A stand-out week for Owlerton Stadium gets underway on Tuesday with the three heats of the Queen Mother Memorial Cup , the final which is held on Mothering Sunday.
An oversubscription for the 18 places on offer is a nod to the standard and prestige of this 17th staging of this popular 660-metre contest worth £4,000 to the winner.
Sam Tweed of the Racing Office said: “This is the best quality Queen Mother Memorial Cup field I have ever seen in my time at Sheffield.”
He added: “We have got big-name greyhounds from all around the country coming to have a crack at the top prize, and they will need to be on their toes, because it is a very strong home squad from our attached trainers.”
The renewal gets under way on Tuesday 10 March and a quality card is supported by three heats for the Bresmed Puppy Sprint Cup.
18:56 Bresmed Puppy Sprint Cup Heat 1 (OR) 280m
Home interest in the opening heat centres on trap 2 Swift Wozzy and trap 3 Slaneyside Diver (m) for trainer Elaine Parker.
The dog in the blue jacket out of Godsend and Swift Venom made an instant impression on Owlerton Stadium punters when beating Curryhills Castl at only the second attempt over two bends in November last year to justify the short price of 4/7f. He has yet to win in four attempts in Open race company but a personal best of 16.22 on February 21 puts him in the shake-up here. Traffic at the first bend last time out put paid to his hopes of a breakthrough win but he should go well.
The kennel-mate in the white jacket next door was not disgraced when beaten three-quarters of a length by Old Joe Golden last time out and is also chasing a first win at Open race level. His last competitive win came on January 12 over Tarbrook Storm and this son of Scolari Me Daddy and Jane Of Arc could also be the first to attack.
19:11 Bresmed Puppy Sprint Cup Heat 2 (OR) 280m
Geelo Van George suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Swift America for Russ Warren and the red-hot Newcastle raider Walshes Hill spanning late January and early February but made the most of the red jacket in a trial last time out to beat kennel-mate Geelo Fancy. A time of 16.06 in another trial in early February puts him in the mixer.
Charlie Lister needs no introduction and his Old Joe Golden (m) in trap 3 and Albert Golden (w) in trap 6 both registered wins seven days ago at the venue. Solvitas Brae (m) was beaten in the same race by the latter and will be keen to atone as the sole representative for trainer Barry Draper.
19:27 Bresmed Puppy Sprint Cup Heat 3 (OR) 280m
Home trainers Parker and Draper will cross swords with Tango Jackie (m) and Glenpadden Wood (w) respectively in the final heat, with the bitch in the white jacket out of Black Shaw and Kenny Girl making a first switch to two-bend action since November last year when unplaced. She collected a wooden spoon only last Friday when suffering a bump at the first bend.
The dog in the black and white jacket out of Ace Hi Rumble and Glen Padden Bay arrives back in South Yorkshire off the back of a fruitless recent trip to Monmore and has also not tasted competitive two-bend action since November last year.
Slaneyside Ogie (m) for Romford trainer Maxine Locke collected a four-timer at the venue at the back end of 2014 – including a personal best 16.12 when beating Russanda Peachy by a length and a quarter – so has obvious claims.
20:14 Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial Cup Heat 1 (OR) 660m
Swift Curie in trap 3 for Sheffield trainer Warren has been running out of her skin lately and landed a brace over six bends last time out to collect a hat-trick of wins. She has engaged early on both occasions to make all and the game-plan is unlikely to change here.
Next door is Parker representative Russanda Blue (m) and this daughter of Black Shaw and Ballymac Floss will be bidding for a hat-trick of wins – but first over six bends since January 20 when beating kennel-mate Droopys Gigi for the third straight race by an impressive four and three-parts of a length. Her first success in that sequence saw her clock a personal best of 39.12.
Kinsley raider Lowgate Jasper has run 39.13 and won on four of his last six visits to Owlerton Stadium – three of those over six bends – but was beaten by three and three-parts of a length by Swift Curie the last time they met on February 24.
20:31 Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial Cup Heat 2 (OR) 660m
Prestige finalist Dinzeo for Sheffield trainer Harry Crapper is of obvious interest given his recent appetite for success over six bends at the venue. He smashed Hather George [in trap 2 in heat 1] by over six lengths on February 24 when recording a personal best of 39.06 and will also renew hostilities here with trap 2 Droopys Gigi, who he beat in the same race and on February 3 by half a length. In the middle of those two efforts was a 720m success on February 10.
Black Francis for highly-respected trainer Mark Wallis landed a hat-trick of Open races on home soil in January and has since won at Crayford in the Golden Jacket semi-finals [he could only muster a fourth-place finish in the Golden Jacket final, with Wiki Waki Woo sealing the crown in a time of 44.99] and back at Towcester last time out.
20:47 Stones Bitter Queen Mother Memorial Cup Heat 3 (OR) 660m
Touch Tackle was given the red jacket when running on but ultimately beaten by the aforementioned Swift Curie having been sent off even-money favourite on March 3 and arrives back at Owlerton Stadium from Sittingbourne for trainer Jim Daly for the final heat.
He is up against a number of contenders here, including Droopys Knox in trap 3 for home trainer Parker. She has won four of her last five races – including two wins in the space of seven days over six bends to land a hat-trick in all competitions. She made all on those February 10 and February 17 successes and run a personal best of 39.34 when denying Coolboy Blitz by a neck.