GREYHOUND PREVIEW: This weekend it’s Bet365 Hunt Cup semi-finals from Oxford (Friday) plus the semi-finals of the Arena Racing Company Grand Prix at Sunderland (Friday). Meanwhile at Limerick it’s also semi-final time in the €80,000 Kirby Memorial on Saturday- with our 150/1 Ante Post selection still there, Fingers crossed! BARRY CAUL previews all the action.


King Ezra The One to Beat in Hunt Cup Final

King Ezra will be looking to continue a fine 2024 for Liz and Rab McNair when he lines up in the final of the Hunt Cup at Oxford on Friday night. Also, on Friday its semifinal time in the Arc Grand Prix at Sunderland and we are also at the semifinal stages over at Limerick on Saturday evening for the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial. Hove has the opening round of the Brighton Belle this weekend, an event we will look at in more detail as the competition progresses.


Hunt Cup at Oxford

It has already been a fabulous start to the year for Liz and Rab McNair and King Ezra will be looking to add more silverware to the kennel this Friday night by taking the Hunt Cup at Oxford. Ezra turned in a big performance last weekend to see of Golden Palace and has a good draw to work from this Friday, again drawn on the inside of Golden Palace and more importantly Havana Top Note. Top Note recorded the fastest time of the event when making all in his semi stopping the clock in 39:28, some two lengths quicker than King Ezra. The draw does sway it towards King Ezra for me. If he can hold Havana Top Note to the opening turn, he should be able to see off that rival. Tuono Bella (2) does not have the early pace to trouble the middle runners but will be moving well from halfway while Fifty-Nine-drawn in trap one does have some early pace but needs to find a few lengths on the clock to get involved. Lokis Deception (6) has been running well in the event without getting his head in front and may need some luck to get involved. King Ezra (3) Golden Palace (4) and Havana Top Note (5) all have excellent four and six bend form and any one of the trio can make all. Top Note broke the track record a few weeks back when running from the one box. Trap five in the decider is far from ideal and as mentioned previously King Ezra just shades it for me from three.


ARC Sunderland

Three semifinals of the Arena Racing Company Grand Prix will take place on Friday evening at Sunderland with the top two in each heat progressing through to next weekends final. Savana Shay will be hard to beat in the opening semi. A greyhound with a beautiful pedigree he was an impressive winner over the trip last weekend and is drawn to make all here. Knockalton Duza chased Shay home last weekend and still has age on her side. She is a potential improver and could surprise a few at a decent price. Ante Post favorite Coonough Crow is another who runs from the red jacket in the second semifinal This is a bitch in real form, she recently broke the track record over the 664m trip at Central Park and this 640m trip is ideal. She posted 39:26 around here last time out and would be impossible to beat if repeating that sort of run. Aayamza Sydney is always to be feared in these types of events, but he will need to lead Coonough Crow early if he is to come out on top. Savana Jazz will be finishing fastest of all but needs to stay in touch. Greenwell Ange got the better of the reopposing Ballymac Johnjo last time out and this promising stayer has the scope to go even quicker in the coming weeks. Ange is quite lightly raced over six bends and can go on to better things this summer. He turned behind Johnjo last time but can go up much better and it would be no surprise to see him make all and improve on his recent best time of 39:29.


Kirby Memorial at Limerick

Six all important places are up for grabs this weekend as the two semifinals of the valuable Kirby Memorial take place at Limerick. With a winner’s prize of €80,000 qualifying is the name of the game on Saturday. Our 150/1 Ante Post selection Phoenix Tyson is still in there with a fighting chance and hopefully he can make the final. He goes in the second semi, and this looks a real minefield for punters. All six can fly to the corner and it really is impossible to predict. The break is crucial and whatever leads around the opening turn will be odds on to win. Trouble is, I’ve no idea who that will be! In the opening semi Ballymac Patriot may be the one to side with. Its once again wide open but Patriot is going up consistently well and trap two should prove ideal for Liam Dowling’s powerful son of Ballymac Cashout. He runs on strongly and if he were to lead, that should be enough. Epic Chic was excellent in the earlier rounds but needs to sharpen up her starting and her litter brother Barefoot On Fire always runs a solid race and will be hard to keep out of the frame. Good luck to all connections with runners.

Good luck

BARRY.

 


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