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Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic - Monmore 630M - £7,500

WE were lucky enough to be treated to two marvellous six-bend debuts in the first round of the Ladbrokes’ Stayers Classic (630m) at Monmore from Ballymac Ramsey and Fearsome Phantom, and they have been drawn against each other in the first semi-final of the £7,500-to-the-winner feature on Thursday.

Add to the mix the presence of Starring Storm, who recorded his second six-bend success at the opening stage, and we have a cracking contest in prospect.

The decision by trainer Barrie Draper to campaign Racing Post Juvenile winner Ballymac Ramsey over distances in advance of 600 metres seems so far to have paid dividends after the dog owned by Peter Band, of Ballymac Eske fame, clocked the fastest time of the first round.

In beating that established and rather good stayer Shellam Dalano by almost four lengths in 37.53sec, Ballymac Ramsey laid down a marker which was only threatened by Pat Rosney’s staying debutant Fearsome Phantom who was just two spots slower when defeating Baran Texas by four lengths.

Again, like the Ladbrokes Gold Cup on the same evening, only the first two go through, so neither Ballymac Ramsey nor Fearsome Phantom can afford any mistakes, particularly as Starring Storm is also in the line-up.

The latter, trained by Seamus Cahill, made a winning six-bend debut over 575 metres at Romford back in April and followed up with that win in the first round heats last Thursday.

It promises to be a cracker as the other three in the line-up - Sober Cindy, Jet Stream Style and Narabane Flyer – are from the top drawer but I take Ballymac Ramsey (trap three) to again break in front to defeat Fearsome Phantom (trap one) with Starring Storm (trap two) possibly just missing out.

The aforementioned Shellam Delano may have had to give best to Ballymac Ramsey but the outstanding stayer trained by Jimmy Wright lost nothing in defeat and has the credentials to land the second semi-final at 9.12pm.

Shellam Delano, whose sister Shellam Maeby is also in this line-up, is quite a prolific performer who has won 14 of his 31 career starts for the Newcastle trainer and given his advantageous draw in trap six here he gets the vote and the expense of Richard Baker’s Anitas Baby, drawn in trap one.

The withdrawal of Mossvale Ace, who trainer Derek Knight suspects damaged a wrist when finishing second to Starring Storm last time in the heats, means that just five runners got to the traps for the third semi-final at 9.30pm.

Billys Bullet, who overcame a few setbacks caused by a slow start to qualify in second behind Belstone Fox in the first round, has a golden chance to make yet another final from trap three.

Mark Wallis’ superstar stayer had to draw on all his experience and track craft to make good a difficult position and in the end he was only beaten a length by the winner who posted 38.15sec.

The pair meet again here but I expect the biggest threat to Billys Bullet may come from his kennel mate Ferryforth Fran. The son of College Causeway is decent enough and is better than that narrow first round victory may suggest and could get a fairly favourable run from trap five.


Ladbrokes Stayers’ Classic (630m) – Semi-Finals – Thursday, August 11 2016


First Semi-Final

1 Fearsome Phantom (Best RecentTime over C & D): 37.55sec

2 Starring Storm (Best Recent Time over C & D): 38.04sec

3 Ballymac Ramsey (Best Recent Time over C & D): 37.53sec

4 Sober Cindy (Best Recent Time over C & D): 37.80sec

5 Jet Stream Style (Best Recent Time over C & D): 37.94sec

6 Narabane Flyer (w) (Best Recent Time over C & D): 37.73sec


Second Semi-Final

1 Anitas Baby (Best Recent Time over C & D): 37.78sec

2 Melodys George (Best Recent Time over C & D): 38.06sec

3 Final Ace (Best Recent Time over C & D): 38.07sec

4 Shellam Maeby (Best Recent Time over C & D): 38.11sec

5 Baran Texan (w) (Best Recent Time over C & D): 37.87sec

6 Shellam Delano (w) (Best Recent Time over C & D): 37.53sec


Third Semi-Final

1 Vacant

2 No But (Best Time over C & D): 38.23sec

3 Billys Bullet (Best Time over C & D): 37.92sec

4 Killduff Toby (Best Time over C & D): 37.98sec

5 Ferryforth Fran (w) (Best Time over C & D): 37.84sec

6 Belstone Fox (w) (Best Time over C & D): 38.15sec