Southfield Code (trap 5 above) looked the part at Monmore
....Southfield Code and Gonzo impress at Monmore....
MONMORE on Saturday warmed up for a looming double-header of big events, which close this Wednesday and start next weekend. The Mark Gilbert-owned Southfield Code put up a hugely impressive fastest of the night run for trainer Kevin Hutton in the second of the 630m trial stakes for the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers.
Zeno had led early but Southfield Code took off to lead going down the back for the second time and then pulled away for an nearly eight lengths win in 37.55sec
Belinda Green's Touchdown Zak had dropped out at the second bend.
Also eye-catching later was Angela Harrison’s Droopys Catch (37.88sec), who stormed through at the sixth bend in the last of the 630 events despite a slow start. King Cash had kicked on from the second turn although favourite Smallmead kept on late to take second. Ballymac Osby dropped out here from half-way.
John Sharp’s Sharpys Rocket (37.79sec) pulled off a 20-1 surprise in the opening 630m when he got up on the line to beat Hutton’s favourite Kingsbrook Glyn by a short-head - and this was after a slow start and third bend crowding too.
King Lennon (37.74sec) led going into the fifth for team McNair in the third 630m after Seans Milly took them along. Killeacle Gus had unfortunately broken down early.
The fourth 630m turned into a slowly run bunched affair with Hutton’s Distant Move (38.28sec) asserting at the fifth for a good win for owner Lee Giltinan and giving his handler a double.
The 480m Ladbrokes Gold Cup trial stakes opener saw fast up 12-1 local outsider Afran Hunkster (28.38sec) ride first bend trouble to score for Kim Billingham. In a rough race, last year’s champion Seaglass Tiger turned left, was bumped at the start and then got clobbered on the second turn.
Holdem Lauren (28.36sec) got first run in the second 480m event, making all for Carol Weatherall.
The third 480m trial stakes saw Julie Batson’s Gonzo (fastest 28.13sec) open his British account for owner Kenny Glen, going up well to lead at the first, winning comfortably despite going very wide on the second.
The McNairs’ King Sheeran (28.33sec) got back to winning ways in the fourth 480 event when picking off Bateson’s Tasty Treat close home by threequarters of a length - despite a slow start and going extremely wide out by the hare rail on the run in!
There was an 8-1 turn-up in the next where local Ballymac Wizard made all (28.44sec) for Stuart Buckland, defeating odds-on Newinn Jacko, who found crowding at the start,
The sixth 480m saw a 18-1 surprise as Robert Smith’s Amka Rofe, an 8-1 winner a week earlier, make all from trap one. He got the run of the race at the first bend, utilising his draw as the field bunched. In a thriller the McNairs’ Queen Jessiej and Nathan Hunt’s Gentle Jet both finished close up, just a neck and short-head behind the 28.36sec winner.
The concluding 480m saw Patrick Janssens’ Lenson Whelan back to his best with an encouraging win in 28.39sec, taking over at the third after Bockos Boss had led.
Tony Williamson, Monmore’s racing manager, said after racing: “I particularly liked tonight’s wins of Southfield Code and Gonzo. Both went fastest over their respective distances and produced great early pace.”
In trials before racing fastest over 480m was Ted Soppitt’s Waikiki Lad who flew round in 28.08sec.
Regency champion Zazcandil went well over 630m for Kevin Boon, winning in 37.72sec
Fastest though was Paul Young’s recent arrival Bubbly Dave, an Irish star formerly known as Lightsaber Puma, who picked up Waltham Magic (12.37 sectional, leading to the run in) by a length and a half in a good 37.62sec
Over 264m was Hutton’s pup Signet Mafia went best with 15.19sec
**Both events close 11am on Wednesday and then are staged over the three following Saturdays (live throughout on RPGTV). The Gold Cup carries a £10,000 prize, the Stayers £7,500.
FASTEST in Monmore’s heats on Saturday were Queen Jessiej for team McNair, who flew out to a 27.85sec win in heat three of the 480m Ladbrokes Gold Cup, whilst over 630m quickest was Paul Young’s Bubbly Dave, who gave his Champagne Club owners the best possible start on the former Irish star’s UK debut. He got up close home in heat five of the Ladbrokes Summer Classic, clocking 37.46sec when catching Smallmead after Coolavanny Bani had led before weakening.
Best sectionals (the sponsor has again run its popular market on who will be fastest) were Market Call, who recorded 4.34sec for Kim Billingham when making all on heat five (28.11sec overall, the run coming after the bowser had gone round) and Waltham Magic, who blasted to a 14.43sec in heat two of 630. The 37.52sec winner initiated a double for Angela Harrison after Droopys Catch came through in the last heat (37.76sec). Mark Wallis’s Aayamza Royale, who lacked early, stayed on here for second, beaten a length, Seans Molly had kicked on out of the second for Barry Denby before still holding third.
Shocks over 630m were the eliminations of Southfield Code for Kevin Hutton from the six-bend opener. This turned into a bunched affair and he only missed out on third by an agonising short-head.
Then another odds-on, Wallis’s Antigua Fire, similarly crashed out by a neck from heat three. This race changed dramatically on the second bend after second favourite King Lennon ran into the back of Piemans Noelle before stumbling into the desperately unlucky Antigua Fire. All three were eliminated.
Here Tom Levers’ Birchgrove Bell had led early (37.58sec) for a 12-1 surprise from Sharpys Rocket (7-1) and Westfield Hugo (16-1) with the 1-5-3 tricast paying nearly 800-1! Westfield Hugo, last going around the second turn, got a dream run that enabled George Stark’s Sunderland raider to squeeze through in third.
Patrick Janssens went home with a treble with his defending champion Seaglass Tiger (blasted to a 28.01sec), Bockos Doomie (28.18sec) and Desperado Dan (determinedly battled to a 38.06sec victory in that slowly-run 630m heat one) all progressed. They are joined by kennelmate Lenson Whelan who had led to the line in heat six of the 480m before Droopys Addition nabbed a 28.03sec win by a short-head for Ernie Gaskin.
Janssens later predicted that his Bockos Doomie, Hove’s recent Sussex Cup winner, would improve on his return to Monmore explaining the dog had a short rest and seemed to feel his way around.
Hayley Keightley’s Hiya Boyo produced real fire to lead at the third in the 480m heat two (28.16sec) and is another likely to step up.
Daddys Prince might have been an early 8-1 in the morning, but Stuart Buckland’s dog ended up a 5-2 chance in heat five of the stayers and completed a four-timer as he took charge at the first bend. He scored by three lengths in 37.65sec from King Dylan with Zascandil, Kevin Boon’s Regency hero, staying on well to qualify in third after being last going into the third turn.
Tony Williamson, Monmore’s racing manager, said after racing: “We saw some fantastic runs tonight. Queen Jessiej went like lightning while it was great to see Kim’s Market Call win and, with only a few wides in that, must have a chance of making the finals
“Over 630 Bubbly Dave impressed even though local favourite Daddys Prince and ‘our’ ex graded dog Waltham Magic were also equally pleasing.
“Daddys Prince was great for Stuart as he had a heart scare resulting in an operation in June, the dog ran in our Puppy Derby and Stuart always thought he would make a top stayer. He lost his dad Maurice in 2019 so that would be a great story if Prince makes the final - he has brought the dog along to perfection if you study its form. This was always a shrewd kennel.
“It proved really high quality racing throughout,” he said.
*Monmore’s draws will be made at the offices of Greyhound Board on Monday morning.
The Gold Cup has 13 unseeded, three middles and two wide seeds.
The Stayers Classic sees seven unseeded, six middles and five wides.
The semis are next Saturday, with the finals a week later.