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William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon 655M - £25,000

FIZZYPOP BUDDY and Cloran Paddy, the two standout performers from the first round, meet in what is expected to be a hugely informative second quarter-final of the William Hill St Leger (687m) at Wimbledon on Thursday (live on RPGTV).

This should be an absolute cracker after both dogs, returning from injury-forced lay-offs, impressed with authoritative and speedy performances during last Thursday’s first round. Fizzypop Buddy was marginally the quicker, although we are only talking by a length achieved in heats that were a little more than 15 minutes apart.

Neither is particularly well drawn, however. Cloran Paddy is in trap two and has the fast Huarache Madison on his inside, whilst trainer June Harvey says she is not happy with Fizzypop Buddy starting position in trap five.

But both are expected to improve. Cloran Paddy because Thursday was his first attempt at six-bends and, also, with improved fitness after his lay-off. Fizzypop Buddy because, like Cloran Paddy, he has been side lined and will get better the fitter he becomes.

It wouldn’t be prudent to forget the others, though. Huarache Madison was hugely impressive to the eye on Thursday, although the clock didn’t necessarily verify the weight of the performance, whilst Pretty Lane, Garryglass Zara and Spa Road Piper are highly talented.

I thought Jaytee Patriot ran a cracker at the first-round stage and the only Irish-trained representative appears to have a smashing chance in the first quarter-final.

Trained by Paul Hennessy, who steered a certain Jaytee Jet to success in the William Hill Derby earlier in the year for John Turner, Jaytee Patriot hacked up by five lengths at the opening stage and looks a huge threat.

Milldean Puma, the 575-yard track record holder at Shelbourne Park and runner-up in the six-bend Corn Cuchulainn at Harolds Cross, was having his first race for new trainer Richard Baker and can improve.

Billys Bullet continues to gain the admiration of the racing world by maintain such a high level and Romany Rogue caught the eye with a big first round effort after a very slow start.

Slick Sebastian pulled off something of a surprise success when holding the highly regarded Rubys Rascal at the first-round stage and is one of those drawn to appear in the third quarter final.

Others that might make an impact in this contest are Hovex Grace and the evergreen Ferryforth Fran. The former is an interesting runner. She was second to Tradition, Ireland’s leading marathon performer, in the Cambridgeshire, a race in which she had Jaytee Patriot behind.

Rubys Rascal, winner of the Yorkshire St Leger, is amongst those in the fourth quarter-final. The Mark Wallis dog turned handily enough but was unable to overhaul early leader Slick Sebastian at the first round stage but is clearly a major talent.

Anitas Baby played her part in the most exciting finish of the first round when getting up late to deny Spa Road Piper and Richard Baker’s bitch is another who could play a part in a race that includes fabulous Racenight Jenny.

THE QUARTER FINAL DRAW

First Quarter-Final

1 Milldean Puma

2 Mustang Golden

3 Adamant Connolly

4 Billys Bullet

5 Romany Rouge (w)

6 Jaytee Patriot (w).

Second Quarter-Final

1 Huarache Madison

2 Cloran Paddy

3 Pretty Lane

4 Spa Road Piper

5 Fizzypop Buddy (m)

6 Garryglass Zara (w)

Third Quarter-Final

1 Hovex Grace

2 Maireads Field

3 Mad For It

4 Slick Sebastian (m)

5 Ferryforth Fran (w)

6 Oneco Melissa (w).

Fourth Quarter-Final

1 Racenight Jenny

2 Anitas Baby

3 Rubys Rascal

4 Strides Hugo (m)

5 Ide Luka (w)

6 Coney Cashen (w).

 

WHAT CONNECTIONS HAD TO SAY

June Harvey (trainer of Fizzypop Buddy and Racenight Jenny): “He (Fizzypop Buddy) had a spell in Ireland during the summer and came back in marvellous condition but with a few racing injuries that needed treating. That is what caused a him to have a bit of time off and we were more hopeful than confident of a big performance. I was over the moon with the way he ran and he came out of the race in brilliant form. He has a tough quarter-final and I’m not a fan of him running out of trap five – I prefer him in trap three. In addition, Cloran Paddy is amongst the opposition and he is extremely talented. But our dog is well. He loves Wimbledon and he will run a big race.”

 

 

THE FIRST ROUND – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20 2016

The First Heat

With Irish raider Droopys Smasher (in season) a non-runner, just four went to traps for the three places available in the quarter final. Derek Knight, who has never won a St Leger, drew first blood in this year’s event when Maireads Field broke best and made all to score by a length from Mad For it in 42.05sec. The favourite Oneco Melissa, trained by Charlie Lister, stumbled slightly at the starting traps but other than that had a clear run. She closed late on by was still a length behind the winner.

The Second Heat

Romany Rogue was the odds-on favourite but Richard Devernish’s runner was slowly away and hampered just after the second bend and in the end, did well to qualify in third. The winner, Strides Hugo, trained by Sharon Hunt, showed a smashing turn of early speed to lead at the first bend before surging ahead with a circuit to travel and then coming back to the field to win by a length from Mustang Golden in 42.37sec (0.15sec slow). Romany Rogue displayed great determination to go down by a short-head for third.

The Third Heat

Jaytee Patriot, trained by Paul Hennessy, ran his rivals into the ground to win by five lengths in 41.91sec (0.15sec slow). The race saw the elimination of Diego Flight, last year’s beaten favourite. He has only just returned from a protracted spell on the side lines and looked in need of the run when, having been second early on, he faded into fifth in the latter stages. Jaytee Patriot set a punishing pace throughout and he defeated Billys Bullet with the evergreen Racenight Jenny a further length and a half back in third.

The Fourth Heat

Favourite backers had to wait until Huarache Madison made all for a market leader to prevail. And the Kevin Hutton-trained runner did it tremendous style, breaking quickly and maintain a relentless gallop throughout to score by five lengths from Coney Cashen in 42.13sec (0.15sec slow). The only surprise, given the authority of the performance, was that Huarache Madison didn’t clock a quicker time. Coney Cashen broke well but was unable to contain the powerful winner and had to settle for the runner-up position. Adamant Connolly came home in third, almost nine lengths behind Coney Cashen.

The Fifth Heat

Hall Green trainer Richard Baker is getting a mighty fine tune out of Anitas Baby at the moment, and the daughter of Makeshift registered her fourth win from her last six race with a fabulous late surge to defeat Spa Road Piper by a half-length in 41.93 (0.15sec slow). Ebony Flyer set a frantic pace but sadly sustained an injury at the fourth bend where Spa Road Piper took command. Anitas Baby moved into second place but had four, possibly five, lengths to make-up on the Kevin Boon-trained. She got there with one last, lung-bursting surge. Garryglass Zara was third.

The Sixth Heat

Slick Sebastian was responsible for perhaps the shock of the round when holding odds-on favourite Rubys Rascal by three-parts of a length in 41.85sec (0.15sec). The Patrick Janssens-trained Slick Sebsatian recovered well from a moderate break to take command on the dash to the first turn. Fresh from his success in the Yorkshire St Leger, the nascent talent that is Rubys Rascal also went up well and when he moved into second place, a length or so behind the leader, at the tip of the first and second turns, the writing looked on the wall for the leader. But as determined as he was to get to the front, Rubys Rascal just couldn’t muster the wherewithal to pass Slick Sebastian who kept on well to score. Rubys Rascal held Pretty Lane by a head to take second.

The Seventh Heat

Cloran Paddy has been spoken off as a serious William Hill St Leger contender since the early rounds of the Derby. The dog who finished fifth behind Jaytee Jet in the Derby decider has been laid out for the St Leger since and could have been more impressive than when scoring by almost nine lengths in a slick 41.71sec (0.15sec slow) here. Only four runners went to traps but Cloran Paddy could do no more than he did to give trainer Charlie Lister a serious shot at his fourth Leger win. Hovex Grace, making her UK debut, finished second, with Ide Luka in third.

The Eighth Heat

It was a case of leaving the best until last as defending champion Fizzypop Buddy showed he has no intention of giving up his title without a fight by beating Milldean Puma by five lengths in 41.63sec (0.15sec slow). It was an eye-catching display from June Harvey’s dog who tracked Milldean Puma until he fifth bend where he went on to open-up and score. The second – the 575 yards record-holder at Shelbourne Park and an established six-bend performer in Ireland – can be expected to improve and he held on to second by a short-head from the reliable Ferryforth Fran.