Some of the top greyhounds in training are in action tonight at Newcastle lining up in six first-round heats of the £6,500 ARC Northern Flat.
The star of the show is unquestionably the locally-trained Ice On Fire, who comes out of retirement for local trainer Jimmy Fenwick and it will be fascinating to see how the 2019 Greyhound of the Year gets on.
Does the Fire Still Burn Bright?
There is only one place to start, with Jimmy Fenwick’s Ice On Fire.
He was the antepost favourite for the Greyhound Derby last year before injury struck and then the superstar was retired to stud duties.
But in an incredible turnaround, connections have brought him back to racing after a miraculous recovery and he has sparkled in his comeback trails.
He has moved well in solo trials, however, race conditions and sharing the track with five other dogs is very different and the opening heat at 6.36pm is one for punters to tread very carefully in.
McNair’s Havana Class to Smoke Rivals
The greyhounds take to the sand for heat two of the Northern Flat at 7.09pm and Liz McNair’s recent Laurels winner HAVANA CLASS (
SP) gets the vote as the best bet of the night.
He was sensational at Perry Barr last month and struck gold in a trial stake last week on his first-ever visit to Tyneside.
The powerful fawn has the ability to catapult from the boxes and that, coupled with his blistering early pace, mean’s he is going to take some stopping, making him the dog to beat in the competition with improvement to come as he familiarises himself with the circuit.
Go Faster Stripes
Those clad in the striped jacket of trap six are fancied to fare well tonight at Newcastle, with heats three and four expected to go the way of DROOPYS BACKUP and PACEMAKER TED respectively.
Two locally-trained greyhounds but with very much contrasting running styles, Angela Harrison’s Droopys Backup flies down the back and is a strong runner expected to swoop late, while Tom Heilbron’s Pacemaker Ted has the early pace to blast clear and dominate throughout.
Minglers and Macie Can Strike Gold
The penultimate first-round heat is a tricky contest with very little form over course and distance on offer, but Stuart Tighe’s MINGLERS POPEYE (
SP) kept very good company in Ireland and his qualification trials suggest he is ready to open his account in the UK at 8.27pm.
One of the stars of the show lines up in the final qualifier at 8.46pm as JAGUAR MACIE (
SP) bids to add another title to her already impressive cv.
This powerful bitch trained by former professional golfer Graham Rankin has already bagged the £12,500 Puppy Derby at Monmore and £6,500 ARC Northern Puppy Derby at Newcastle, she can score from trap two in her heat.
She is expected wrestle the inside running rail from Kevin Boon’s Bettys Book and outstay the likely leader Hardy Rebel.
*All odds correct at time of writing