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Betfred Steel City Cup - Sheffield 500M - £7,500

SOME of the sport’s greatest middle-distance performers have been successful in the Steel City Cup, which is sponsored by Betfred, the Warrington-based bookmakers.

One of the best was Desert Pilot, who was trained by the late Geoff DeMulder and landed the feature in 1980. He was also third to his kennelmate Sarahs Bunny in the 1979 Derby final, won the 1979 and 1980 Select Stakes and was third in the 1980 St Leger final.

DeMulder was also successful with Frisby Free in 1997 but the most prolific Steel City Cup winning trainer is Dave Conway who land the competition with Gulleen Cove (1992 and 1993), Anhid Breeze (1994), Andys Surprise (1996) and Anhid Knight (1998).

The event reaches its semi-final stage over 500 metres at Sheffield on Tuesday, August 30.

The First Semi-Final

PINPOINT ETHAN registered his first win for Kelly Macari in the heats last Tuesday. The July 2014 whelp joined the Sunderland trainer after finishing third behind Paradise Maverick in the final of the Boylersports Race of Champions at Tralee in May. He can be expected to improve given that his first round heat was only his third race since arriving in the UK and he might have the edge here. Minglers Thunder, last year’s winner, has just returned to Jimmy Wright after a spell in Ireland with Rachel Wheeler. He showed he hasn’t lost any of his zip with a slick win in the first round and is a must for the forecast. Qualification trickles down to third place and with that in mind it is worth taking a look at Light Foot Mata, trained locally by Elaine Parker. He hit a bit of a purple patch in the spring when taking the scalps of the likes of Cloran Paddy, later to reach the Derby final, and Thirteen Bags. He will figure if recapturing that form.

 

 

First Semi-Final

1 Calco Flyer

2 Minglers Thunder

3 Light Foot Mata

4 Pinpoint Ethan

5 Holdem Chico

6 Swift Hansel (m)

 

The Second Semi-Final

FOUR of the six first round winners have been drawn to contest this, including Ballymac Mossjoe and Barricane Tiger, respectively winners of the 2015 and 2016 Sussex Cups. A narrow vote goes to the Barrie Draper-trained Ballymac Mossjoe. The local dog was having his first race for a while when winning at the heat stage and he knows the Owlerton track like the back of his hand. Those two factors may just side it his way but it is going to be close. Barricane Tiger looked really good when beating Light Foot Mata in the first round and another run like that puts him right in the firing line. Pinpoint Den caught the eye when winning for the first time for new trainer Kelly Macari and must be considered likely to come on for that. Tynwald Baz won without a previous spin at Sheffield in the heats and must improve on that basis alone. And lest we forget Maum Legend who is in cracking form at present and bids for his fourth straight win here. It is all to play for but my money is on Ballymac Mossjoe to side it.

The Second Semi-Final

1 La Maqina

2 Tynwald Baz

3 Barricane Tiger

4 Ballymac Mossjoe

5 Pinpoint Den (m)

6 Maum Legend (m)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Round – August 23 2016

 

Heat One

Calco Flyer was a clear length ahead of the field at trap-rise but it didn’t take long for Pinpoint Ethan to pick up the tempo and he went ahead at the first turn. The Kelly Macari-trained runner then kept up a decent pace to win by a length and a half from Calco Flyer in 28.96sec (0.10sec fast). Swift Leonard tried to get past Calco Flyer a couple of times but on both occasion found his path impeded. He eventually stayed best for third.

Heat Two

Maum Legend was the odds-on favourite and Jimmy Wright’s dog left nothing to chance with a slick start and a strong finish. In the end, the son of Cashen Legend registered his third straight win at Owlerton by two and a half lengths in 28.69sec (0.10sec fast). La Maqina finished second, having always been prominent. The same, however, cannot be said for the third-placed Trickyjoefriday who was last away but stayed on well for third.

Heat Three

Ballymac Mossjoe, fifth in this competition last year, got his campaign off to smashing start when proving too good for the highly-regarded Pinpoint Den, amongst others. Barrie Draper’s dog trapped quickly and soon established a lead that measured two lengths when he crossed the line in 28.64sec (0.10sec fast). Pinpoint Den kept on well but had no answer to the speed and determination shown by the local hotpot.

Heat Four

Barricane Tiger registered his first success since landing the final of the Sussex Cup on July 27 with a slick two and a quarter lengths success over Light Foot Mata. After an early battle with Candlelight First, the Patrick Janssen-trained runner went ahead at the first bend and never looked back as he clocked a fastest-of-the-night 28.51sec. Making Paper stayed on late but was unable to get passed Light Foot Mata for a place in the semi-finals.

 

 

 

 

Heat Five

Defending champion Minglers Thunder didn’t break best but showed enough early speed to lead before the first turn at which point he took the lead by a length or so. The three-year-old, registering a double on the night for Jimmy Wright, produced a burst of pace between the second and third bend that put the race to bed as he came home two and a half lengths clear in 29.83sec (0.10sec fast). Hove Olympic winner Holdem Chico was always in second place after the first bend.

 

Heat Six

Tynwald Baz completed a fabulous night for front runners by making all in the concluding qualifier. Five of the six first round winners led at the first turn and the Lawrence Tuffin-trained Tynwald Baz, who was having his first look at the Sheffield track, was no different as he wrested command from fast-breaker Swift Hansel and went on to score from that rival by two lengths in 28.66sec (0.10sec fast).