Express & Star

Excitement builds for a classic night

Monmore Green bosses have shared their excitement ahead of the finals of the Ladbrokes Gold Cup and Summer Stayers Classic at the track tonight.

Links Maverick looks the one to beat in the Gold Cup final

An extremely competitive past two Saturdays of racing have seen the Category One Open competitions whittled down to six greyhounds apiece, with the winners of tonight’s star-studded finals each set to bag a cool £10,000.

Those prestigious showpieces will also be supported by the finals of both the Peter Billingham Memorial Trophy and Vixon Contracts Limited Trophy – making for what could easily be considered Monmore’s biggest night of the year.

Stadium manager Paul Mason said: “Well done to all of those who have made the finals tonight. It promises to be a brilliant meeting and, in terms of overall prize money, our biggest of the year.

“The Summer Stayers Classic and Gold Cup are both Category Ones, but we also have the Peter Billingham Memorial, which remembers the late trainer and Hall of Famer – our own Kim Billingham’s dad, of course – plus the Vixons Contracts Ltd Trophy Final, which is backed by another of our trainers in Brian Thompson.

“It should make for another special evening as we look forward to some real high-quality finals. Good luck to the connections of all tonight’s runners.”

The Gold Cup final has home trainer Nathan Hunt flying the flag for Monmore with reliable performer Whitings New Era, who runs from trap two.

Tom Heilbron (Newcastle) has Links Maverick running from trap one, though, and he looks to be the dog to beat having won both of his races on the way to the final. Churchfield Syd (Richard Rees, Hove) is another to keep a close eye on.

The Summer Stayers sees Elizabeth McNair (Central Park) have three runners, with Frompostopillar being the favourite to land the spoils from trap six. Kennelmate Warzone Tom, however, could make it back-to-back Summer Stayers triumphs having come out on top last year, while Droopys Clue (Seamus Cahill, Hove) has been on top form as of late.

The Peter Billingham Memorial is not short of elite-level greyhounds either, with the Mark Wallis-trained Crafty Shivoo going for glory.

Aero Electric, meanwhile, looks to land the Vixon Contracts Trophy for Monmore trainer Richie Taberner having won one of last week’s two semi-finals.

Monmore racing manager Tony Williamson added: “The level of racing leading up to the Gold Cup and Summer Stayers finals over the past couple of weeks has been nothing short of exceptional, and we’re excited to see how both of those finals go.

“The heats in both the Peter Billingham Memorial and Vixon Contracts Ltd Trophies were also very strong last weekend, so there’s quality across the board.

“This is always one of the most anticipated nights of the year at Monmore, and this year is no different. We look forward to crowning the winners of all tonight’s finals and wish everyone involved the best of luck.”