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Dog Racing: 3-1 Cruiser can power home in Festival pups.

Byline: Peter Meldrum Pricewise

THE William Hill UK Festival of Racing continues at Sunderland tonight with heats of three supporting competitions. And punters unable tomake the trip to the Wearside venue need not miss out on the action, as all eight qualifying heats will be screened live into the nation's betting shops.

The open-race action starts at 6.56pm with the first of the Ritchie (UK) Puppy Cup heats over 450m.

Saturday's meeting featured some top-class, experienced greyhounds but nevertheless produced a number of shock results. With a host of inexperienced pups on tonight's card, a similar scenario is easy to see and again any bets should be kept to modest stakes.

Westmead Prince heads the market for this race but has been slightly disappointing since winning the Peterborough Puppy Derby and is value to oppose with Scottish raider Da Attic.

Graham Rankin's dog only got into the event as a late replacement for Royal Warrior but don't let that put you off backing him at 6-1 with Blue Square.

Winner of his sole race in Ireland when clocking a decent 28.98sec at Tralee, he has shown plenty of pace in his qualifying trials and comes into the 'could be anything category' and is certainly worth a pound or two.

Flying Time went particularly well in a trial over the C&D on Saturday and, at the 11-4 chalked up by Blue Square and Hills, is worth backing in heat two.

Meenala Cruiser is my idea of the winner of this event and he must be backed ante-post at the 7-4 offered by Blue Square, Paddy Power and VCbet.

Droopys Bucks, another late reserve, is seen as a hazard to the selection in the third of tonight's heats. But he will need to be something very special if he's to lead up Meenala Cruiser, who has been in irrepressible form recently.

By their very nature, puppy stayers races are difficult to assess and tonight's are no exception.

Nevertheless, Swift Pawnee was desperate when defeated here a fortnight ago and, having proven stays well, looks the one to beat in the Warburtons Family Bakers Puppy Trophy. Ian Aylword's dog is worth backing with Paddy Power for both tonight's heat, for which he trades at 6-4, and at the 3-1 Power offers about him going on to win outright.

The Connolly's Red Mills Oaks is wide open, for which bookmakers are offering 6-1 the field - tremendous value considering it's only a two-round competition.

Mama Chico heads the market and has obvious claims, but the price that catches the eye is the 10-1 Coral and Totesport offer about Blonde Cindy.

Hailing from John Mullins bang-in-form kennels, she is perfectly drawn in the first of tonight's three qualifiers and is expected to charge into the final with a trap-to-line win.

Nervous Sheba, a 3-1 chance with Bet365, Coral and Hills, can take heat two, while Zigzag Princess, who can be backed at 6-1 with Bet365, Hills and Ladbrokes, can make it a clean sweep for red-vested runners.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 16, 2007
Words:504
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