Maldini wins well but it's Roger that goes fastest
Westmead Maldini: Impressive Champion Stakes heat winnerPICTURE: STEVE NASH
FRIDAY night was a busy night on the open race scene with the first round heats of the Champion Stakes at Romford, the Gain Feeds Yorkshire St Leger semi-finals at Doncaster and three finals at Sunderland all on the menu.
The opening heat of the Coral Champion Stakes at Romford saw the strong-running Airforce Roger turn second and, taking the lead with a circuit to go, Frank Taylor's charge beat a gallant Be Real by 3 1/4L and set a target of 35.48sec which wasn't to be beaten.
Paul Donovan's Droopys Robles showed smart all-round pace to take heat two in 35.51sec while David Pruhs' Envy Apple King virtually made all to land heat three in 35.73sec.
Kevin Hutton's Ding Hero popped out and made all (35.72sec) in the fourth before Chris Mosdall's course and distance specialist Smiler Jack was dominant in taking down heat five in 35.52sec.
Ante-post favourite Westmead Maldini landed odds of 1-3 in heat six. Leading at the fifth bend, Nick Savva's ace raced clear to beat Centurion Dolly by a shade over six lengths in 35.72sec.
Draw for Friday's semi-finals:
First: 1 Mays Millhouse, 2 Westmead Maldini, 3 Dixies Air, 4 Ding Hero, 5 Centurion Dolly (m), 6 Hiding Escort (w).
Second: 1 Mountjoy Orion, 2 Longwood Hawk, 3 Risky Rosaleen, 4 Be Real, 5 Soho Storm (w), 6 Envy Apple King (w).
Third: 1 Smiler Jack, 2 Honeypound Joe, 3 Thurlesbeg Bound, 4 Airforce Roger, 5 Droopys Robles, 6 Ballintine Molly (m).
**Richest race of the night was the £750 Coral On TV Maidens Trophy final at 9.24 and Dave Mullins' Blue Glenard showed true grit and determination to beat Quarterland Clas for the third time in eight days by 3 3/4L in 24.28sec.
Doncaster's £8,000 Yorkshire St Leger final will feature live on Sky Sports this Tuesday and fastest qualifier for the 661m decider was Elaine Parker's Welton Arthur who caught Blonde Fletch right on the line to take the second semi-final in 41.59sec.
The other eliminator went to Pantone Ava (12-1) who beat 20-1 chance Collykereen Dip in 41.64sec.
2 Pantone Ava
3 Blonde Fletch
4 Coolykereen Dip (w)
5 Peggys Style (w)
6 Mays Stewart (w)
Sunderland's finals, all sponsored by H.T.B Electrical contractors, were over 261m, 450m, and 640 metres.
The Sprint went to 14-1 outsider Lissom Jack in 15.65sec, the Standard saw Skate On justify support to win in 26.84sec while the Stayers' decider had the 2-5 jolly Mill Whiskers work hard for his victory in 39.80sec.