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Coral Champion Stakes - Romford 575M - £10,000

THE Coral Champion Stakes reaches its semi-final stage at Romford on Friday and yet again we appear to have a fascinating renewal of a competition rich in greyhound racing history.

Mark Wallis is the defending champion following the success of Patchys Kerry in 2015. She was unable to bid to become only the second greyhound to win the competition in consecutive years after breaking in season, literally days after a switch to David Pruhs’ kennels. Sail Over is the only dog to win the competition twice, for Wimbledon’s Sam Sykes back in 1990-91.

Wallis, who also landed the Champion Stakes in 2007 with Eye onthe Veto, is one of only three trainers with runners at the semi-final stage to have previously won the competition.

Paul Young was successful in 2014 with the talented Millwards Master, while Seamus Cahill coaxed a winning run from Raving Black in 2010. I think it is also pertinent to mention that Linda Mullins won the event back in 2000 with the fabulous Palace Issue. That’s because John, her son, was very much Linda’s right hand man and took over the licence in 2001.

Brian Clemenson is the most prolific winning trainer having landed the event four times in a golden five-year period with Cooly Cougar (2002), Clover Top (2003), Centour Para (2004) and Son Of Phoebe (2006).

 

The Coral Champion Stakes Semi-Finals, Friday August 26 2016

First Semi-Final

John Mullins has a fabulous hand and could easily have the one-two here. On first round form it would appear that his Ascot Woodie is the one they have got to beat after he broke well and made all to score during the first round. The 35.60sec end time and 13.68sec sectional recorded by the son of Droopys Scolari are also the best on offer here. But I’m not convinced we can judge Badabing on the evidence provided by his six-bend debut in the heats, where he clearly failed to get home at top pace. The dog beaten just a short-head in the final of the Produce Stakes could sneak a lead on the inside, particularly with Salacres David, a sluggish trapper, on his immediate right and can he be expected to come on after last week’s run. Cooly Caviar, who caught Badabing last Friday, might be the best bet for third in this extremely tricky qualifier. Don’t forget, though, only the first two go through to the final.

The Draw

1 Badabing

2 Salacres David

3 Millroad Henry

4 Cooly Caviar

5 Ascot Woodie (m)

6 To Tone Merlin (w)

 

Second Semi-Final

There was so much like about the first round performance from Roswell Romanov who stayed on well to clock the fastest time of the round when defeating Salacres David by two and a half lengths in 35.42sec. That was the first open race success from a dog having just his just his fifth race for trainer Mark Wallis. He should be afforded the ultimate respect, as should Newlawn Peter, who, after a frustrating series of near misses, got back on the winning podium with a slick start and finish from an inside draw last time. The Philip Simmonds-trained dog is primed to take an early lead and has the form in the book to turn that into a winning one. Starring Storm’s determination was impressive as he got home ahead of Swabys Millward in the qualifiers, whilst Newlawn Ned can figure from a good draw in trap six and Boyneviewfantasy, another trained by Simmonds, is worthy of respect. Shaneboy Doc may need to improve to figure.

The Draw

1 Newlawn Peter

2 Starring Storm

3 Roswell Romanov

4 Shaneboy Doc

5 Boyneview Fantasy (m)

6 Newlawn Ned (w)

 

Third Semi-Final

Ribble Aon was one of the stars of the first round after producing a punishing pace to take her heat by more than five lengths in 35.53sec. That was from trap three and the jury is out how the dog trained by Mark Wallis will start from trap one. She has only started in the red jacket four times and has yet to wear it to victory, so that must be factored in when calculating the chances of Ribble Aon. Five Star Clipper failed to deliver when he was favourite at the first round stage. But lest we forget the fabulous career of Derek Knight’s dog who only last April defeated Ribble Aon by nine lengths over course and distance in a sensational 34.86sec. He has won more than half his 47 open-races at Romford and his record from this draw in 16 from 29. He is still the one they must beat. I have a sneaky suspicion Kranky Damo, a dog who recently arrived with trainer Seamus Cahill with a big reputation, could produce a serious run to threat the principals.

The Draw

1 Ribble Aon

2 Bog Brae

3 Kranky Damo

4 Omega Kin

5 Swabys Millward (m)

6 Fivestar Clipper (w)

 

 

The Coral Champion Stakes, First round heats August 19 2016

Heat One

The strongly fancied Fivestar Clipper could only manage third here as he became the first of the favourites to fail on a dismal start to the competition for punters. Not that the success of Starring Storm would rank at the biggest shock of the night. The Seamus Cahill-trained dog gradually wore down early leader Swabys Millward to go ahead and score by a length from that rival on the run for home in 35.74sec (normal). Five Star Clipper broke moderately but enjoyed a clear run on the outside and had no major excuses.

 

Heat Two

The locals got off the mark with the Philip Simmonds-trained Newlawn Peter. The February 2016 son of Crash was briefly led from the traps by To Tone Merlin but soon put himself at the front of the field. Newlawn Peter’s lead must have been at best five lengths but it was reduced to a shade under four lengths by To Tone Merlin when the clock stopped at 35.77sec. Millroad Henry, soon in third, failed by a short head to snatch second place but secured a spot in Friday’s semi-final by tasking third.

 

Heat Three

I was firmly in the Badabing camp here after some sterling efforts in the British Breeders’ Produce Stakes at Swindon and expected him to score when the John Mullins-trained runner hit the front. He went a couple of lengths ahead but clearly failed to see out the trip at top pace as Cooly Caviar came storming through to score by a half-length in 35.86sec. Badabing, who can be expected to improve from his six-bend debut, took second. Newlawn Ned broke well but was denied a clear run around the first and second bends took third.

 

Heat Four

Bubbly Torpedo was confidently expected to be the one they had to beat here, and when the Paul Young-trained broke quickly his supporters expected to collect. But Bubbly Torpedo allowed Kranky Damo to quickly join him on the inside approaching the first bend and the favourite was relegated to second place at the first bend and he quickly back-peddled to eventually finish fourth in this five-runner contest. Kranky Damo led to the fifth turn at which point his stamina gave way, and Roswell Romanov powered through to score by two and a half lengths from Salacres David in 35.42sec.

 

 

Heat Five

Swift Whirlwind was the favourite for Mark Wallis but it was Ribble Aon, another in the care of the Champion Trainer, who was to produce a clinical front front-running performance to score by five and a quarter lengths in 35. 53sec. Bog Brae threatened along the far side but he couldn’t overhaul the leader whose relentless gallop was impossible to contain. Bog Brae finished second – almost three lengths ahead of Omega Kin. Swift Whirlwind was never a factor after a moderate break.

 

Heat Six

Ascot Woodie just made the first bend in front of Millwards Master after which the dog trained by John Mullins proceeded to run his rivals ragged. Millwards Master, the 2014 Champion Stakes winner, got a hefty bump at the first bend which pretty much put him out of the race as Boyneviewfantasy moved into second place. That is where he stayed as Ascot Woodie set a punishing pace which culminated with him scoring by a shade under six lengths in 35.60sec. Shaneboy Doc was caught up a littler in trouble around the first bend but stayed on for third.