What exactly is a ‘Performance of the Week’?

It isn’t just about winning times, or sequences, or outstanding pups or pensioners. The question is asked following Saturday’s gala meeting at Hove. On one set of criteria, there is a very good case for making Whats Up Eva the selection on the basis of her landing the Bitch’s Dual Distances Final in 29.91 for the 515m. Only Havana Bale Out (29.80) has gone faster this year. Or the remarkable Havana Class in acknowledgement his versatility in beating some of the best specialist sprinters in training.

Instead, we’re giving it to PGR Regency winner Troy Suzieeq. It certainly won’t be because of her winning time, which let’s face it, is half a second slower than you might expect given the status of the event. Or on the basis that it was simply a £20K Cat One win. No, Suzie is chosen for the guts she showed in refusing to buckle in a buckle. Or in fact, two buckles, firstly with Chelms Cub and then holding off Bombardier.

‘Showing determination and courage’ is a thing!

Looking ahead to next weekend’s Juvenile Final at Towcester, and Havana Lover will go to traps as the fastest semi final winner having clocked 29.25 on Sunday. She will be competiting for the first time as an adult having won half of her 16 puppy races.

The open race circus then moves on to Monmore for the Gold Cup and Stayers Classic. With due acknowledgement for Gougane Jet’s 15.19 sprint run, we can’t look past Signet Ace’s Monmore four-timer as he edges closer to his peak performance. He actually made his racing debut at the track back in June 2020 where he clocked a calculated 28.02.

There were a couple of top class runs at Newcastle on Tuesday including a a 16.68 run from Brookside Richie – just a length outside the sprint clock. Some performance given his injury history and the fact that he is better suited to the 480. But we have to acknowledge the effort of ex-Hove S1 runner Crystal Alice whose 28.31 in the Angel Of The North Final has only been beaten this year by Havana Bale Out (28.21) and Jaguar Macie (28.27).

Meanwhile at Perry Barr, another of the Reynolds team, Matts Malibu produced an outstanding sprint performance to land a D1 in 16.12 for the 275m.

There would have been a very good case for Jura Go Max keeping his Harlow title after a sub 26.00 open race win on a fast Wednesday night surface. But he has simply been outgunned by Lemming Fly (37.71) and Sean White’s puppy Broadway Sugar with a 37.69 run over the 592m course.

Open racing also returned to Kinsley this week and the selection is particularly interesting. Kirabilly Kathy clocked the fastest sprint in more than 18 months. Jim Hayton’s black, who has open wins at Sheffield, Towcester has a PB of 15.82 over course and distance and is a younger full sister to Dam if the Year, Forest Natalee.

Staying with the female sprinting theme, Kincora Beauty’s FOY for Romford’s 225m course lasted just a week before Bodell Frankie shaved three spots off it when completing an impressive four-timer for Michelle Brown.

Huntsman’s Crayford career kicked off with an A5 win on July 17 2021 when he clocked 23.55. On Saturday, he set a new PB when clocking 23.00 for the 380 metres, the fastest time since Punk Rock Doll’s identical time in last year’s Guys And Dolls.

The merits of a 30.05 for Nottiingham’s 500 metres may not seem immediately obvious but Magical Tate’s A2 win was three lengths faster than any other winner on Monday night including another A2 and two opens. There was a slightly different situation at Doncaster where the week’s only A1 was won by Nolas Blueboy in 30.19, but was bettered by some 21 spots on identical conditions 18 minutes later by Lightfoot Tereza.

Saffrons Dash destroyed an A1 field by nearly five lengths on Monday. His 24.25 was clocked on -50. With going allowances taken into account he was just 10 spots outside his own track record. He will now be tried on the open race circuit. Meanwhile ex-SD A2 runner Boulick Lotto showed his preference for sister track Henlow with the third fastest 460 of the year recorded on -10 going.

At Yarmouth, Knighganny Lad seemed set to take the spoils on the evidence of a 27.78 A1 on Monday. But five nights later, in an even better quality top heat that also included defending champ Bakers Baby and the prolific Gracias Lorenzo, it was the exciting youngster Swift Loves who came out on top.

Central Park had two worthy A1 winners this week in Southfield Billy and Decisive Giovanni. On calculated times, Billy has a very narrow edge but Giovanni’s recent form is much superior. In his last 19 races at the track he has 12 wins and three seconds.

For a dog not far off his third birthday, there should be plenty more to come from Sunderland’s Thurlesbeg Rafa. Chantelle McNicholas’ black only has 11 races in his entire career and has won three of his seven to date in England, recently seeing of a field that included Stranger Things and last week’s POW Forever Autumn in a sparkling 27.15.

And finally, the only hound to retain his crown from last week – and in some style too! Elite Dan set a new Swindon 262m track record, some 15 spots inside Signet Mafia’s previous best. That’s seven wins in his last nine outings, on three different tracks for Craig Marston’s black.