Heilbron’s Hat-trick Chance Is Just One Race Away!


07 February 2024

Trainer Tom Heilbron is eyeing his first Category One hat-trick later this month – and he has two rising kennel stars who can turn his dream into reality at Newcastle Stadium. 

The Trimdon-based handler qualified Madabout Peck and Omuircheartaigh to the semifinals of the £12,500 Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby which takes place at the Fossway venue on Thursday evening.

The competition has been a happy hunting ground for Tom who took out his trainer’s license exactly a decade ago. 

In 2022, he won it for the first time with Freedom Alibi before following up a year later with Links Maverick – who went on to land the Pall Mall and Ladbrokes Gold Cup respectively last summer. 

Now, he’s on the cusp of reaching the Northern Puppy Derby final for a third year running and becoming the first trainer in the competition’s 30-year history to win it three times in succession. 

His team will have to do it the hard way, though, with Madabout Peck and Omuircheartaigh drawn in the same semi final where they must finish first or second to qualify. 

“It’s unfortunate for us, but you can’t help the draw,” said Heilbron. “We have two strong greyhounds still in with a chance, though, and the hat-trick dream is on!”

“Madabout Peck will improve every week and he’s still a real baby learning his trade. Early pace is his strong point, and the moment he’s just struggling to see out the 480m trip – but that will come with time and there’s plenty more to come from him in the future.

“Omuircheartaigh had plenty of pace in Round One and will come on for another look. He gets every yard of the trip with can go a lot quicker than his time from last week, in my opinion.”

Tom’s other runners on opening night – Havana Skater, Links Bomber and Havana Meanie – all finished outside the qualification spaces and made an early exit. 

His semifinal pair will be joined by Velvet Violet, Watermill Emara, Clona Curly and Agile Ange in the night’s opening qualifier at 7.32pm with the second and third semifinals scheduled for 7.49pm and 8.09pm respectively. 

“The disappointment for us was Havana Meanie, who we thought stood every chance of qualifying but finished fourth in his heat,” said Tom. “Competition at this level is always strong so we’ll regroup with him and look forward to Thursday’s semifinals.”

Two non-runners have been confirmed for the semi finals of the Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby. Greenwell Ovett has been withdrawn from semi final two while Velvet Hurricane will not run in semi final three. 

General admission tickets plus trackside and restaurant packages on the night are available to purchase by clicking here. Doors open at 6pm with the first race off at 6.38pm.

Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby Semi Finals:

Semi Final One: Velvet Violet, Watermill Emara, Madabout Peck, Clona Curly, Omuircheartaigh, Agile Ange.

Semi Final Two: Droopys Eunice, VACANT, Ballymac Lineout, Droopys Display, Colliers Brynner, Ballymac Zari. 

Semi Final Three: Coppice Saphire, VACANT, Dunquin Hollie, Bramble Wilson, Tiermana Lucky, Coppice Ella.

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