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William Hill St Leger - Perry Barr 710m - £25,000


JAYTEE PATRIOT saved the best for last in the heats of the William Hill St Leger at Perry Barr on Sunday as the crack Irish stayer clocked the fastest time of the day to help complete a double for the international entry in the first round after Airmount Tess’s victory earlier - on a day the latter was crowned Irish Stayer of the Year.


Victory for Paul Hennessy’s dog (T6, pictured above in the Golden Jacket at Crayford earlier this year) in heat eight was achieved in typical strong-running style and his 42.91sec return, the best of the afternoon’s eight heats, delighted owner John Turner who, of course, had teamed up with Hennessy to win the English Derby at Wimbledon last year with Jaytee Jet.


That victory was also celebrated on Sunday night in Ireland at the National Greyhound Awards as Jaytee Jet was named Irish Dog of the Year and Supreme Greyhound of the Year for his successes in 2016 which included victories in the Easter Cup and, of course, the English Derby at Wimbledon.


Turner said: “What a great day - I’m delighted for Paul and the team! Patriot showed what a true professional he is after a tough journey across given cancelled ferries and bad weather, but handled the situation well. For his first look at Perry Barr, and then to clock the fastest time, is fantastic.


“I suppose he’d been something of a nearly dog in major events, but has won 16 times in Ireland, and with luck would have won more in the UK. Remember he was unlucky to be knocked out in the semis of the St Leger at Wimbledon last year, and reached the final of the Golden Jacket at Crayford this year.”


Airmount Tess had a race earlier initiated a double for Ireland as Ger Kiely’s bitch was always handy behind fast-starting Swift Hansel and gradually wore down that rival to win by three-quarters of a length in 43.04sec to confirm the dual Corn Cuchulainn winner’s lofty position in the ante-post market.


The runner-up gave Charlie Lister a second quarter-final qualifier. He had seen his Yorkshire Leger winner Keplar Nine (43.28sec) impress with a solid and strong-running effort in heat one to catch local Sawpit Sunshine, but suffered the disappointment of Cloran Paddy’s elimination in heat four.


Bad crowding at the first bend saw this year’s Grand Prix winner left with a mountain to climb before clawing his way back to fourth behind Kevin Boon’s Shaneboy Bowie, who edged out Goldies Hotspur in 43.19sec to land a double for the Norfolk-based handler after Murrys Act’s game success in heat two.


The Champion Stakes winner was stepping into the unknown given the 710m distance of the St Leger but stayed well enough to make virtually all and hold the staying-on Jetstream Lynx to win by half a length in 42.95sec - a stirring effort for his first true six-bend test.


Towcester were on the mark courtesy of the Graham Holford-trained Shreyas Solitair (43.14sec) in heat three who took full advantage of favourite Pennys Luna finding trouble to streak away and win well once hitting the front down the back to score by three and a half lengths in 43.14sec.


Jason Bloomfield’s Russelena Reggie remains one of the most successful stayers of 2017 and produced the goods again as the Select Stayers (Nottingham) and Derby Stayers (Towcester) winner make all to beat track record holder Rubys Rascal by one and half lengths in 42.98sec in one of the best races of the day.


Bubbly McCoy struck for the Paul Young kennel in heat six, the Gold Collar finalist racing away from his field to win from favourite and Kent Cesarewitch champion Slippy Maska, who stayed on well after being held up on a few occasions, but was still three and three-quarter lengths behind the 43.20sec winner at the line.


Martin Seal, Perry Barr racing manager, said: “It was a really good day's racing, throwing up some terrific buckles, setting the scene for a memorable competition here at Perry Barr. Well done in particular to Kevin Boon for his double - Murrys Act clocked the day's fastest sectional (16.08sec) on his way to winning.


“I thought Russelena Reggie versus Rubys Rascal was a cracking race - both dogs are top quality and should go a long way in this competition. However, for me the race of the day, in terms of a head-to-head, was between Airmount Tess and Swift Hansel, neither giving an inch in a pulsating battle.


“Well done to Ger Kiely for bringing Tess over and her campaign has started well, as it has for Jaytee Patriot. He also made the journey a worthwhile one with a rousing effort in the last heat - a run which probably produced the biggest cheer of the day as he hit top gear down the back-straight.


“Overall it was a terrific start to the William Hill St Leger and we now look forward to the second round on Saturday. I think we’re set for some mouthwatering clashes and the feedback I’m getting already is this could be one of the best St Legers we’ve had in recent years, and Perry Barr is proud to stage it.”


¼ Finals draw

Q Final 1: 1. Millroad Smokey 2. Slick Strauss 3. Nanny Cakes 4. Swift Slaney (M) 5. Jetstream Lynx (W) 6. Jaytee Patriot (W)

Q Final 2: 1. Slippy Maska 2. Swift Hansel 3. Russelena Reggie 4. Swift Jester (M) 5. Vatican Venice (W) 6. Keplar Nine (W)

Q Final 3: 1. Droopys Zone 2. Bubbly Mccoy 3. Airmount Tess 4. Goldies Hotspur (M) 5. Dinnington Lady (W) 6. Murrys Act (W)

Q Final 4: 1. Rubys Rascal 2. Shaneboy Bowie 3. Sawpit Sunshine 4. Shreyas Solitair (M) 5. Clares Kyletaun (M) 6. Suprise Me Bill (W)