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


BUBBLY MCCOY was quickest in the quarter-finals of the William Hill St Leger at Perry Barr on Saturday as the Paul Young-trained runner franked the form of last month’s Gold Collar when landing heat three in the second round of the stayers’ Classic at the Birmingham track.


It was a heat where the St Leger dream for up-in-trip Champion Stakes winner Murrys Act was undone as the Kevin Boon-trained runner blazed a trail before both the winner and Irish star Airmount Tess swooped to conquer. Goldies Hotspur then denied him a qualifying place in next week’s semi-finals.


Romford raider Bubbly Mccoy, who had been crowded out earlier in the Gold Collar final at Crayford behind Mayshighlandreel, stopped the clock in 42.73sec for the 710m distance - just four spots outside Rubys Rascal’s track record set in a trial stakes for the competition, which has a new home this year.


For good measure, the Mark Wallis-trained runner won the fourth quarter-final in typical strong-running style as the 2016 Yorkshire St Leger winner was always handy on the inside before powering through to catch leader Shaneboy Bowie and then hold the rallying Shreyas Solitair in 43.14sec.


The first quarter-final saw a major shock as Irish hotpot Jaytee Patriot never looked a player behind fast-finishing Nottingham bitch Nanny Cakes, who landed a 14-1 surprise for trainer Colin Wilton when catching Jetstream Lynx to win going away by three-quarters of a length in a fast 42.82sec. Millroad Smokey stayed on for third.


Keplar Nine (pictured above winning the Yorkshire St Leger at Doncaster) won an eventful second quarter-final for Charlie Lister in a race where, for much of the way, his Swift Hansel looked set to qualify behind his kennelmate before tiring and then tangling with Russelena Reggie, who had recovered after a poor start to get himself back into a challenging position.


The race changed complexion approaching the final bend as both Russelena Reggie and Swift Hansel back-pedalled to allow the strong-running Slippy Maska and Swift Jester to chase home the impressive Keplar Nine, as this year’s Yorkshire St Leger winner continues to eye a famous double, winning in 43.07sec.


Martin Seal, Perry Barr racing manager, said: “It was an eventful second round, with its fair share of surprises - but also some great performances. All four quarter-final winners played their part of course, and timewise Bubbly Mccoy takes the plaudits, but the way Keplar Nine powered home to win for Charlie (Lister) was impressive.


“The 710m test here is, I believe, the perfect blend of speed and stamina. It found out a few in the second round, and the competition steps up a notch now. We have the semi-finals on Saturday before welcoming the Sky Sports cameras on Wednesday week.


“Looking at the semi-finals, I would say the second semi-final looks the tougher. It pits Keplar Nine against Bubbly Mccoy and Airmount Tess, plus the improving Nanny Cakes. Shreyas Solitair and Swift Jester have also shown great strength, and will do their best to stay on to qualify.


“The first semi probably gives Rubys Rascal a chance to dominate again. You’d say Millroad Smokey and Slippy Maska would struggle to keep with Mark’s (Wallis) dog early - he’s still the track record holder after all. Shaneboy Bowie gave Rubys a real race on Saturday, and Goldies Hotspur and Jetstream Lynx are two bang-in-form bitches. 


“We’re looking forward to Saturday and two terrific St Leger semi-finals here at Perry Barr.”


Form for Saturday’s semi-finals: