Surprises at Sunderland as Artisan sets standard
Blue Artisan: fastest with 26.68sec in Sunderland Classic heatsPICTURE: STEVE NASH
BLUE ARTISAN, less than two hours before he officially reached veteran status, set the standard in the heats of the Williamhill.com Classic over 450m at Sunderland although the night was marred by a serious injury suffered by Derby third Coolavanny Bert.
Trained by Harry Williams, he kicked off his third Classic campaign when racing to a wide-margin victory in heat five, scoring by nearly seven lengths from Castlebride Dan in 26.68sec.
However, the gloss was taken off the opening night of the Festival in heat three when the John Gardner-trained Coolavanny Bert broke down when in command between the last two bends. Initial reports suggested a broken hock with ultimate victory for John Mullins’s Holloway Road almost incidental.
Droopys Loner produced a top class performance in heat two, Dean Childs’s bitch forcing her way to the front at the first bend and powered clear to beat Mill Bling Bling by nearly five lengths in 26.88sec.
Mark Wallis’s Lil Risky made an impressive return to four bends when making all in heat four, while Seamus Cahill landed a double courtesy of Guinness Dusty and Loughteen Blanco.
Winners were hard to find in the Williamhill.com Grand Prix over 640m with Maxine Locke’s Bridge Jane setting the tone when getting up close home to spring an 8-1 surprise in the opener.
That was followed by a stunning success for 10-1 chance Derrane Jake for Jimmy Wright in heat two as he made all to beat Express Trend by more than six lengths in a best-of-night 39.45sec, then David Wilkinson’s Elwick Ghost belied similar odds in heat three.
Even defending champion Blonde Fletch could not buck the trend as the 1-4 favourite was caught close home by Paul Young’s Swabys Princess in heat four, Matt Dartnall’s Ballymac Pet took a walk in the market but shrugged off rustiness to win a ninth race in a row in heat five and Paul Rutherford’s Radiance came from last to first in the finale to shade unlucky favourite Granard Bound.
WILLIAMHILL.COM CLASSIC 1ST SEMI FINAL
1 LIL RISKY Mark Wallis (Yrmth)
2 MOUNTJOY ROCK Elaine Parker (Sheff)
3 MILL BLING BLING Kelly Macari (Unatt)
4 LONGRANGE IVOR John Mullins (Yrmth)
5 BLUE ARTISAN Harry Williams (Newcl)
6 AYAMZAMAN (M) Mark Wallis (Yrmth)
THE WILLIAMHILL.COM CLASSIC 2ND SEMI FINAL
1 LOUGHTEEN BLANCO Seamus Cahill (Hove)
2 DROOPYS LONER Dean Childs (Unatt)
3 HOLLOWAY ROAD John Mullins (Yrmth)
4 GUINNESS DUSTY (M) Seamus Cahill (Hove)
5 CASTLEBRIDE DAN (M) Mark Wallis (Yrmth)
6 BICKERTON OLIVE (W) Craig Dawson (Newcl)
THE WILLIAMHILL.COM CLASSIC 3rd SEMI FINAL
1 ARANOCK MINT Savva Roberts (Pelaw)
2 HOLYCROSS PRINCE John Mullins (Yrmth)
3 YAHOO NED Darren Cowell (Pelaw)
4 DREAM ON BUDDY Malcolm Daniels (Unatt)
5 WELLS HONOUR (M) Craig Dawson (Newcl)
6 RAMBLING CHICK (M) Julie Calvert
THE WILLIAMHILL.COM GRAND PRIX 3RD SEMI FINAL
1 CEROC SHANEBOY John Mullins (Yrmth)
2 POND SHEFELIA Harry Williams (Newcl)
3 CALS RUNNER Yvonne Bell
4 BLONDE FLETCH Mark Wallis (Yrmth)
5 PATTERDALE CEJAY George Oswald (Unatt)
6 BALLINTINE MOLLY (M) Mark Wallis (Yrmth)
THE WILLIAMHILL.COM GRAND PRIX 2ND SEMI FINAL
1 DIXIES AIR Mark Wallis (Yrmth)
2 BALLYMAC PET Matthew Dartnall (Swndn)
3 ANFI GEM Colin Redden (Unatt)
4 ELWICK GHOST David Wilkinson (Unatt)
5 GRANARD BOUND (W) Stuart Mason (Unatt)
6 SWIFT REAGAN (W) Mark Wallis (Yrmth)
THE WILLIAMHILL.COM GRAND PRIX 1ST SEMI-FINAL
1 DERRANE JAKE James Wright (Newcl)
2 EXPRESS TREND Elizabeth McNair (Unatt)
3 BRIDGE JANE Maxine Locke (Rom)
4 SWABYS PRINCESS Paul Young (Rom)
5 NYLA FANTASY Michael Walsh (Newcl)
6 RADIANCE (W) Paul Rutherford (Newcl)
Dolores Ruth, out of luck at Sunderland where Cuil Cougar and Razldazl Buagatti were eliminated, got it right in the big race in Ireland as her Razldazl Rioga landed the Betdaq Race of Champions over 550 yards at Tralee.
Not brilliantly away, he paced up fast to the bend and railed superbly to take command at that point before keeping on well to beat Ballymac Vic by a length and a half in a superb 29.58sec, second fastest ever over the distance.
Ruth said afterwards: “He slightly missed the kick, but what a determined boy he was. He ran an absolute brilliant race.”
At Poole, Chris Allsopp’s Boris Johner was quickest in the semi-finals of the Dave Lawrance Golden Crest over 450m, making all to take the second in 26.59sec. The opener went to Out In Chil in 26.78sec.
Draw (courtesy of Kaan Hughes)
Golden Creat final in trap order. Out in chil, Proud Patsy, Boris Johner, Coolykereen Hi, Pams Tomjo, Riverside Jess.