Express scores at Hove: Artisan flies at Monmore
Blue Artisan: Impressive Stud Book heat winner at MonmorePICTURE: STEVE NASH
THURSDAY night saw Hove stage six first round heats of the Coral Regency - a Category One competition run over the 695m course that will culminate in an £8,000 to-the-winner final (live on Sky Sports) on Tuesday June 12.
The opening heat saw Chris Lund's Mr Chow (5-1) survive early trouble and come from well off the pace to catch long time leader Ballymac Cryan and 16-1 outsider Lets Do This in a time of 42.03sec.
Dave Firmager's Romeo Patrol (2-1) showed good middle speed to overpower early leader Perles Orchid to take the second heat in a time of 41.83sec. Bubbly Capel stayed on for third.
The third eliminator saw Broadway Magic storm into a clear lead but he folded badly in the home straight and was passed by Maria Collins' Swift Signal (4-1) who clocked 41.91sec. Ballyard Buddy and Portavoe Lass also finished well to qualify.
Capoley Ash, having his first race for new trainer Paul Sallis, gave Airforce Newyork a five length lead and a beating to take heat four in 41.87sec. Thank Will stayed on well to snatch second.
Liz McNair's Express Trend (9-4F) was an impressive all-the-way winner of heat five. Never troubled to beat Farloe Elektra and Swabys Princess by 3L and 1 1/2L in a fastest-of-the-session 41.65sec.
Defending champion Blonde Fletch (4-9F) justified his cramped odds to outclass his opposition in heat six. Mark Wallis's black led off the second bend and forged clear for an easy 41.70sec success.
Semi-final draw: First: 1 Fabulous Shanty, 2 Blonde Fletch, 3 Ballyard Buddy, 4 Confident Nestor (m), 5 Bubbly Capel (w), 6 Capoley Ash (w). Second: 1 Portavoe Lass, 2 Lets Do This, 3 Farloe Elektra, 4 Mr Chow, 5 Express Trend, 6 Swabys Princess. Third: 1 Swift Signal, 2 Perles Orchid, 3 Airforce Newyork, 4 Thank Will, 5 Ballymac Cryan (m), 6 Romeo Patrol (w).
Monmore's programme was highlighted by three heats of the Truframe Greyhound Stud Book Trophy - a competition that carries a £2,500 first prize and will be concluded next Thursday live on RPGTV.
Harry Williams' Blue Artisan (9-10F) stormed to an easy five length success in the opening heat and recorded a speedy 28.01sec success. Jazz Apollo ran on well to snatch second and book a ticket for next week's final.
There was a surprise in heat two when 2-5 favourite Go Go Sonic could only finish second to Chris Allsopp's Penhiw Guto (4-1), a dog he thumped last week. The winner, who made all, clocked 28.17sec.
Nick Savva's Westmead Adonis (4-6F), a derby finalist last Saturday, produced an impressive all-round performance to take heat three.
Leading from the third bend, the Droopys Vieri whelp steadily drew clear to beat Monaghan Jack by almost eight lengths in 28.20sec.