The Sky Dogs from Perry Barr on Wednesday evening features Charlie Lister looking for a 6th victory
It's undoubtedly one of the highlights of the entire year as the previous year's top six handlers shoot it out over eight races for the honour of being crowned Betfair Trainers Champion. Last year's event went right down to the wire with Charlie Lister's win in the last leg just enough for him to pip Chris Allsopp, with Mark Wallis close up in third. All three are involved again, alongside Seamus Cahill, Nick Savva and Dean Childs, who is a late replacement for Kelly Findlay.
Lister's record in the event is unprecedented, having claimed the title on five occasions since 2001, including an incredible victory at Sheffield in 2009 when he won six of the seven legs he contested and was second in the other (he had a non-runner in the remaining leg!).
Wallis is twice a previous winner, including in 2010 at Doncaster, when he got up in the last leg to deny who else, but Lister. Nick Savva has won the event three times, although not since 2000, while Seamus Cahill also tasted success in 2008.
But with major chances in at least five of the legs, Charlie Lister looks sure to take all the beating and is a maximum bet. For those looking for a more speculative wager, Dean Childs appears over-priced and rates a cheap back to lay proposition.
19:40 Leg 1 Standard 'D'
Lister can get off to the best possible start with recent recruit Mottos Blue taken to confirm the promise of his excellent trials and can make most. Droopys Loner, narrowly denied in the Arc final, should score well having sneaked into the bottom division.
20:00 Leg 2 Sprint
Former Greyhound of the Year Jimmy Lollie would bring the house down if he can win on his comeback, and it's not impossible given his good record 'fresh' after some useful trials, but Lister's Taylors Ace has also trialed in well and looks well drawn outside rails seeking Lil Risky. Mark Wallis' charge has won his last four starts, but faces a tricky trap four draw.
20:15 Leg 3 Puppies
Charlie Lister could be clear by this stage with virtually unknown youngster Farloe Tango - a close relation to Fear Zafonic and Farloe Reason - set to make a winning debut after an exceptionally fast trial last weekend. Benkaat Blue was unlucky not to finish closer in the Midland Puppy Derby final last week and is not unsuited to a trap five draw.
20:35 Leg 4 Stayers 'B'
Classy Ballymac William bounced back to form at Monmore last week, but faces a tough early battle alongside rails seeking Boherna Bridge and middle favouring Franks Four. Ballintine Molly is well regarded by her handler, but we'll take a chance on Droopys Beano, who has proved effective from trap six in the past and could relish the step up in trip.
20:50 Leg 5 Standard 'C'
Bucks Blade flew round in a trial last week and appears back to his best, and with the added bonus of trap one (where his record is five from six), can add another to the Lister tally. Pennys Viking, unraced since December, boasts a good record 'fresh' but faces a fierce early pace battle with also long time absent Freds Champ. Springbok winner Westmead Melanie needs to step up on her trial as does Dixies Air.
21:10 Leg 6 Standard 'B'
Boher Paddy, winner of the anchor leg for Lister last year, will be hard to beat judged on his defeat of Razldazl Jayfkay in arguably the race of the year so far at Wimbledon. He will need to clear Ballymac Ace, who can go well after a break, but should prove too tough. Strong running Arc third Jazz Apollo has not fared too well in the draw, but should pick up plenty of points.
21:25 Leg 7 Stayers 'A'
Lonely Boy will prove popular after a sharp four bend trial, but has suffered mixed fortunes so far this term and Freedom Cache, recently stepped up in trip, might offer better value after dipping inside the track-record in his recent trial. He will however need to avoid quick starting Mountjoy Orion, who is awkwardly drawn on his outside. Bubbly Swallow is running with some consistency.
21:45 Leg 8 Standard 'A'
Derby winner Taylors Sky could hardly have been better prepared, getting inside the 480m clock in his latest trial, and should seal another Championship win for Lister, if he's not already wrapped it up by then. Sids Dream disappointed in the Arc final, but expect a bigger effort back in trap six here. Blonde Snapper has been mopping up lesser races recently, but comes here without a previous look. Freedom Chief has been beaten only once in seven starts from trap one and can score well.
Bucks Blade 20:50
Taylors Ace 20:00
Boher Paddy 21:10
Mottos Blue 19:40
Freedomn Cache 21:25