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Greyhounds: Locals aim to round off the Arc in style.

WALTHAMSTOW has reported bumper crowds for every round of this year's UK Packaging Arc, and tonight's pounds 5,000 final is sure to follow that trend.

However, with Sky's cameras covering the event, stay-at-home punters as well as track patrons can be assured of an action-packed evening of entertainment.

The Arc first saw the light of day as the Racing Post Arc de Triomphe in 1987. The inaugural winner was John Sherry's local runner Funny Oyster, who obliged at 9-2 in 28.98sec over the 475-metre course.

Indeed, Walthamstow-trained runners landed the first three runnings, with Ken Linzell's Foretop scoring as 7-4 favourite in 1988 before John Coleman's Kilcannon Bullet was returned as the whopping 33-1 winner a year later.

By the time the 1989 Greyhound Derby came around, Kilcannon Bullet's form had improved sufficiently to see him start as 2-1 second favourite in the final, where he finished second to Lartigue Note.

With its early springtime slot in the racing calendar, the Arc soon established a reputation as the season's first reliable guide to Derby form.

Tony Meek's Fires of War reached the finals of both the Arc and the Derby in 1990, and a year later deservedly landed the Arc in 28.82sec, before running in the final of the Derby Consolation three months later.

John Coleman regained the initiative for the local track with a 10-11 win for Bonney Seven in 1993, before Nick Savva decided to take a hand in the proceedings.

There are few worthwhile competitions that have not had the famous Westmead name inscribed on the trophy at some time, and Savva was successful in the Arcs of 1994 and 1995 with two of the finest Westmead runners of recent years, 'Chick' and 'Merlin'.

Westmead Chick was little more then a puppy when she took the 1994 Arc in 28.83sec at a surprising 8-1. However, as her 33.5 kilo frame matured, the star bitch reached the quarter-finals of the 1994 Derby and was eliminated by just a neck before going on to win the Oaks over the same course and distance in December.

In 1995 Westmead Merlin won the Arc in sparkling style in 28.79sec as the even-money favourite.

A few weeks later he reached the Derby semi-finals unbeaten but was then eliminated at odds-on behind Pearls Girl.

Nevertheless, the two Westmeads endorsed the view that Arc form is a valuable Derby pointer with sparkling displays on final night.

'Chick' won the Derby Invitation over 480 metres in 28.75sec, while 'Merlin' clocked 28.67sec when taking the Derby Consolation, which compared with Moaning Lad's 28.76sec in the Derby final.

Last year, the Walthamstow bandwagon got well and truly back on track with a close, but popular, Arc victory for Linda Mullins' Ceekay.

Unfortunately, a second round elimination means that Ceekay will not be defending his title tonight, but with El Loco, First Issue and El Hombre in the field, Mrs Mullins will hardly be too upset!

THE ARC ACES

1998 Ceekay 1992 Murlens Abbey

1997 Blue Murlen 1991 Fires Of War

1996 Coom Cruiser 1990 Brownies Outlook

1995 Westmead Merlin 1989 Kilcannon Bullet

1994 Westmead Chick 1988 Foretop

1993 Bonney Seven 1987 Funny Oyster
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Lennox, Alan
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 9, 1999
Words:535
Previous Article:Value betting: Tale of two dividends tells a story punters should heed.
Next Article:Greyhound ratings: Rocket the danger to 'the Ranger'.


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