Olivers through to face exhilarating Teddy
Sittingbourne: the Grand National and Kent Derby finals feature on Sky Sports in nine days time on Tueday weekPICTURE: STEVE NASH
Race by race reporting from Sunday's Cearnsport Grand National semis, and the John Smith's Kent Derby semis.
1st OLIVERS TWIST 29.70sec
2nd Faithful Ranger three quarters
3rd Clonkeen Theo two lengths
The ring seemed intent 'to get' Olivers Twist, with 11/10 (from 4/5) being shouted, but Lisa Stephenson's dog trapped in front. Hwever he eased on the second bend, and again at the third, allowing market rival Roses Rockin to edge into the lead. However, the latter's jumping went to pot at that point, checking at back straight flights, and then getting shuffled out of contention rounding the bottom bends. It left Olivers Twist back in front, with a couple of outsiders going through with him to Tuesday week's live on Sky final
Afterwards trainer Lisa Stephenson said of Olivers Twist: "He's had a few niggles, but the format of the event suits us, with a week between the heats and tonight, then nine days to the final. He seems fine just now, and showed a lot of bravery to battle back. We will have to see how he is when we get him home."
1st LENSON TEDDY 29.46sec
2nd Baran Bally Hi length and a half
3rd Mullpark Too two and a quarter
If you want to see elegantly exhilarating jumping, then try and catch a replay of Lenson Teddy, either in the heats or semis (memo to SIS, please do show again!). Tony Collett's dog might be seen as a short runner that struggles to see out the trip, but last year's Silver Salver winner (and Springbok runner-up) throws himself boldly at the flights, hardly rising, and it's heart in your mouth in case he makes a mistake. But he seems to be building in confidence and he ran his rivals into submission, despite drifting in the ring and being called at 7/1 by Curly Wilson as they went to traps. Cutting in once he was clear, he jumped low throughout. Favourite Billis Renegade totally missed it, and when threatening to qualify in third, ran into the back of Mullpark Too at the third turn. Baran Bally Hi kept on for second.
Draw for the Tuesday week's final, winner £7,500: 1 Mullpark Too 2 Olivers Twist 3 Clonkeen Theo (m) 4 Bara Bally Hi (w) 5 Faithful Ranger (w) 6 Lenson Teddy (w)
John Smith's Kent Derby (track watered beforehand)
1st RUSHEEN MAJOR 28.80sec
2nd Westmead Adonis short head
This turned into a thriller. Earlier on parade, Rusheen Major was jumping about like Zebedee, and bounced out clear for Chris Allsopp. Brinkley Flyers, slow away, ran off at the bend and was then in second bend trouble, Lenson Ginger walked out. Guinness Dusty followed the leader round, going well into the third but seemed to tire and moved wide off the last and suddenly Westmead Adonis, the Derby finalist, took off and had he not been crowded at a vital moment, could easily have got up, but just failed by a short head.
John Smith's Kent Derby
1st BALLYCOWEN DAVE 29.09
2nd Cash Game head
Defending champ Jazz Apollo missed out here when finishing third, crucially held up at the third bend when about to power through. Ballycowen Dave set up a winning advantage (and a double for Chris Allsopp) when getting the run of the race at the first turn as fast starting kennelmate Fifis Legend bunched with Cash Game and Kiltomey Simba, with Jazz Apollo and Lenson Mac (left at the boxes) also sufferers. Cash Game battled on to go down by a just a head.
John Smith's Kent Derby
1st HELENAS SAILOR 29.13
2nd Westmead Shaw short head
Another thriller. Westmead Shaw rode a bump at the bend (where Rio Torino suffered worst) but was eventually worn down on the run in by Helenas Sailor, who got up by a short-head for Kelly Findlay. Lenson Peter, after a slow start, got on the rails and then seeemd to be gonig well into the third before being knocked back. Sakara Star walked out.
Tuesday week's live on Sky decider, winner £7,500: 1 Westmead Adonis 2 Cash Game 3 Rusheen Major 4 Westmead Shaw 5 Helenas Sailor (w) 6 Ballycowen Dave (w)
**Non runner in the 8.12pm maiden, Caesars Rocket out, reserve Hedsor Florence ran.
Full report and betting reaction in Tuesday's Racing Post. A blog from Jim Cremin will follow on Monday morning.