JONATHAN HOBBS: It’s the final of The Carling Eclipse at Nottingham and a chance for Jimmy Fenwick’s Ice On Fire to throw his hat in the ring for Greyhound of the Year honours.
With wins already in the Puppy Classic over C&D plus the All England Cup at Newcastle, this supremely talented and lightning fast runner lines up a hot favourite for the £6,000 prize and another decent exit and his blistering burst of early pace could settle the issue.
He clocked the fastest time in the semis and is clearly the one to beat with 13 wins from 16 starts. However, with the speed of Plaza Lep inside and Bramble Reggie outside, nothing but a decent start is needed for the Newcastle raider.
The Eclipse Final is supported by a clutch of opens over a variety of distances with a cracking sprint on the card – which counts down to Nottingham’s next major event, the National Sprint, in what has been a busy year for the home of the Derby.
7.52: Jimmy Fenwick is hoping for a good night and sends out Lemon Noah in this 480m open. He showed good pace when winning over C&D last week and could land the Notts double, although clearing Headford Cain is key. The latter gets a better draw now.
Play: Lemon Noah
8.08: Seconds To Mars caught the eye last week for Pat Cowdrill’s kennel. He showed good speed and stamina when catching highly rated Troy Firebird then and could be one to follow. Calzaghe Sonic remains a nice type for Ted Soppitt.
Play: Seconds To Mars
8.37: Headford Maurice (Sue Watson) has run some solid races for his new trainer since being purchased from Kevin Boon and could be the answer to this six-bend contest. The draw suits and his four-bend speed hints at handy enough slot early.
Play: Headford Maurice
8.51: The countdown to the National Sprint continues with a cracking two-bend contest where Troy Bella will be fancied. David Mullins’ runner is top quality and won well last week. However Swift Biscuit (John Mullins) showed pace last week behind Troy Bella and at Romford on Friday and is better drawn now and could go well.
Play: Swift Biscuit
9.06: The Eclipse Final now and Ice On Fire (Jimmy Fenwick) takes some pegging back if leading up. Key will be coping with the speed of Plaza Lep and Bramble Reggie, but his form heading into the £6,000 decider has been top notch. Bramble Reggie (Steve Anderson) is also running brilliantly well and gives the north east a real hand here and will soon be in the picture, as might local star Plaza Lep (Lynn Cook). Brothers King Sheeran and King Dylan give Liz McNair a double chance of glory and are both powerful sorts, as is Forest Alan (Seamus Cahill) – and the Kent Derby winner has been eye-catching twice now behind Ballymac Ambrose in the heats and Ice On Fire in the semis. He’s still come forward, too, and if turning in a pitch must be a real contender. He represents the value.
Plays: Ice On Fire, Forest Alan
9.22: Grogeen Country looks well drawn for Kevin Boon and might reverse form with Forest Mike. The pair had a close tussle over C&D last week, but the switch to the red jacket could help matters. Respect here to in-form and powerful Lemon Ronald (Jimmy Fenwick) and speedy youngster Troy Firebird (David Mullins).
Play: Grogeen Country
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