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Greyhounds: Dave Clark's weekly preview

Open racing fans are set for another big week of action with the £10,000 bet365 Puppy Oaks reaching the semi-final stage at Towcester on Sunday.

On Friday night, both Romford and Oxford serve up top-class action, with the latter hosting semi-finals of both the Maiden Vase and the Oxfordshire Gold Cup.

As well as the bet365 Puppy Oaks at Towcester over the weekend, the Northamptonshire circuit also stages the £5,000 GAIN Greyhound Nutrition Sovereign Stakes final.

Iconic will only improve

The John Mullins-trained Swift Iconic returned to action following a lay-off with a smart front-running display to land his first-round heat of the Oxfordshire Gold Cup.

Blessed with tremendous early pace, this is a greyhound tailor made for the sharp 450m trip at Oxford and, with improvement expected, he rates a big player in the Category One event.

He made all the running on Friday night in the red jacket of trap one and now switching down the middle to trap four, he is expected to break better and will prove very hard to contain.

The Maiden Derby semi-finalist will need to be on his toes with Winter Derby champion Burnchurch Mick moving inside from trap four, but if trapping smartly he can be away and gone.

This 450m contest at 8.25pm is packed full of early speed with another heat winner, Mustang Sam, also likely to be flying into the bend. 

But it is the versatile and strong-running Master Ten Ten who gets the nod for the forecast and will be staying on best past beaten rivals.

Better draw this time for Woofwoof

Champion trainer Mark Wallis is doubly represented in the other Gold Cup semi-final on Friday night with his Slider Mccoy and Antigua Woofwoof both expected to go well.

However, it is the latter who appeals most after qualifying from an awkward draw last week and he is booked for a smoother early passage.

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Drawn in trap four, he had a rival moving off straight into him on the run to the first bend last Friday but battled hard to overcome it.

He again dons the black jacket at 8.45pm on Friday night and this time can reach the corner unscathed before kicking clear down the back.

Will Mags handle the switch inside?

Antepost favourite for the £10,000 bet365 Puppy Oaks, Ballymac Mags, was hugely impressive when landing her quarter-final contest on Sunday at Towcester.

This week she lines up in the first of the two 500m semis but now has to contend with the inside box and may struggle to hold her pitch.

So often greyhounds switching from a middle berth to the inside at Towcester miss the break and she cannot afford to do that here.

Irish raider Bubbly Bluebelle rates as the main danger and did beat Ballymac Mags in their first-round heat, but the antepost jolly may end up drifting in the betting and is likely to end up a backable price.

Mia can go marching on

Hove handler Seamus Cahill has enjoyed lots of big-race success at Towcester, including the Greyhound Derby and the English Puppy Derby.

His exciting and speedy My Girl Mia was hugely impressive in her Puppy Oaks quarter-final last week and she can follow up with another sublime front-running display in her semi-final.

She has never been led early on in any of her races and this will be another case of catch-me-if-you-can!

Sheffield raider Slaneyside Frend will be better suited by a draw out wide as opposed to her inside pitch last week, Barry Draper's talented lady rates as the main danger.

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