Hove Sky Dogs Previews - Sussex Cup
Resident Greyhound trader Ian Magor gives us his thoughts on Tuesday's greyhound races from Hove, live on Sky:
Sizzlers Spirit has hit a rich vein of form at the moment, finishing in the first three in his last twelve races and winning seven of them. He broke Sittingbourne's track record last time out and he is unbeaten in four visits around here.
He is a worthy favourite and has a good draw to work from; it is probably folly to oppose him but connections of Slick Saxon have always believed they have a potential hurdling superstar on their hands and he was travelling well over course and distance earlier this month before getting into all sorts of bother at the third bend.
He has had a couple of confidence-building solo trials since then and could be over-priced if he puts it all together tonight.
Head Iton Jason gave a very good account of himself during the Sussex Cup but he has always struck me as a dog who will struggle to find the right trip. He Went Whoosh only really keeps company with the very cream of six-bend runners and this represents a drop in class for the reigning Cesarewitch champion. He is back on home soil and is a confident selection to lead and win with something in hand.
Kildallon Bound was one from seven in graded company at Monmore but since venturing onto the open race circuit, the black daughter of Head Bound is unbeaten in four outings. A 29.75trial demonstrates that she is capable of better than last week's win in the heats and with a great draw to work from she is another confident selection.
Jimmy Lollie has developed into a truly outstanding sprinter. His defeat of Rotar Wing in the Festival Flyer at Sunderland was one of the best races of the year and he must be a major contender for 'Greyhound of the Year', let alone Top Sprinter.
However, he was only ten spots faster than King Lee last week in their respective heats, and whereas Lollie broke very quickly, Lee was tardy.
After that, Liz McNair's attractive white and black dog unleashed devastating pace to reel in Officer Donagh with some ease. At the prices, and with the draw slightly better for King Lee, he has to be the selection.
We are almost becoming complacent about these clashes between Taylors Riviera and Midway Skipper but we really ought to be relishing every one of them. A month ago I would have probably had Henry Chalkley's fantastic old servant down as a good thing over this extended trip but Taylors Riviera has been staying on much better of late and held Skipper right the way to the drop in their most recent encounter at Sunderland.
I think Ted Soppitt's magnificent bitch is still improving and I see no reason to desert her now, although it has to be said that Midway Skipper tends to run her best races when written off. Droopys Song is an extremely strong dog and makes this very much a race rather than a match.
This is by far the most difficult race of the night and unfortunately the most likely scenario in the race is plenty of trouble going into the first bend. It is impossible to be dogmatic about what the outcome of such scrimmaging will be but Swift Ribena is very pacy into the bend and is likely to move off the rails, thus making things difficult for the rest of the field. A hesitant, small-stakes selection.
Another difficult race in which a case could be made for any of the runners. On the basis that when Tony and Lee Gifkins get a six-bend dog and the penny drops - as it seems to have done with Mustang Beauty recently - they are a combination very much worth sticking with.
Ballymac William has demonstrated admirable battling qualities to go unbeaten so far during this competition but he hasn't shown quite the same scintillating pace as he did when winning the Olympic around here last month. He has a superb win record around here but Deanridge Rage has looked equally in love with the south-coast gallop since appearing to be all at sea around the sharp contours of Sunderland in the recent Classic.
He is well placed to turn handy here and has shown terrific back-straight pace in his two heat wins so far. Ballymac William will present a really tough target but I fancy Dean Childs' dog to be up to the task.