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British Breeders Stakes - Nottingham 500M - £8,000

IT doesn’t take long when digesting Monday’s penultimate stage of the British Breeders’ Stakes at Nottingham (500m) to realise that the first semi-final is an absolute cracker and that would easily do justice to the final.

Defending Champion Eden The Kid starts from trap five and is opposed by a field that includes his kennel mate Queen Asia, Bang On Giles is also there, as is the talented Blissful Scolari, Calco Flyer and the very useful Irish raider Trade Freddie.

It really is a fascinating contest, which ought to go the way of Rab and Liz McNair’s Eden The Kid, on the back of that fabulous first round performance from the same trap five draw.

But there is a whole lot of talent crammed into this contest and any one of the runners is capable of pulling something special out of the bag.

On the balance of form, however, a quick start from Eden The Kid – he recorded the fastest sectional of these on Monday – should put last year’s Derby third in a position of power.

If the McNairs are cursing their luck at having Eden The Kid and Queen Asia drawn together in the semi-finals, from which, incidentally, only the first two go through to the final, then so too should Jim Hayton who has siblings Lowgate Hagrid and Lowgate Malroy in the second semi-final.

Droopys Acrobat looks the dog to beat here. He did everything right at the first round stage and should be clear of this field by the time they reach the first bend. Connections have confirmed he has settled well since his move from County Tipperary trainer Pat Buckley to Surrey-based Richard Rees and three wins from five starts for the Hove trainer would seem to underline that.

Lest we forget, though, the presence in the line-up of Lowgate Hagrid, a strong-running first round winner, and Bansha Rooskey, the winner of the Swindon Breeders Produce Stakes.

Jim Hayton has Lowgate Topaz in the third semi-final. He is a half-brother of Hagrid and Malroy, being yet another top class performer out of that classy brood bitch Hawks Duchess.

Topaz may have his work cut out in a good contest that could fall the way of the Charlie Lister-trained Old Joe Golden, who is drawn in trap six. There was a lot to like about the way he stuck with Eden The Kid early on last Monday and he may have the edge in a competitive contest.

Incidentally, Lister, who has won the English Derby a record seven times, has never been successful in the Breeders Stakes.

Of the others in the third semi-final, I have always been a fan of Carlos Court, although the long run-in at Nottingham might prove too taxing at the top level for the Derek Deakin-trained runner.

Another to consider is the very talented Badabing. The John Mullins’s runner has established himself as a leading middle distance performer since finishing second in the Swindon Produce Stakes and is well drawn in trap one.

Bang On Ella is the only runner in the third semi-final to have won at the first round stage and on that basis alone merits the utmost respect.

The First Semi-Final

1 Blissful Scolari

2 Bang On Giles

3 Queen Asia

4 Calco Flyer

5 Eden The Kid (m)

6 Trade Freddie (w)


The Second Semi-Final

1 Romeo Talent

2 Lowgate Hagrid

3 Droopys Acrobat

4 Thinkingofdarcy (m)

5 Bansha Rooskey (m)

6  Lowgate Malfoy (w)


The Third Semi-Final

1 Badabing

2 Bang On Ella

3 Lowgate Topaz

4 Alfies Prince (m)

5 Carlos Court (m)

6 Old Joe Golden (w)



Christine Carter (assistant to Richard Rees, trainer of Droopys Acrobat): “He has settled in really well and we were pleased with his performance on Monday. He has Come out of the race well and doesn’t appear to have too difficult a race in the semi-finals – although nothing should be taken for granted. He is coming to hand nicely.”

The First Round – Monday, October 10 2016

Heat One

Carlos Court (trap five) showed the best early pace to take the lead approaching the first bend. Bang On Giles (trap two) had been slowly away but spied an opening on the rail and moved through to go into joint second place with Blissful Scolari (trap one) around the second bend. Blissful Scolari went to the outside of Carlos Court to challenge at the third turn but struggled to get by and it left to Bang On Giles, third in the Breeders’ Produce Stakes earlier in the year, to come though on the rails to score. The winning time was 29.74sec (0.40sec fast).


Heat Two

Droopys Acrobat (trap three), the Irish Cesarewitch winner, delivered a performance of pace and power that ensured he was the talking dog of the first round and the fastest as well after stopping the clock at 29.54sec (0.40sec fast). Richard Rees, his trainer, hasn’t had the son of Tullymurry Act long but he has already won three from five starts and looks a smashing acquisition. Barry Denby’s Alfies Prince (trap four) had a head to spare over Lowgate Topaz (trap one) for second behind the five and three-quarter lengths winner.


Heat Three

Bang On Ella (trap two) registered a family double on the back of the success of Bang On Giles in the first heat and also gave trainer Philip Simmonds a double. In some ways it was a similar performance to that produced by Bang On Giles in as much as the daughter of Kinloch Brae tucked herself in against the fence around the first couple of turns. She led off the second turn and held out despite pressure, initially from Irish raider Trade Freddie (trap six) and latterly from Bansha Rooskey (trap five), the Swindon Breeders Produce Stakes winner. Bang On Ella won by a head from the latter in 30.11sec (0.40sec fast).

Heat Four

Eden The Kid made a sizzling start to the defence of his title with a straightforward victory from trap five. Liz and Rab McNair’s 2015 English Derby third just cleared Oscasupreme (trap three) at the first bend to take the lead with Old Joe Golden (trap six) on his outside. The pair shared body heat for no more than a few seconds before Eden The Kid began to pull away. In the end the classy son of Westmead Hawk had a shade over four lengths to spare over the Charlie Lister-trained Old Joe Golden in 29.55sec (0.40sec fast) – one hundredth of a second slower than the time clocked by Droopys Acrobat. Calco Flyer (trap one) turned the first bend in third and stayed there without making any significant impression on the winner.


Heat Five

There is something very likeable about Lowgate Hagrid (trap three) who again proved himself a tremendously strong middle-distance performer by defeating a good quality field here. The Jim Hayton-trained dog was the slowest away as the early pace was provided by Russanda Rubin (trap four), his kennel mate. Lowgate Hagrid moved into fourth place when a gap appeared on the inside and then set about the leading group which consisted of the talented Badabing (trap two), Midland Puppy Derby winner Castell Henry (trap one) and the aforementioned Russanda Rubin. Taking a wide course off the fourth bend, Lowgate Hagrid made his move and using the whole length of the long Nottingham run-in to score by a length from Badabing in 29.81sec (0.40sec fast).


Heat Six

The exceptional talent that is Queen Asia gave Rab and Liz McNair a double with a faultless display. Starting from trap two, the daughter of Droopys Scolari established herself on the rails around the first and second turn. She contested the lead with Geelo Onesie (trap four) and Lowgate Malroy (trap six), a brother of Lowgate Hagrid, along the far side before edging ahead approaching the third turn and going on to score by two and a quarter lengths in 29.71sec (0.40sec fast). Lowgate Malroy was best of the rest, whilst Romeo Talent (trap three), who lost ground by checking when well placed approaching the first bend, took third.