Tuesday night sees the start of the Pinpoint Health and Homecare ‘3 Steps To Victory’ heats (all 480m Flat) and the draw dictates that a number of participants will renew hostilities.
All six of the Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial Cup finalists, including winner Touch Tackle for Jim Daly, return toOwlerton Stadium hoping to stake a claim for a place in the semi-finals on March 31.
General Manager, David Perry, said: “We are once again pleased to be able to showcase the Pinpoint Health and Homecare 3 Steps To Victory to the Sky cameras. This year, with the kind sponsorship from Alan Findlay of Pinpoint, we were able to increase the winner’s cheque to £10,000 – making it the most valuable race in the calendar at Owlerton Stadium.”
He added: “This unique event is one of the most anticipated in the calendar and, as such, always attracts a quality field. This year, with the increase in prize money, the standard has risen and we had nearly 50 greyhounds entered.
“Last year the race was won in style by Ballymac Eske [for Barrie Draper] in what proved to be his last race – and what a way to go out in track-record style [38.61s]. This year’s renewal has a lot to live up to but I am sure come April 7 we will be talking about another fantastic final and, who knows, another greyhound superstar.”
Touch Tackle has not raced competitively since beating Kakantu by three parts of a length to secure the Mother’s Day showpiece and £4,000 winner’s cheque when sent off 7/4f.
He won in the red jacket but gets trap 2 in Heat 5 (21.02) and will lock horns with home representative Final Hawk for trainer Barrie Draper. He was sent off 10/11f on March 3 but suffered from traffic when beaten into third and seven days later the even-money favourite had to settle for another bronze medal after finding trouble at the first corner again.
Mark Wallis makes the trip from Towcester with his Jimmy Nailed On chasing a four-timer in Open race class. He started an excellent run of recent form with victory at Crayford at the end of February and backed it up with a quick 575m double at Romford.
Kakantu (w) was fastest heat winner in the Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial – the time of 38.83s was matched by Touch Tackle in the final – and Kevin Boon arrives back in South Yorkshire with his dog going in trap 6 in Heat 4 (20.47).
He will again cross swords with Prestige finalist Dinzeo (trap 3) for Owlerton Stadium trainer Harry Crapper and Coolboy Blitz (m) for Russell Warren in what is shaping up to be a quality contest.
Worsboro Phantom (w) for Crapper ended a neck behind Dinzeo in fourth in the Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial final and is again handed the black and white jacket in Heat 1 (19.58).
Farneys Cookie (m) in trap 5 turned the tables on Russanda Brax when winning by half a length on March 10 and repeated the trick five days later when making a successful transition to six bends to win the Northern Catering Butchers Race having been sent off 4/6f, so arrives in chasing a hat-trick of wins at Owlerton Stadium.
Lowgate Jasper (w) saw his hopes of victory in the Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial final dashed at the second bend and ended fifth. He gets trap 6 in Heat 6 (21.17) and is joined next door by Russanda Blue (m) for Elaine Parker. She was denied a hat-trick of Open race wins when knocked out of the recent Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial heats in the same race as winner Kakantu and runner-up Lowgate Jasper.
The 6/4f in that same heat, Swift Curie, will contest Heat 2 (20.14) from trap 2 for Owlerton trainer Warren. That defeat brought to an end her hopes of a four-timer on home soil and she will be up against the likes of Russanda Brax (m) in trap 4 and Geelo Midnight (w) in trap 5.
Last year’s Ladbrokes Gold Cup winner Viking Jack (w) goes in trap 6 in Heat 3 (20.31) for Jim Hayton and will look to go one better than a recent second behind Ballymac Mossjoe at the Mother’s Day meeting. The kennel-mate in trap 4 is February 24 winner Lowgate Onyx (m) and Owlerton trainer Parker also sends out Droopys Gigi, who has yet to win from three attempts so far in March.