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John Smiths Kent Derby - Central Park 480M - £7,000

The John Smiths Kent Derby this year attracted the usual high quality entry but all the usual Category One suspects were overshadowed by the dog many think is the most exciting young prospect to emerge in several years.

Bubbly Bluebird came to the Kent Derby unbeaten in seven starts, having been defeated just once in his career; on his debut at Romford. After winning the Nottingham Puppy Classic in emphatic style, the Kent Derby was his first all aged encounter and the nature of his first round victory was hugely impressive. Quickly away from trap one, he went up the run up with Romford Champions Stakes Winner Ascot Woodie but managed to turn a length up on the John Mullins trained dog. Bubbly Bluebird then just kept pulling out more and finished five and three quarter lengths in front of Champion Stakes runner up Starring Storm, with Ascot Woodie qualifying for the semis in third.

This was a high quality field that was decimated by a dog just out of puppy class and it is no surprise he is second favourite for next year’s Derby and a short priced favourite for this competition.

Speaking of the Derby, heat one winner Peregrine Falcon reached the final of the Derby this year and the Irish equivalent in 2015 when trained by Pat Curtin. Now trained by John Mullins he contested the East Anglian Derby but was eliminated in the first round. Here was led up by Razaldazl Brian and used his trap one draw to overtake on the inside around the second bend, although he was challenged coming of the last by the favourite Jaytee Spartacus, he pulled away again to beat him by a length, with Makeit Bigtime qualifying a further two and half lengths back in third.

Much was expected from Richard Rees’ Droopys Acrobat, who won the Irish Cesarewitch as a puppy in April. He impressed when winning a Trial Stakes here on his debut and was sent off a warm favourite for heat two. However, he was the victim of bumping at the first bend and did well to qualify by staying on and snatching third place from Salthill Monarch. It was Patrick Janssens’ Sussex Cup winner Barricane Tiger who got the better of the first bend kerfuffle and held off the strong challenge of Oakfield Caesar down the back straight to land the heat by three and three quarter lengths.

Seamus Cahill’s Kranky Damo won two out three in Ireland before winning on his UK debut at Brighton in July. He then failed to score in four subsequent races but impressed here, coming from fifth at the second bend to work his way through the field to catch My Mate Max on the run in and win by a quarter length from the fast finishing Likeitalot, who relegated My Mate Max into the third qualifying place.

Droopys Who recorded the fastest time of the night when landing the fourth heat in perfunctory style. Starting with alacrity, he was able to use the rail to pass the wide Golovkin around the second bend and from then the result was never in doubt. He beat Golvkin by three and three quarter lengths with Clubber Lang a further length and a half back third.

Glencroft Rumble is blessed with good early pace and has been competing in sprints at his home track Brighton, winning two, and he deployed it well here, taking command on the run up and never looking anything but the winner. Baran Jack did really well to get the better of Baran Mourinho down the back straight and stay on for second. Teejays Apache overcame bumping at the first and fourth bend to land third.

 

John Smith’s Kent Derby Semi Final Draw – Sunday 24th September 2016

First Semi Final

1 Baran Jack

2 Bubbly Bluebird

3 Likeitalot

4 Clubber Lang

5 Oakfield Cesaer

6 Makeit Bigtime

 

Second Semi Final

1 Peregrine Falcon

2 Kranky Damo

3 Jaytee Spartacus

4 My Mate Max

5 Glencroft Rumble

6 Golovkin

 

 

Third Semi Final

1 Starring Storm

2 Droopys Acrobat

3 Baran Tiger

4 Droopys Two

5 Teejay Apache

6 Ascot Woodie

 

As with the Grand National, the market principals have been kept apart with Bubbly Bluebird, Jaytee Spartacus and Droopys Who all likely to start favourites for their respective heats. Jaytee Spartacus in the second semi looks the most vulnerable of the three as Glencroft Rumble’s early pace could see him cut off at the first bend. The Champions Stakes first and second Ascot Woodie and Starring Storm are sure to give a good account of themselves in the third semi but Bubbly Bluebird looks hard to oppose in the first.