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Dog Racing: Far too soon to write off Fear, says Lister.

Byline: Richard Birch

CHARLIE LISTER yesterday warned punters not to write-off one-time ante-post favourite Fear Haribo, who locks horns with Phoenix Paddy and Westmead Lord tonight in an absorbing second-round Blue Square Derby clash at Wimbledon, writes Richard Birch.

Since breaking the Shawfield 480-metre track record in the Scottish Derby final on April 14, Fear Haribo has only been seen in competitive action twice - finishing runner-up to Swift Pirate in a trial stakes event and then occupying the same position behind Droopys Tobey in last week's qualifiers.

Lister said: "It's a big night tomorrow, and a very good race. I suppose it's not ideal at this stage of the competition, but we can't do anything about that.

"Fear Haribo is in good form, and I just hope he gets a run. The dog is absolutely fine and can only improve. He's had just two races since Scotland, after all."

Lister added: "The Derby is the big race of the year for us, and we've prepared all the dogs to get better as the competition progresses.

You'll see some of mine with a bit of weight off on Friday and Saturday. We're looking forward to the second round."

The Champion Trainer has high hopes of Farloe Premier, widemargin winner of his qualifier, and seemingly very well drawn in heat two tonight.

"He could be the type to keep on qualifying," Lister said. "He ran well the other night and showed good pace. I've had him since he was a pup, and he's improving all the time."

After a tremendous first round in which Wimbledon's running surface - subject of criticism on account of perceived bias in favour of wides last year - was in super condition and remarkably few of the big names bit the dust, there is a real 'feelgood' factor to the competition.

New sponsors Blue Square, who trimmed Directors Chair from 40-1 into 33-1 yesterday, have undoubtedly played a big part.

"The Derby has gotten off to a flying start and we couldn't have dreamt of a better first round," said Kate Miller, public relations officer for the firm.

"The second round again looks to be a cracker and we have been blessed with some incredible heats."

Blue Square, who still offer eachway terms of one-quarter the odds 1,2,3,4,5 outright, have worked tirelessly to produce plenty of 'speciality' bets on the Derby.

They go evens an Irish-trained winner, 6-1 a Westmead, 8-1 a Droopys and 12-1 a Fear dog emerging victorious on July 7.

In the 'top Irish dog' category, Phoenix Paddy is favourite at 3-1. They quote 7-2 Express Ego, 9-2 Droopys Robinho, 6-1 Loyal Honcho, 8-1 Tyrur Lee, 10-1 bar.

Side Leg, who runs tomorrow, is 2-7 to finish 'top Wimbledon dog', while Blonde Jeannie and Dilemmas Flight dispute favouritism in the 'top bitch' category.

The Dream Dogs competition run by Blue Square in conjunction with the Racing Post is proving popular. "There's been huge interest, and we're thrilled to bits," added Miller.

Entries via the internet close at 7.15pm tonight (postal entries had to be sent by yesterday), threequarters of an hour before the second round commences with a showdown between Jaxerback and Larkhill Jim.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2007
Words:537
Previous Article:Dog Racing: Jaxerback to get even-money Irish off mark in style; Derby Open Check.
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