bloomfield’s 4-11fav produced his run in a Sunday night open when stopping the clock in 27.57 (N).