Maestro must be at his best

On all known evidence Sparta Maestro will be crowned the Billy Mulvaney Jnr and Snr Memorial 600 champion this evening.

The Phil Gough-trained powerhouse is the fastest greyhound ever to cover the testing 600yd trip at headquarters and after a foot-perfect progression through the preliminaries he will start as short as 1-4 to complete his unbeaten run through the stake.

With all that in mind it seems strange to suggest he needs to be at his very best, but that is the case.

There is little doubt he is superior to his rivals, although his superiority is perhaps most evident in the second half of the contest.

With both Noirs Buachaill and Oneco Cool drawn on his inside, Sparta Maestro will need to reproduce one of his better starts if he is to turn in front.

Just seven days ago, the son of Crash and Tinrah Kewell came within inches of being baulked when clearing Noirs Buachaill on the opening turn.

Tonight he must repeat that effort while also negotiating his way around Oneco Cool.

If he does manage to turn in front, there is little chance of him suffering defeat.

It’s hard to see beyond Oneco Cool and Noirs Buachaill for the danger to the odds-on favourite.

On recent form Oneco Cool is most likely to get closest to Sparta Maestro, who is nominated to run out an easy winner.

The remainder of the card is packed with finals and Open races. There will be huge interest in the Billy Mulvaney Junior Memorial 525 where Refuge Of Sinner will bid to get back to winning ways following his shock elimination from the Puppy Derby.

Frances O’Donnell’s dog faces some very promising rivals including Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s exciting puppy, Droopys Carl.

The latter remains unbeaten after two starts and gives the impression he is going to go right to the top of his profession.

He lines out in the red jacket, which should prove ideal, but he is taking a significant step up in class for one so inexperienced and, on this occasion, he may struggle to contain the more experienced Refuge Of Sinner.

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