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Greyhounds: Sky swoops to show Hawk live.

Byline: JIM CREMIN

WESTMEAD HAWK's raid on Tuesday's E25,000 Boylesports International at Dundalk is to be shown live on Sky Sports 1 as part of the Skybet Gymcrack gala from Hall Green.

The dog, owned by Bob Morton and both bred and trained by Nick Savva near Dunstable, has been termed a sensation because of his ability to cheat apparently hopeless positions. In last Saturday's William Hill Derby final he trailed the field before surging through to victory in the pounds 100,000 showpiece.

Dave Lawrence, Sky's producer, announced the exciting news yesterday, and said: ``It all started in the bar after the Derby final, when it was pointed out that the Dundalk International is on a Tuesday which coincided with a Sky slot. Few major Irish events are on Tuesdays, so this seemed an opportunity to keep him in the public eye - especially after the way the Hawk captivated greyhound fans during his extraordinary Wimbledon run.''

The Boylesports International is the richest one-off either side of the Irish Sea. Westmead Hawk, who faces the handicap of having never seen the track before, is due to fly in on the day.

Lawrence says Dundalk were receptive. ``I spoke to Jim Martin, Dundalk's chief executive, and he immediately said yes, technicalities permitting. The Irish Greyhound Board have also been most helpful. There is already a broadcast truck at Dundalk to show the race on Ireland's intertrack service to tracks there racing that same night, so it was a question of getting a feed from that. We think it will work.''

The race is to go off at 9.35pm, ten minutes before the Gymcrack. Martin said: ``This is great news for both greyhound racing and Dundalk. We will get a huge crowd here to see the race in the flesh, but this gives a wider audience the chance to participate and we recognise the interest the Hawk is generating. Everything I've read suggests he is special, and this track, with its galloping bends, should suit him - although I personally think Droopys Maldini is a huge threat.''

Skybet's Dale Tempest said: ``I suppose some sponsors might have resisted allowing a rival bookmaker `in', but that would be short-sighted. Everyone's talking about the Hawk and this will increase interest in `our' show. And putting on my Sky hat, it's terrific news - this is a race everyone wants to see.''

Boylesports yesterday cut Westmead Hawk for a second time, and are now 5-4 (from an opening 7-4).

John Boyle, the company's managing director, said: ``We are delighted to be involved in what is arguably the race of the season.

``It is great to see the top dogs come to the top class facilities at Dundalk, the home of Boylesports, to race. We are all looking forward to what can only be an evening of great racing.''

Sky viewers can also look forward to Westmead Hawk reappearing a week later in the Betfredpoker.com Select Stakes at Nottingham.

CAPTION(S):

Dave Lawrence ``great opportunity''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2005
Words:500
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