Round-up: Sunderland, Swindon and Poole
Mark Wallis: Has three runners in the Williamhill.com Grand Prix finalPICTURE: STEVE NASH
SATURDAY night was one of the busiest nights of the year for open race action with the semi-finals of both the William Hill-sponsored Classic and Grand Prix competitions at Sunderland grabbing the headlines.
Sunderland also staged heats of Puppy and Sprinters' competitions with all four finals due for the Festival finals night this Thursday live on Sky Sports.
1st semi-final: Jimmy Wright's Derrane Jake (9-4) broke well and turned in front. He then forged further and further clear for a very impressive win beating the staying on Swabys Princess by 7 1/2L in 39.46sec.
2nd semi-final: Mark Wallis's 20-1 chance Swift Reagan broke fast and made the corner. Aided by a little trouble behind, he was always in control and beat kennelmate Dixies Air (ran on well) by 5 1/2L in 39.52sec.
3rd semi-final: Harry Williams' Pond Shefelia (5-1) led at the fifth bend and kept on gamely to score by 2 1/4L in 39.96sec. Ballintine Molly battled on well to snatch second spot close home from Ceroc Shaneboy who had eased when in front down the far side.
Trap draw for the Grand Prix final:
1 Derrane Jake, 2 Pond Shefelia, 3 Swabys Princess, 4 Dixies Air, 5 Ballintine Molly (m), 6 Swift Reagan (w).
1st semi-final: A messy first corner saw Kelly Macari's Mill Bling Bling (2-1F) go round in front and dominate thereafter. Blue Artisan did a lot of running to secure second spot albeit 3L behind the winner who clocked 27.16sec.
2nd semi-final: Dean Childs' Droopys Loner (6-4F) broke best and soon cleared market rival Loughteen Blanco. The pair dominated thereafter with the November 09 bitch scoring by 1 3/4L in 26.97sec.
3rd semi-final: Craig Dawson's Wells Honour (EvsF) showed scorching early pace and put the race to bed by the third bend. Holycross Prince stayed on strongly to reduce the winning margin to 1 1/4L behind the 27.06sec winner.
Trap draw for the Classic final:
1 Blue Artisan, 2 Droopys Loner, 3 Loughteen Blanco, 4 Holycross Prince, 5 Mill Bling Bling, 6 Wells Honour (w).
Puppy Plate: Paul Young's Jaytee Youngy (4-7F) came from of the pace to take the opener in 27.49sec. Heat two saw Jim Brannan's Ciizen Saga (7-2) slip round in front and make all in 27.43sec. The third eliminator got a little scrappy and ended with Seamus Cahill's Mash Mad Snowy (5-1) getting the better of Welton South close home in a time of 27.42sec.
Draw: 1 Citizen Saga, 2 Skate On, 3 Droopys Pride, 4 Welton South, 5 Jaytee Youngy (m), 6 Mash Mad Snowy (w).
Sprint: Trevor Simmonds' Minglers Jaguar (7-2) dominated the opening qualifier in 15.70sec.Kelly Macari's Mill Bullseye (3-1) made a winning debut to take heat two also in 15.70sec. Malcolm Daniels' Glanmire Phanter (5-2) impressed in landing heat three in15.54sec.Draw: 1 Glanmire Phanter, 2 Yah Muppet, 3 Mill Bullseye, 4 Minglers Jaguar, 5 Fernhill Jess (m), 6 Skane Meadows (m).
A marathon meeting at SWINDON saw 12 first round heats of the 66th British Bred Two Year Old Produce Stakes - a Category One four-round competition that culminates in a £15,000 to-the-winner final on Saturday July 21.
Fastest winners on the night were Andy Clarke's Johnny Kwango 28.53sec, Nick Savva's Westmead Adonis 28.56sec, Pete Bailey's Wilson 28.64sec, John Millard's Peacemaker 28.64sec, Dave Firmager's Romeo Recruit 28.70sec, Alan McDowell's Brizzle Blue 28.82sec, Andy Clarke's Teena Marina 28.84sec, while Paul Young's Uh Oh Chongo and Mark Wallis's Benkaat Blue both with 28.97sec.
POOLE staged the £3,000 Dave Lawrance Golden Crest final for which Local runner Out In Chil (9-4), trained by Phil Chatfield, made all of the running and held on by a short head to beat Riverside Jess in a time of 26.99sec.