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

IN contrast to last year when Eden The Kid was the 2-7 favourite and, an early hiccup apart, won in the style one would expect of a long odds-on chance, Tuesday’s £8,000 final of the British Breeders’ Stakes (500m) at Nottingham looks a far more open affair.

The favourite is Droopys Acrobat at around the even-money mark, though I would be surprised if he went odds-on given the strength of runner in opposition and questions surrounding where he is best drawn.  

Droopys Acrobat has already proven himself at the top level having won the Irish Cesarewitch over 600 yards at Mullingar back in April. That ability to perform over an extended middle distance has served him well at Nottingham where the long-run off the last turn has often caught out those with even a smidgeon of stamina doubts.

His draw in trap one concerns connections as the son of Tullymurry Act seems to have a preference for a middle course. But, as Richard Rees, his trainer, pointed out, Queen Asia (trap two), on the immediate left of Droopys Acrobat, and for that matter Badabing (trap three), are consistently quickly away, have good early and will most likely stake a straight course to the opening bend. All of which ought to mean space for Droopys Acrobat on the inside.

Whether or not giving Queen Asia and Badabing a start in a race of this importance would enhance the chance of Droopys Acrobat remains to be seen.

Queen Asia, winner of the British Bred Oaks at Doncaster last month, has been successful in both preliminary rounds of this competition and represents Rab and Liz McNair, who landed this event last year with Eden The Kid. She will prove tough to pass if hitting the front early on.

Those same sentiments apply to Badabing. The John Mullins-trained dog went down by a short-head when beaten by Bansha Rooskey in the British Breeders’ Produce Stakes at Swindon and has since confirmed himself as a top drawer performer, reaching the final of the Champion Stakes at Romford at the backend of August.

Calco Flyer (trap four) represents Champion Trainer Mark Wallis and you don’t need me to remind you of the prowess of the master of Imperial Kennels when it comes to getting one ready for a final.

The September ’12 son of Blonde Snapper will have to do everything right but with the ever so talented Wallis in his corner it would be folly to categorise him as “making up the numbers”.

I’ve always been a fan of Carlos Court (trap five). Ever since the early days when he was carrying all before him at Monmore. Injury has meant the February ’14 whelp has had just 13 races but he has won five of those and is rarely far away at the business end.

He can be relied upon to put in a good shift, as can Lowgate Malfoy (trap six), who is trained by Jim Hayton at Kinsley. He is a member of a cracking litter that also includes Lowgate Hagrid, eliminated at the semi-final stage of this competition.

I was impressed by the way Lowgate Malfoy kept Droopys Acrobat’s winning margin down to just a length and a half in the semi-finals and he is another to whom a realistic chance to landing the first prize can be given.

WHAT CONNECTIONS HAD TO SAY

Richard Rees (trainer of Droopys Acrobat): “He’s very well and I was delighted with the performance last week. I’m not 100 per cent happy with his draw in trap one. He might be better in the middle as he definitely courses the hare. But on the plus side he has Queen Asia on his left and she is likely to trap ahead of him and create a bit of room. Either way he goes into the decider in good form and we’re just hoping for a clear run.”

HOW THE SEMI-FINALS UNFOLDED

The First Semi-Final

This was a race of mixed emotions for Liz and Rab McNair. The couple based in Kent watched on as their Queen Asia ran an absolute cracker to win and earn a place in the final but also witnessed the elimination of Eden The Kid, the defending champion, whom they also train. Queen Asia took up the running approaching the first bend having been led from the traps by Calco Flyer. At the first bend Blissful Scolari appears to check and move wide, careering into Bang On Giles and Eden The Kid. The latter had trapped slowly and failed to sparkle going to the bend which rendered him vulnerable to a knock at the turn. Queen Asia accelerated clear of Calco Flyer with Irish raider Trade Freddie in third. That order was maintained to the wire with Queen Asia defeating Calco Flyer by a length and a half in 29.74sec (0.30sec fast).

The Second Semi-Final

Droopys Acrobat has made a big impact since joining Richard Rees from Pat Buckley and the Irish Cesarewitch hero brought his tally to four wins from six starts for the Hove trainer with another faultless performance. The son of Tullymurry Act was more than a length slower at the sectional than in his first round heat but he showed cracking early speed to take the lead by the time he had reached the opening turn. The Hove dog contested with Lowgate Malfoy along the far side and Jim Hayton’s runner was determined to stick with his rival. But Droopys Acrobat began to pull clear on the long run for home at Colwick Park and at the line had a length and a half to spare over Lowgate Malfoy. Thinkingofdarcy, fourth in the final Breeders Produce Stakes at Swindon, finished third but failed to secure a place in the decider.

 

The Third Semi-Final

Badabing is as tough as teak and it showed with the type of courageous front-running display we have come to expect from this John Mullins-trained son of Kinloch Brae. The July ’14 whelp broke marginally behind Bang On Ella but was quicker to the turn and went round in front. Having trapped well, Bang On Ella was overshadowed going to the first bend as Carlos Court and Old Joe Golden moved into second and third place respectively. The former, trained by Derek Deakin, looked the more likely to catch Badabing, who was so narrowly beaten by Bansha Rooskey in the final of the Swindon Breeders’ Produce Stakes. But in the end nothing was going to threaten the Yarmouth dog who stopped the clock at 29.91sec (0.40sec fast) when crossing the line a length ahead of Carlos Court.