Helibron brimming with confidence ahead of Pall Mall Semi Finals

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Newcastle-based Tom Helibron holds two chances of reaching the Stadium Bookmakers Pall Mall final on Saturday night when Oxford Stadium’s most prestigious competition resumes.

The £20,000 prize, which was first run in 1935, returned following an 11-year gap at the weekend with its initial entry of 24 greyhounds cut to 12 after four Round One qualifying heats.

Matt Dartnell trained Ivanexile qualified in the fastest time when stopping the clock at 26.71 seconds – 37.68mph – in Heat Four with other winners including Singalong Stacey (27.21) and Hawkfield Ozark (27.01).

Ante-post favourite Links Mavericks was the other winner on opening night (27.08) for Helibron with kennelmate Links Dasher also qualifying by finishing third in Heat Four.

The pair have been drawn together for Saturday’s Semi Finals where the first three in each race will advance to the Grand Final on Saturday, July 29. But Helibron remains hopeful his top pair can shine when it matters and go one step closer to scooping one of UK greyhound racing’s biggest prizes.

“The pair of them are doing me proud and Maverick’s form at Oxford has justified the decision not to take him to Towcester for the Derby,” said Helibron. “The aim this last eight weeks has been about having him ready for the Pall Mall.

“It’s a great competition and the semi-finals will be hot. The conditions were against both of mine on Saturday (Round One) with them being out-and-gone types. Hopefully we don’t get the same weather in the coming weeks.

“The Dasher pup (Links Dasher) is coming on really well and was game to hang on against Rioja Joey to qualify. We couldn’t be happier with them and we hold a big chance in the competition, albeit you always need that slice of luck.”

Meanwhile local hopes will be pinned on Burford-based Kevin Hutton and his five qualifiers Singalong Stacey, Mustang Ojay, Moments of Magic, Churchtown Annie and Coppice Tenzin.

Racing on Saturday begins at 7pm with doors opening at 6pm and tickets can be purchased either online or on the door. The two Semi Finals are scheduled for 9.12pm and 9.29pm.

Semi Final One – Hawkfield Ozark, Links Dasher, Links Maverick, Milton Noah, Coppice Tenzin, Churchtown Annie.

Semi Final Two – Mustang Ojay, Moments of Magic, Signalong Stacey, Eze, Ivanexile, Salthill Ranger.

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