Mark Wallis believes that Swift Whirlwind represents his best chance of clinching glory in this year’s Coral Coronation Cup at Romford.
In last week’s heats, the July 2013 dog secured himself a place in tomorrow evening’s semi-finals with a victory by three quarters of a length over kennel-mate Aayamzamodel.
A beaten semi-finalist in last month’s Essex Vase, Swift Whirlwind recovered to win two meetings at Henlow prior to his triumph at Romford’s London Road track on New Year’s Day.
With such form in mind, Wallis has backed the son of Kinloch Brae to book his slot in next Wednesday’s showpiece race.
“Swift Whirlwind ran well last week and he has a great draw in trap six for the semi-finals,” said Lakenheath trainer Wallis, who won the competition in 2014 with the Reel Trickyone.
“If he leads out, he tends to win. If he doesn’t, that’s when he sometimes find it tough to cope.
“But, he has such good pace that he leads at least 70 percent of his races and if he can do that again on Friday, he’ll have a great chance of winning.”
As well as having the third favourite for the title in his ranks, Wallis will also have three other dogs gunning for a place in the final.
Aayamzamodel is due to run in the same semi-final as Swift Whirlwind, while Champions Stake winner Patchys Kerry and Blonde Razor go in the third and final race of the night.
Despite acknowledging that the trio are not as fancied as Swift Whirlwind, Wallis is hoping that at least one of them will be able to spring a surprise.
“Aayamzamodel wants to be close to the rail so trap four is not ideal. The other two are also not in ideal traps, but you never know. Patchys Kerry’s odds in particular are too long,” he added.
“It’s a big competition and one that we’ve done well in over recent years. I’m going into it more in hope than expectation. I’d be happy to get one in the final, but surprises can happen and on their day they can run anyone close.”
As the first major event in the greyhound calendar of 2016, Wallis admitted that victory in the Coronation Cup may go some way to setting him up for a successful year.
“It’s the first big competition of the year, which means there is going to be plenty of attention on it,” he said.
“It’s going to be live on Sky TV and that sort of coverage is also always a positive thing.
“There are no guarantees where the coming months are concerned, but getting a big win early never hurts.”