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Dog Racing: Derby hero Hawk back on track at Hall Green.

Byline: By Jonathan Kay

WESTMEAD HAWK is set to make his first appearance since completing back-to-back William Hill Derby titles in a special one-off pounds 5,000 invitation contest at Hall Green on Tuesday, July 4, in support of the Skybet Gymcrack final the same night - live on Sky Sports.

And already the contest is promising to be a real test, with Westmead Hawk's old rivals Fear Me and Mineola Farloe pencilled-in as likely opponents in the 480m feature.

"I spoke to Bob Morton [West-mead Hawk's owner] and he said how keen he was to run Westmead Hawk at Hall Green," said the Birmingham track's general manager, Stephen Rea, yesterday.

"This is where he started off running in graded races and Bob says he classes Hall Green as Westmead Hawk's second home. Of course, he also won the Produce Stakes here last year after his first Derby victory."

Rea is currently in discussions with Skybet over possible sponsorship of the contest, although he stressed it would go ahead come what may.

"It's a great slot for a race like this and fits in well with what Westmead Hawk's connections want to do, being far enough away from the Derby final for him to have a short rest, but before the other big summer races like the Select Stakes.

"The Skybet Gymcrack is always a wonderful race, but this will be the icing on the cake so far as the meeting is concerned. And pounds 5,000 is the sort of prize both Westmead Hawk deserves to be running for and those prepared to take him on should be offered.

"Fear Me, who of course beat Westmead Hawk in the Scottish Derby final but was beaten by him twice at Wimbledon recently, is a confirmed runner, and Sea-mus Graham is very keen to run Derby runner-up Mineola Farloe, although he does have to confirm it with the dog's owner."

Any other connections wishing to nominate their greyhounds for the contest should contact Hall Green RM Rob Coulthard on 0870 840 7331.

A press panel will convene in London on Wednesday, July 5 to pick the runners for the pounds 6,000 Betfredpoker Select Stakes, which takes place at Nottingham on Tuesday, July 18.

Westmead Hawk's connections have already indicated their wish to be included in the famous annual, from which he was a late withdrawal last year.

CAPTION(S):

Top team: Westmead Hawk, pictured here enjoying a well-earned drink with Nick Savva after his Derby final exploits on Saturday, could next race at Hall Green in July
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2006
Words:426
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