With so many major competitions scheduled throughout the year, there will inevitably be fixture clashes – as discussed with trainer Mark Wallis last week – writes Floyd Amphlett.

All things considered, the Open Race Planning Committee seem to have done a decent job in keeping most of the major events separated, though it wasn’t always possible. So the East Anglian Derby and Birmingham Cup Finals are just three days apart. The Kent Derby will be concluded a night before the Steel City Cup.

One of the first clashes is already upon us. Oxford’s Bet365 Hunt Cup for 36 entries over 650 metres is due to start on Friday (The closing date has been held over until tomorrow). Next Friday sees the start of the £12,500 ARC Grand Prix over 640 metres at Sunderland.

While Oxford regulars have seen some fabulous trialstakes in recent weekends, Sunderland’s first offering, set for this Friday, received just two entries.

Assistant RM Wayne McClellan said: “I think Tom Heilbron was planning to bring Innfield Charm and Freedom Ellie, though she is running at Sheffield at the weekend. Gary Hamilton has trialled a couple, but there has been very little southern interest so far.”

Of course, that could change on Friday night when 18 greyhounds exit the Oxford event. The Grand Prix closes next Tuesday.

Nothing is more frustrating for connections that competitions failing to fill so being ‘Calendar-wise’ in terms of closing dates has probably never been more important.

Or perhaps we will see the growth of more WhatsApp groups, as highlighted by Steve Fluin on Sunday. Instead of looking to avoid clashes, trainers may even start arranging them.

Victory leader board

Romeo To Victory (Magical Bale-Fabulous Pearl, Jul 21) currently leads the 2024 open race winner’s list after picking up his eighth success of the year at Sheffield on Sunday.

The Tom Heilbron trained former Towcester D1 runner has been to traps 12 times since the start of the year though Sunday’s 480m win in a dual distance competition was the first over four bends.

Kevin Hutton’s Rioja Maxi (Droopys Sydney-Burgess Maxi, Jul 21) is second on the table with seven wins, though that is from only ten races which includes a current six-race winning streak.

6 wins: Ballymac Taylor, Bettys Jack, Broadway Murty, Clairekeith Remy, Coppice Fox, Dashing Dude, Druids Say Go, Emers Sammy, Quarteira


Thursday: HoveSuffolk DownsSwindon

Friday: Romford

Saturday: Central ParkYarmouth