Northern Puppy Derby – experience not essential
There are only 168 lines of raceform between the 36 entries for tonight’s Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby heats – an average of less than five lines per runner. Seven of the participants have never raced before.
But that’s also the hard part. By their nature, puppies produce erratic performances and the least experienced are open to the most improvement.
The competition was switched from Sunderland to Newcastle in 2010 with Nick Savva’s Wetmead Maldini carrying away the £8,000 first prize.
In recent years, the locals have dominated with four of the last six finals being shared between the Heilbron and Harrison kennels.
The opening heat has four local runners, but it will be Doncaster raider Velvet Hurricane who heads the betting. On all known form Phil Barlow’s runner is a class above these. He has 28.82 and 28.89 winning form at Sheffield when only 18 months old. He was giving age and experience away in the Puppy Derby at Towcester where he went out of the same semi final as Ballymac Lineout. He is the 9/1 fourth favourite to win out and this is probably the least testing race that he has contested to date.
The heat with the most experience, 46 lines of race form compared to the secondmost of 30 lines. Although not the most experienced, Colliers Brynner looks likely to start favourite. If this race was at Doncaster, his form beating Acomb Felix and Onefordotsy would see him start at very short odds. Disappointing trial though. The danger would appear to be Aero Bono who has already won over course and distance and is from an in-form kennel.
A strong Yorkshire challenge in here with the Doncaster and Sheffield raiders likely to feature strongly. Both have course and distance experience but Good Appeal might just have the advantage having learned from a visit in race conditions.
The UK debut of the ante post favourite Clona Curly. Not sure about the 3 runs! It is hard to look past the 28.25 Cork form when he was only 18 months old. But Maxine Locke will fancy the chances with her pair, notably Droopys Eunice who will probably be better value.
Probably the most competitive race of the night; the clue is in the ante post prices. On the basis of course and distance knowledge, the (narrow) selection is the locally trained Havana Meanie. Coppice Saphire is definitely one for the future, but her age and lack of experience might cost her here.
Greenwell Ovett has caused quite a stir in his qualifying trials. It isn’t unknown for pups to win opens on debut, but it is tall ask, particularly under lights. The second favourite clearly has ability but might not be value. Certainly, Oxford regulars have taken Coppice Ella to their heart. The way she gunned down Keefill Maverick in the Puppy Cup at Oxford was hugely impressive and she will relish the extra 30 metres.