Curtin gunning for glory in St Leger
Monmore Green trainer Patrick Curtin is full of excitement as he takes Millridge Tanic over to Perry Barr for a £20,000 final this evening.
Curtin is based at Wolverhampton’s home of greyhound racing but makes the short trip up the road for tonight’s Premier Greyhound Racing St Leger showpiece, with Tanic having made it through two rounds of heats in recent weeks.
Seamus Cahill’s Droopys Clue - who made the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers final last month - is the favourite to land the crown in the 710m event but Tanic is as short as 5/1 with bookmakers and could land the whopping prize as Curtin flies the flag for Monmore.
“The make-up of the race could just work in our favour. He could get himself a clear run on the outside, and therein lies our chance,” said Curtin.
“When Tanic came into the kennels, we thought he had the potential to do well over the stayers’ distance. We bought him for that, but it took him a while to get going.
“We always thought staying would be his thing, but he was a bit enigmatic at the start.
“Now he’s won races at different tracks and not been out of the top three for his last 10 or so runs. He’s improved massively.
“There’s been lots of patience from the kennel, from the owners, and now the penny has dropped.
“He’s breaking a lot better now. That was always his Achilles heel. That’s come together well and hopefully it’ll stay that way for the final.”
Tanic’s upturn in form has been a case of patience paying off for Curtin, who has enjoyed a fine record in Category One Open competitions this year.
From four Cat One entries, he has had three finalists and one semi-finalist. He has made solid progress in the graded ranks at Monmore in recent months as well.
“We had a transition year with a lot of young dogs coming in. It took a long time for the kennel to get going, it was probably our slowest start for about a decade, but the last few months have come together nicely,” added Curtin.
“The dogs are progressing and developing well at Monmore on the graded strength, and we’re also doing OK away from the Green in Open races.
“We have a good team here and all the staff have been with us for years.
“To enter four Category One competitions and make three finals and a semi-final, we’re just delighted. I can’t thank my staff enough.”
Meanwhile, it is a full graded card at Monmore tonight with the highlight being the 480m A1 on Race Nine that includes reliable top-class performers Becky The Boo (Gary Griffiths), Barnfield Barra (Kim Billingham) and Evening Shadow (Chris Fereday).
Paul Sallis’ Roxhill Monarch and Brian Thompson’s Vixons Pride are not to be overlooked either as they make the step up in class having both won two races in a row, while promising Brynhall Bocko (Griffiths) is the rookie of the field.