After two high-quality rounds of the Sussex Cup we are left with a classy field to compete the final over Hove’s 515m trip on Wednesday the 7th of August. Three of the ante-post favourites have made the final, including our ante-post selection, Express Master. Below, we preview the 6 remaining greyhounds in the competition and give our views on how the race might play out. In the end, there is still a bit of value to be had with Paddy Power in the Sussex Cup.
Trap 1: Teejays Bluehawk – 5/4 William Hill
Teejays Bluehawk will go into the final a worthy favourite having displayed an excellent strong running style to power past some good dogs to victory in the earlier rounds.
Not the fastest from the traps, Bluehawk has had to rely on that strong style with the 480m of Wimbledon proving too short for the dog in the end as he exited at the semi-final stage. The 515m of Hove certainly is a better fit for the Paul Young trained greyhound.
Teejay’s semi-final calculated time of 29:41s is the second fastest of the year around Hove this year and he goes into the competition as the fastest greyhound.
The only potential negative I see is that with this being the final of a major competition meaning that he has to go past faster greyhounds to win. He was impressive in picking up Loughteen Blanco in the semi-finals but would he be able to get past both Blanco and Express Master?
Here is Teejays Bluehawk semi-final showing. He comes from trap 4 but pay particular attention to the way he cuts Blanco’s lead between the 3rd and 4th bends, great pace.
Trap 2: Express Master – 9/4 Paddy Power
Chris Allsopp’s lightly raced greyhound has built his young career on showing incredible early pace with recent supremely fast sectionals around Hove of 4:09s, 4:10s and a particularly eye-catching 4:04s.
Having that early pace is a real benefit in any race but of course more so in an important final where the winner will be walking away with £10,000.
The one time he has been slightly sluggish from the boxes came in the opening round of the competition where he couldn’t get the lead he desires at the first bend, eventually finishing in 3rd, behind Teejays Bluehawk.
That one poorer run can be excused and we have to expect that he will crack out the traps like he normally does and his semi-final performance yielded a fast 29:45s. A repeat of that performance, which can be seen below, will surely be good enough for the victory, regardless of what Bluehawk can do.
Trap 3: Loughteen Blanco – 10/1 William Hill
Loughteen Blanco finished in 2nd in this competition in 2012 and is an all round fantastic competiton dog. He, like Express Master, is a fantastic early paced greyhound who is capable of fast sectionals (see a 4:05s in semi-finals) as well as fast race times.
The problem for Blanco is that it would seem Express Master on his inside should have the beating of him in the early part of the race and, even if he was to lead, he doesn’t seem to be a strong as previously with the full 515m a bit of an ask.
He can be seen leading Teejays Bluehawk in the semi-finals in the video above and, whilst he may not be everyone’s idea of a winner, I’m sure he’ll have a part to play in the outcome of the race.
Trap 4: Teejays Blackhawk – 66/1 William Hill
Teejays Blackhawk has done well to qualify for the final alongside his litter brother in trap one but this final should be too hot for him and the quoted prices of 66/1 give you an idea as to his chances.
He would need a career best performance to get competitive in this race and looks likely to have to come from last place off the first bend.
Trap 5: Longwood Bound – 12/1 bet365
Longwood Bound has looked impressive throughout the Sussex Cup thus far: leading Express Master in the firs round before Teejays Bluehawk picked him up on the line, and then making all to win his semi-final.
He has used nice early pace thus far in the competition but the fear would be that he cannot clear both Express Master and Loughteen Blanco in the early part of the race and the belief is that he needs to hit the front early to win this race.
Longwood Bound backers will be praying for some trouble on the inside from the traps to allow him to fly clear. Check out his semi-final performance in the below video.
Trap 6: Bridge Honcho – 6/1 bet365
The problem with Honcho is his consistency and that makes him unbackable on occasions but he is a classy dog and some people may be interested in backing him at 6/1.
Bridge Honcho flew round in the first round but then missed his break in the semi-finals, and he will need to crack out the boxes in the final with all of the early pace in the race. If he doesn’t his chances are gone.
You can see Honcho running on to qualify for the final in the video of Express Master above.
BetPal followers will be delighted with their 8/1 ante-post price for Express Master now, with him as short 2/1 now, and for those backers I would happily suggest to sit on that bet as they have a great chance.
For those without an antepost bet, I would still recommend backing Express Master at the 9/4 available with Paddy Power as, to me, he looks the most likely winner by using his devastating early pace whilst hopefully Teejays Bluehawk is given too much to do to pick him up.