PRIZE-MONEY totalling £15,000 will be on offer when Sunderland Regal Stadium hosts a full night of racing - centred round the final of the Regal Gold Cup - in front of Sky television cameras tonight.

It is arguably the biggest night since the track re-opened under the NGRC banner 12 years ago, with the entire 12-race programme consisting of open contests.

The highlight will be the final of the Regal Gold Cup, which, says racing manager Jimmy Nunn, is "the most open final we've ever had at the track."

Ladrokes were offering 9-4 the field, though Charlie Lister's El Ronan, the fastest dog in the two build-up races, looks like starting favourite to lift the £5,000 prize.

But the Nottingham-based railer will have to overcome a tricky trap four draw and a fast start will be essential if he is to get his head in front at the first bend.

The other five dogs will all have their supporters, and if there is any early trouble Scottish-based middle-runner Harsu Super, second to El Ronan in the semi-finals, could take advantage of his trap six berth.

But the other finalists - Occhi Gialli, trained by Harry Findlay, Farball (Johnny Seagrave), Cool Glory (Elaine Parker), and Honchos First (David Fragley) - will all be at their best.

Track records could also be under threat as some of the best dogs in Britain challenge for the attractive prize-money on offer.

Last Wednesday night the 828m record was broken in each of the three heats of the Regal Marathon. The old mark of 53.06 secs was set in October, 1995 by Hull long-distance specialist Elteen Heather, but Romford's Heavenly Duchess clocked 52.81 winning her heat.

The record, however, lasted only 15 minutes, with second heat winner Doras Miller winning in 52.46 secs, then Elaine Parker's Let Us Know (52.55 secs) was also inside the old mark winning the third heat.

All three clash tonight, and the record could well go again.

The action-packed programme tonight also includes the final of the Regal Puppy Trophy, when the fast-starting Knockeevan Holli, trained at Romford by Paul Young, will be well supported after a 27.31 secs winning time in its heat, while Kelloe-based Ted Soppitt's Droopys Rhys looks to have a great chance in the Regal Stayers Trophy over 640m after winning by 13 lengths in his heat.

There will be a veterans' open race for dogs over four and a maiden event for greyhounds without an open race victory in a comprehensive programme which is bound to attract one of the biggest ever crowds at the Wearside track.

The television cameras will follow the action for two hours from 8pm, showing seven of the 12 races.

* Footballers Craig Bellamy and Mark Crossley received a cheque for £2,000 and a handsome trophy after their dog, Frisby Forte, won the William Hill Puppy Cup at Brough Park.

The wide runner, trained by Ted Soppitt, overhauled early leader Handy Money to take the lead at the third bend and win by 3 lengths, justifying odds of 4-7 favourite.

Brough Park's 480 track record holder, Over the Pike, was surprisingly beaten by 14-1 outsider Pyrenees Racer, trained by Stuart Ray, after a great start by the railer.