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Greyhounds - Racing: Pat Cooney previews return of bet365 Empress Stakes

The bet365 Empress Stakes got underway at Towcester last Sunday with some fine performances on show.

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The headline act Fabulous Azurra duly won her heat in sizzling style, clocking the fastest time of the round for a ninth consecutive win.

She’s going to take an awful lot of stopping in this competition. That being said, the ante-post second favourite Makeit For Waz, a real win machine herself, she won in good style as well in the opening heat and is now sitting at about 4/1 second favourite to win the competition.

Then it’s a 12/1 bar and that shows you just how dominant the main two in the market are.

You could certainly see Azurra and Waz win their heats this coming Sunday. They have avoided each other in the draw, so I’d expect both to be short price odds-on favourites and they really should both be winning and march on into the next round without too much problem.

They should get to the final, and that leaves four other places up for grabs. For a first four places ante-post point of view, what’s got the most realistic chances?

Kennel mates in the race Blackrose Pippa and Droopys Optimal have to be taken very seriously.
I think Pippa may well win her round on Sunday. As for Optimal, she’s got a difficult task to win her heat up against Fabulous Azurra, but I could see her qualifying safely.

Looking further down the road from an ante-post point of view, fine, the big two will get there, but there’s a realistic chance I think that there could be five railers in the final and one middle seed. That middle seed could be Droopys Optimal at around about 12/1. That may make you think there’s value around there.

Of course there are other greyhounds in the competition, railers, middles and wides, who are at pretty big prices. So just have a look through them, as the each-way angle is very much something to pay attention to here.

As for the top of the bill, Fabulous Azurra is around about a 6/4 favourite to win the competition outright. I would expect her to be a short price favourite.

She won from trap 1 on Sunday, and I don’t think that was necessarily ideal for her. I think she is better off in the middle boxes, and she is in trap four this Sunday. So expect fireworks from her again and likewise from Makeit For Waz.

All in all, an enthralling competition that we are just delighted to put our name to and sponsor. I’ll be there on Sunday, I hope to see you there.

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