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Lowther Stakes - Towcester 500M - £10,000

DOMINO STORM and Queen Asia clash in what could be a real crackerjack of a second semi-final of the Lowther Stakes (480m) at Towcester on Saturday.

Last year’s finalists – Queen Asia (fourth) and Domino Storm (sixth) – produced two of the most electrifying starts at the first round stage, although ultimately they experienced contrasting fortunes.

Both can be expected to improve. Mark Wallis, the trainer of Domino Storm, said he expected better from his charge given that she had been side-lined with an Achilles tendon issue, and will have benefitted from her first round stretch.

Queen Asia is also expected to come on for her first round performance, during which she trapped like her life depended on it but had no answer to a winning burst of back straight pace from Droopys Two.

It looks like another win for Domino Storm and given likely improvement from Queen Asia, she can follow her home.

Second Semi-Final

1 Domino Storm

2 Queen Asia

3 Alice Golden (m)

4 Swabys Norah (m)

5 Swabys Soul (w)

6 Crossfield Molly (w)

 

FOREST TWILIGHT will come on a bomb for her first round effort and is poised to secure a place in the final to defend her title.

Hayley Keightley’s bitch is drawn in trap three and is flanked on either side by pace in the shape of Carol Weatherall’s duo, Mustang Chick (trap two) and Greenhall Gem (trap four), both of whom impressed when winning their first round qualifiers.

Droopys Folly (trap one) flopped from the boxes when odds-on to land her opening stage heat and is much better than that form would suggest.

My guess is that Forest Twilight will be forward enough to create herself an opportunity to lead and win at the main expense of Mustang Chick, who is particularly strong at the business end.

First Semi-Final

1 Droopys Folly

2 Mustang Chick

3 Forest Twilight

4 Greenhill Gem (m)

5 Airforce Duchess (m)

6 Droopys Merc (w)

 

I’VE been a massive fan of Live Annie since she made her UK debut in the Gymcrack at Kinsely a few months ago and I take the Hove bitch to land the third semi-final.

She has since developed into an extremely impressive strong-running middle-distance performer and I believe she can score here despite trainer Seamus Cahill’s reservations about her handling the track.

It is a good race. Droopys Two in particular caught my eye at the first round stage. Ballymac Shirley can be expected to improve and Quivers Camps led for a long way before she was caught by Live Annie last time.

But if running up to her best form, Live Annie can come home quickly on the outside to defeat Droopys Two.

 

Third Semi-Final

1 Quivers Camps

2 Pointless Pearl

3 Droopys Two (m)

4 Ballymac Shirley (m)

5 Mustang Vienna (m)

6 Live Annie (w)

 

TRAINER QUOTES

Seamus Cahill (Crossfield Molly and Live Annie): “Both are drawn where they want to be (trap six) but I’m not so sure it’s that good a draw at Towcester. Crossfield Molly has a tough heat with Domino Storm (trap one) and Queen Asia (trap two). If Domino Storm breaks well then I reckon it could amount to a battle between Queen Asia and Crossfield Molly for second (the first two qualify for the final). Live Annie is not happy at the bends which is a bit of a problem and she also has a competitive heat. To be honest if the race was at Hove I would make her an odds-on chance but it’s not and the track evens things up a little.”

 

THE FIRST ROUND – Saturday, August 13 2016

Heat 1: Forest Twilight completed an unbeaten run through the Lowther last year but succumbed to a late challenge from Pointless Pearl by a short-head in 29.75sec (0.30sec slow). The fact that Hayley Keightley’s bitch hadn’t raced since the semi-finals of the Arc in mid-March looks to have been a determining factor to her relinquishing an early advantage to the strong-running Pointless Pearl.

 

Heat 2: Mustang Chick broke well before allowing Ballymac Shirley to take an early lead and then produced a powerful late surge to take it up at the third bend to win powerfully by four lengths from Droopys Merc in 29.53sec (0.30sec slow). The talented Ballymac Shirley faded into third but could improve given that it was her first run for a month.

 

Heat 3: Live Annie left it late but got up in the closing stages to score by three-quarters of a length in 29.78sec (0.30sec slow). The Seamus Cahill-trained bitch struggled to hold her line at the bends but ultimately her speed close home was decisive as she powered past early leader Quivers Camps on the run for home. Airforce Duchess moved into third at the second bend and held on to that position.

 

Heat 4: Greenhill Gem gave Carol Weatherall a double on the back of the success of Mustang Chick earlier in the evening. The winner trapped well and always had the measure of Crossfield Molly to score by a length in 29.59sec (0.30sec slow). Droopys Folly, the odds-on favourite, trapped painfully slowly but stayed on best of the rest to take third and claim a place in the semi-finals on Saturday.

 

Heat 5: Domino Storm finished last in the final behind Forest Twilight after trouble in running. There were no similar problems for Mark Wallis’ bitch who was a couple of lengths ahead of the field literally from trap-rise and went on to score by a shade under six lengths in 29.53sec (0.30sec slow). The others were competing for minor honours from a long way out with Swabys Soul and Swabys Norah – no relation but both trained by David Mullins – finishing second and third respectively.

 

Heat 6: Queen Asia, fourth in the final last year, broke like a scalded cat and had a good five to six lengths advantage around the first and second bends. Droopys Two, however, showed a quite devastating turn of pace along the far side and stayed on well to pass the tiring Queen Asia late on and score by two and a half lengths in 29.48sec (0.30sec slow). The second was having only her first race since the second round of the Derby in May and will almost certainly come on for the run.