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Poole is one of the UK’s newer greyhound circuits. It features a fair running track and, allied to great facilities, it provides a great racing experience. So it is bizarre the venue does not stage several major races during the course of the year or attract the top-trainers.
Thankfully Rab and Liz Mcnair have made the long journey down the M3, A31 and A348 with King Elvis – the amazing British-bred greyhound who has landed 33 of his 53 career starts taking multiple competition finals in the process – to contest this month’s £4,000 to-the-winner Golden Crest competition.
Their greyhound, who has started favourite for 21 of his last 22 starts, has rewarded them with fastest-of-the-night victories in the first round and semi-finals. However, it is with a heavy heart I find myself opposing King Elvis in Sunday’s final.
Unquestionably King Elvis is the fastest greyhound in the competition and if I had ante-post vouchers with his pre-competition odds of 2/1 etched on to them I would be reasonably happy. But he is now 4/7 and I believe the true probability of him winning on Sunday is longer than that.
King Elvis was imperious in the opening round, despite no previous experience of this venue he quickly led and streaked away. But there was no sign of his trademark early-pace in the second round when, at odds of 2/7, he lost out on an early duel against Clash and only took the lead at the third bend.
While he went on to score and post the fastest time of three semi-finals, his performance was positively workmanlike to the eye. Certainly a greyhound with so many miles on the clock should not be inconvenienced by a third quick run in 12 days but a close inspection of his form shows Sunday’s final will be the eighth time he will have set foot on a race track in just five weeks.
Of course we are speculating on if or will King Elvis be jaded but there is no disputing trap 6 in Sunday’s 7.46pm final is far from ideal. He is classified as a ‘middle runner’ and on his immediate inner is an exceptionally fast starting Snooty Mary.
A winner of five of her last six starts, Kevin Hutton’s charge is a rapidly improving greyhound and a strict interpretation of semi-final sectional times (where 0.05sec represents a length – unlike 0.08sec after a full race distance) will see her cross the line on the way to the opening bend a full two lengths clear of King Elvis.
Of the three railers in the field Kilcree Diamond also has some fine early dash and with no dog prone to steering a wide course throughout, some kind of coming together at the opening bend looks inevitable. It is King Elvis that will surely come out worse if there is a concertina effect.
Make no mistake I am by no means hoping for a trouble-marred race but if King Elvis is not sharper than he was in his semi-final it is very possible. At 4/7 he has to be opposed and I’m backing a number of his opponents to prevail.
Snooty Mary with her improving profile and electric early pace is knock-out value at 7/2. Clash who went paw-for-paw with King Elvis for a long way in the semi is too big at 14/1. While Bull Run Byte, who has had some amazing weight fluctuations since the start of March is beautifully housed in trap 1, is another likely improver having just her third race of 2019. Throw her in too at 8/1 as a third bet against the ‘jolly’.
Snooty Mary 7/2
Bull Run Byte 8/1