Five months ago, Harry Burton made his way to the Sunderland podium having landed the biggest race of his career, the £6,000 ARC Puppy Cup, with Ballybough Mags.

Roll on to last night and the unbeaten Jonny Whiskers went to trap six in the final of the £12,500 ARC Classic. . .

Trainer Harry Burton and the first and third in the decider with March On Larry completing a great night for the kennel.

Harry said: “The draw was a worry out of six and our two came together at the traps. But Jonny isn’t dependent on leading.

“He was sourced out of Galway by Anthony Thompson who is a young guy who really knows his dogs. He and his dad Tony are car dealers in Sunderland but real dog men. They owned the All England Cup finalist Optic Jimmy with me previously.”

Harry wasn’t at the track himself and watched the race on SKY.

He said: “It is partly superstition and also because I was at Newcastle earlier in the day.

He said: “It was right that Carl led him around because he has put such a lot of work into the dog after he returned from a sprained hock. I would also have to single out Billyjo Duncan for all the work she puts in.

“Carl is a Sunderland lad, born and bred, and once again so many of his fans from his boxing days turned up for the presentation which is great to see.

“It was like watching a big horserace where they have dozens of syndicate owners.”

If all goes to plan, Jonny will now return to Newcastle for the PGR All England Cup.

Harry said: “I’m a Newcastle man so that is the one that I would really love to win.”

Despite the joy on the night, Harry admitted to having gone through a really tough patch.

He said: “I have lost three three of my dogs to career ending injuries in the last week. I have 43 racing dogs with 14 to re-home which makes life very tough.”

Meanwhile Racing Manager Joe Frelford reminded the world why he is THE BIG DOG in the Sunderland Racing Office by seeing off the challenge of assistant Dean Kirk in a tipping challenge.

From ten selections, Joe weighed in with FOUR winners: 7-4, 9-4, 100-30 and 13-8. Dean tipped THREE winners: 7-4, 5-2, 100-30. Had you had a £10 bet on each of Joe’s selections, you would have made a profit of £29.58 on the night. Dean would have netted you a £5.83 profit.

Big thanks to both for participating.

Glenn Foot with his grandads Ken (left) & George

It’s semi final stage of Crayford’s Ladbrokes Gold Collar, a competition with its origins at Catford and which is currently celebrating its 90th year.

Our preview includes the thoughts of Racing Manager Danny Rayment with audio files from KSS Syndicate’s Rab McNair who have four left in the event including ante post favourite Havana Lover.

Danny said: “The one that surprises me in here is Minnie Bullet who I believe was trading at something like 40-1 ante post. We know she likes the track having been joint favourite to win the Golden Jacket Final where she finished fourth. She caught my eye in the heats and I think she must have a very decent chance in here. The other notable point is that Dazl Rolex and Bolt Of Wisdom are in opposition for the third time in a row and there was virtually nothing between them last time.”

Dapper Mac is the third heat winner in this semi.

Danny said: “We didn’t see Rab McNair here for about 20 years but he turns up when he has the right sort of dog. It says something about his judgement that he will even bring dogs without a trial and they win first time out. Havana Lover hasn’t put a foot wrong and could lead up on the outside. Razldazl Amanda ran very well in the heats, but may may not have it all her own way on the inside if Moaning Rossi produces one of his better breaks.”

Danny said: “This would have made a good final, particularly for the inside four. Laughil Jess has such a fabulous record here with 15 wins over course and distance; the only time she has been beaten is over 380. But she won’t have it all her own way. The way the draw has worked out, Aayamza Sydney should get a clear run behind her. Jess keeps pulling out more when she is challenged but John’s dog is a real threat. That 33.37 trial was extremely impressive. And you certainly can’t rule out Rab’s two.”

And finally – why Rab is looking forward to his visit