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There’s category 1 action at Monmore Green on Thursday evening with the £7,500 to-the-winner Ladbrokes Summer Stayers topping the card at the Wolverhampton venue.
Four of the runners in this 630 metre showpiece race took part in last month’s William Hill Grand Prix competition at Sunderland but only one greyhound made it to the final, Bombers Bullet, and he came from off the pace to nail the that race’ valuable prize in a thrilling photo-finish.
The Scottish Derby semi-finalist and English Derby finalist has been brilliantly consistent in 2018 and has won both his heat and semi-final of this 24-runner stake. But the Mark Wallis trained Bombers Bullet is no penalty-kick, in fact he has two rivals challenging him for favouritism.
Hayley Keightley’s Roxholme Poppy recorded a competition best of 37.40sec in the opening round and is BetVictor’s 2/1 joint-favourite, while Ela Juliet, still classified as a pup being a September ’16 whelp, is just 5/2.
With so little between the main protagonists on times and with Monmore’s 630 metre trip featuring a short run to the opening bend, much will depend on the draw. Unquestionably Ela Juliet, who is four-from-five since arriving from Ireland, has fared best as she is set to wear the red vest.
With the relatively slow starting Soars Above coming from the two path, Ela Juliet is the one most likely to capitalise from any coming together at the opening bend. However, Matt Dartnall’s pint-sized bitch has more than two lengths to find on her best times and lacks racing experience due to her tender age.
14/1 poke Soars Above, who represents the popular Sheffield handler Barry Draper, has performed admirably to make the final but, rapidly approaching veteran stage, I cannot see a way he can secure victory.
The most probable leader is Roswell Romanov (trap 5), Mark Wallis second string who led his field a merry dance in both heat and semi-final but ran out of gas in the home straight. He’s going to need a long lead and a lot of good fortune.
But for me the prospect of either of this trio prevailing – or the well housed trap 6 runner Jetstream Lynx – depends on their rivals suffering some serious interference as they would surely not beat the principles in a two-dog trial.
Ultimately should either Roxholme Poppy or Bombers Bullet find a clear passage there’s no good reason for them to taste defeat. The question is, which one looks the most likely winner?
Roxholme Poppy is a nimble 27 kilos, wide-running with stamina in abundance. She missed her break badly in the semis (when beaten by Bomber Bullet) and has shown some quirkiness when checking at the traditional 4-bend stopping point at Sunderland (described as ‘checking sough’ amongst race cards comments).
That’s enough for me to side with Bombers Bullet given this greyhound repeatedly shows remarkable track-craft and stunning all-round pace. Naturally the draw could have worked out better for him but if he were drawn on the rails he would surely be trading at even-money.
Bombers Bullet Summer Stayers Classic final (Thursday 8.24pm Monmore) 2/1