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    Thursday Round Up – Week 5, 2024
Thursday Round Up – Week 5, 2024

Thursday Round Up – Week 5, 2024

Predicting the outcome of a 36-runner puppy event is both the easiest and hardest thing to do. The easy part involves studying the form.

For Thursday’s Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby heats, there are only 168 lines of race form among the 36 entries—an average of fewer than five lines per runner. Seven of the participants have never raced before.

However, this is also the challenging part. Puppies, by nature, produce erratic performances, and the least experienced are most open to improvement.

The competition moved from Sunderland to Newcastle in 2010, with Nick Savva’s Wetmead Maldini winning the £8,000 first prize. In recent years, locals have dominated, with four of the last six finals shared between the Heilbron and Harrison kennels.

The opening heat features four local runners, but the betting favorite is Doncaster raider Velvet Hurricane. Based on known form, Phil Barlow’s runner is a class above these. With winning form at Sheffield (28.82 and 28.89) at only 18 months old, he is the 9/1 fourth favorite to win out, making this likely the least testing race he has contested.

The heat with the most experience, 46 lines of race form, features Colliers Brynner likely to start as the favorite. Despite not being the most experienced, Aero Bono, with a prior win over course and distance, poses a strong challenge.

There's a strong Yorkshire challenge here, with Doncaster and Sheffield raiders likely to feature strongly. Good Appeal may have the advantage with course and distance experience.

The UK debut of ante-post favorite Clona Curly raises questions about the three runs. Despite this, it's hard to overlook the 28.25 Cork form at only 18 months old. Maxine Locke's pair, notably Droopys Eunice, may offer better value.

In probably the most competitive race of the night, locally trained Havana Meanie, with course and distance knowledge, is a (narrow) selection. Coppice Sapphire, one for the future, may be affected by age and lack of experience.

Greenwell Ovett has stirred attention in qualifying trials. Winning opens on debut is a tall order, especially under lights. Coppice Ella, a favorite at Oxford, impressed in the Puppy Cup, and the extra 30 meters will suit her well.

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