Pixie can smoke out rivals

Tonight’s programme features the second round of the Kudos Supersprint but the best bet of the night comes in the first semi-final of the Crossfield Kennels Puppy Oaks, where Francie Murray’s Smoke Pixie looks banker material.

The bitch produced a fine display of all-round speed when winning at Shelbourne Park at the start of the month. This is her first run here and that’s certainly something of a concern but she seems a versatile sort, having won at three different tracks in her eight-race career to date. The time she posted on her most recent outing (28.63) would be good enough to ensure victory here and, as improvement is likely, she’s certainly the one to beat.

The first of the four second-round heats of the sprint is an absolute cracker. With four first-round heat winners and one of the fastest greyhounds in the competition to complete the field, something has got to give. It’s really hard to split the principals but Knockglass Billy found trouble at the worst possible time when beaten last week and he can make amends.

Martin Murphy’s dog has blistering early speed and if he comes away running, he can take the bend off Shoemakers Lad. The latter was last term’s top sprinter and is clearly the chief danger.

In the second heat, it’s pretty hard to oppose Shaneboy Spencer, who claimed some notable scalps last weekend. Trap one isn’t usually a great draw in sprints here but the way he slipped up the inner to make a winning start suggests he could make it work.

In the third heat, Larry Mason’s An Tochar Player should be better for the track experience gained last week and will be hard to beat, while Cambushmore ran a fine race in defeat in the first round and can take the final heat.

The final of the Cork GOBA N2-N3 is another smashing race and, for value sake, it could be best to side with Crossfield Queen.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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