Mark Wallis fears that Patchys Kerry may be vulnerable to a stronger stayer in her bid to land the Coral Regency which gets underway at Hove tonight.
In what has been a whirlwind four months the daughter of Blackstone Gene will bid to clinch a third straight Category One title this year, and fourth overall, when lining up in heat five of the opening round of the 695 metre competition alongside kennelmate Billys Bullet.
Despite having won over 714m when claiming the Golden Jacket title at Crayford back in February, the Lakenheath handler believes that the galloping nature of the Sussex track may not work in her favour.
“This will definitely be the hardest competition for Patchys Kerry to win as the 695 metre trip around Hove just stretches her stamina,” said Wallis.
“Firstly she has got to get out and get the lead but 41 seconds is a long way to lead in a race around a track like Hove so she will be there to be shot at if she gets out.
“She will burn off those with early and good middle pace but it will leave the door open for marathon runners coming through late on. It is a competition that favours really strong running dogs that get eight bends, but she is still a class act though and is our lead hope and will be the one they will all be trying to beat.”
As for Billys Bullet, the eight-times champion trainer is hoping he can make it through to the next round after sustaining a serious injury when well fancied for the competition 12 months ago despite airing concerns that he may need the run.
“He is a bit short on fitness as he had a little injury to a toe from his last race which we have been working on so if he gets through he will come on for it,” said Wallis.
“Obviously this was the competition where he picked up his bad injury last year and it would be really good if we could get him through after what happened 12 months ago.”
While Wallis will also be represented by Black Francis, Ribble Atom and Garryglass Pixie he feels that they face an uphill task if they are to make any impact in the event, which is worth £10,000 to the winner. “They are good dogs in their own right but they will find it hard to win this,” said Wallis.
“Black Francis is a good old servant to the kennel, while Garryglass Pixie is coming back off an injury so she will be short of a run.
“Ribble Atom will have no problems getting the trip but she is a real dour marathon stayer and she really needs extreme distances.”
n At Wimbledon tonight, Wallis will put several of his William Hill Greyhound Derby team through their paces in trial races including last year’s Oaks winner Domino Storm.