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

MOST trainers are delighted to get one runner through to the final of a Category One. Lately, however, it has become quite fashionable to have two.

Seamus Cahill has been the most prolific. He had a brace of runners in the finals of both the Lowther Stakes at Towcester on Saturday and also in the Nottingham Puppy Classic on Monday. Pat Rosney also had two runners in the Colwick Park final, whilst John Mullins was represented by couple in the final of the Champion Stakes at Romford on Wednesday.

Kelly Macari, who won this event with Mill Pinpoint in 2010 and Mill Bling Bling in 2011, is the latest to get in on the act by steering two to the £7,500 decider of the 500-metre contest on Tuesday in the shape of Pinpoint Ethan and Pinpoint Den.

It promises to be a smashing renewal of this prestigious competition and it might just fall to Ballymac Mossjoe. The local dog missed out behind Minglers Thunder last year but has reached the decider with the minimum of fuss and he will be difficult to beat if going about his business in similar fashion.

Trap five is something of a difficult draw for Ballymac Mossjoe but his sectional (04.14sec) is better than anything achieved by his five rivals at the semi-final stage. If he leads, everything points to him staying there, particularly as he was the quickest overall at the semi-final stage.

Barrie Draper, the trainer of Ballymac Mossjoe, has won “The Cup” twice, with Boherna On Air in 2007 and Farloe Cobbler in 2000, and he would be a popular local winner.

Those sentiments apply to Light Foot Mata. The Droopys Scolari whelp is trained by Elaine Parker who won the competition in 2012 with Skywalker Louie and Pay Freeze in 2013, and back in 2004 with Rhincrew Santini. Light Foot Mata was second in both preliminary rounds but has a decent card and won’t be that far away.

Pinpoint Ethan is really coming to hand for Macari and might be the best of her duo. The dog who was third in the Race of Champions at Tralee before crossing the Irish Sea is trapping well and must come into the reckoning.

Pinpoint Den is the only seeded runner. He is classified as a middle runner and goes from trap six in the final. He has been trapping well but that hasn’t been so obvious because he has been running against Ballymac Mossjoe. He can get away well and play part.

Tynwald Baz came over from Ireland with Peter Cronin for a tilt and the Derby in May and was unfortunate when finishing third at the first round stage in one of those heats from which only the first two progressed to the second round. He has done well since joining Lawrence Tuffin and has chances.

It wouldn’t seem like a Category One without a Mark Wallis runner and the Champion Trainer has Calco Flyer here. The September 2012 whelp is easily the oldest in the line-up but you wouldn’t have thought so given the way he came from a very tricky situation to qualify from the semi-finals.


The Final Draw

1 Calco Flyer

2 Light Foot Mata

3 Tynwald Baz

4 Pinpoint Ethan

5 Ballymac Mossjoe

6 Pinpoint Den (m)


Trainer Quotes

Kelly Macari (Pinpoint Ethan and Pinpoint Den): “Ethan has only just come over from Ireland and has taken sometime to settle down. He is running very well and we believe there is more to come. He has twice run from trap four in the heats and it holds no fears for him. I think he’ll go well in the final.

“Pinpoint Den has a ping break in him and could be a big player if he gets away well. He has come up against a good dog (Ballymac Mossjoe) in both rounds and I have been pleased with the way he has performed.

“The Steel City Cup is a race we do well in. We have won it twice. I think it’s because we always look for dogs that will do well at the likes of Sheffield and Newcastle (for the All England Cup).”


The Betfred Steel City Cup Semi-finals – Tuesday, August 30 2016


First Semi-Final

Pinpoint Ethan has had only four starts for Kelly Macari since arriving from Ireland but already he is starting to make a big impression. The July 2014 son of Droopys Scolari made it two wins for his new trainer with another excellent display of early pace and power-running to score by two and a half lengths from Light Foot Mata in 28.87 (0.10sec fast). Pinpoint Ethan just made the first bend in front from a level start and kicked clear off the second turn to extend his lead by four lengths at least from Swift Hansel, who was passed in second place by Light Foot Mata at the third bend. On the stretch for home. That order was maintained right to the line, with a fast-finishing Calco Flyer in third. Defending champion Minglers Thunder didn’t get a run at any stage and was eliminated in last place.


Second Semi-Final

Ballymac Mossjoe has unfinished business with this competition after his defeat in last year’s final, and he took another step towards addressing that with a slick win. It was billed as a clash between Ballymac Mossjoe and Barricane Tiger, the winners of the last two Sussex Cups, but it developed into an all-the-way success from the Barrie Draper-trained Ballymac Mossjoe who broke quickly and put a bit of ground between himself and the others before holding on by three-parts-of-a-length from Tynwald Baz in 28.67sec (0.10sec fast). The second is an improving sort trained by Lawrence Tuffin for Nottingham owner/promoter Terry Corden. Pinpoint Den gave Kelly Macari her second finalist when taking third place, some two and a half lengths bind Tynwald Baz.