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Coral Golden Sprint - Romford 400m - £10,000

CALCO FLYER may be into his fifth year but it is arguable if the September ’12 son of Blonde Snapper has ever run as well as he is at this moment in time.

That is a point not lost on the ante-post odds compilers, who, to a man, make the Mark Wallis-trained evergreen the ante-post favourite for the 400-metre Coral Golden Sprint after a first round performance that oozed class.

Calco Flyer took his form since the turn of the year to five wins from nine starts in open company – he has also finished second three times – with a run from the top draw at the opening stage of this £10,000-to-the-winner Category One, won 12 months ago by Paul Young’s Droopys Story.

Starting from trap one, Calco Flyer broke very quickly. He was tested along the far side by Charity Dragon, last year’s Trafalgar Cup winner, but ultimately broke the resolved of Paul Harmes’ runner to score by two lengths in 23.80sec (0.10sec fast), the quickest of the round.

Here’s how the other heats may unfolded.

Heat 1: It was straight forward for the Frank Gray-trained Azza Boy. The September 2014 son of Crash, out of that good brood Bengazi Babe, took the lead soon after the start and nursed it throughout to score by three parts of a length in 24.02sec (0.10sec fast). Ginas Blue stayed on strongest of the rest. Ajlo Legalbeagle, who probably broke best of all, was third.

Heat 2: Diablo converted a first bend lead into a three-parts of a length success in 23.96sec (0.10sec fast). Patrick Janssen’s son of Lenson Bolt took his strike rate at Romford to more than 30 per cent with a textbook display of front-running. Hunter Ben was second from the first turn but was unable to make much of an impression on the winner.

Heat 3: Toolmaker Rambo became the first winning favourite from the heats but the Paul Young-trained runner gave his supporters one of two moments of concern when trapping slowly from box two. He made up for that, though, with a slick display of pace which enable him to take the first bend at the head of the pack. The winning time was 24.25sec (0.10sec fast). Boherglass Swell finished second, a length and three parts behind the winner.

Heat 4: Clondoty Alex gave Mark Wallis the first leg of his double with a top class three-length defeat of his kennelmate, the crack sprinter Ela Ela Genie, in a smart 23.88sec (0.10sec fast). Last year’s East Anglian Derby winner took his current run to four wins from five starts by making all. Ela Ela Genie was always second, whilst Rising Rascal took the third and the remaining place available in the semi-finals.

Heat 5: This is covered as the story lead.

Heat 6: The David Mullins-trained Piemans Flash posted the quickest sectional of the first round (03.65sec) on his way to defeating Broadway Bruce by a length and a half in 24.07sec (0.10sec fast). There was a couple of incidents in the closing stages. Last year’s Golden Sprint runner-up Pass To Go appeared to be in a good position to qualify for the semi-finals before stumbling badly rounding the final turn. Also, Barricane Hazard, who finished third, took a suffered a heavy tumble after the line but made it to the pick-up and was reported fine afterwards.

SEMI-FINALS OF THE CORAL GOLDEN SPRINT – FRIDAY, MARCH 11

First Semi-Final

Clondoty Alex, Toolmaker Rambo and Piemans Flash were all successful at the first round stage and they look like being the main protagonists. Preference is for the first named. Mark Wallis’ dog has the pace to get around the first bend well positioned, and the back straight speed to be ahead by the third turn. Piemans Flash is trapping and running well and looks the pick of the others. Only the first two qualify for the final.

The Draw

1 Broadway Bruce

2 Clondoty Alex

3 Toolmaker Rambo

4 Pieman Flash (m)

5 Brocatsea Hoops (w)

6 Ajlo Legalbeagle (w)

Second Semi-Final

Calco Flyer has the speed and the draw to win through to the decider. The Towcester dog is in cracking form and with anything like a decent start he will prove very tough to beat. Ele Ela Genie, his kennel mate, has gears but is not so strong coming home, whilst Azza Boy is in cracking form for Frank Gray. Only the first two progress and it looks like being Calco Flyer and Azza Boy.

The Draw

1 Barricane Hazard

2 Calco Flyer

3 Ela Ela genie

4 Azza Boy (m)

5 Boherglass Swell (m)

6 Chopchop Mabel (w)

Third Semi-Final

There was a lot to like about the determination shown by Charity Dragon behind Calco Flyer at the first round stage and the Trafalgar Cup winner, now owner trained by Paul Harmes, looks the best of these. Ginas Blue also caught the eye in defeat at the opening stage and merits respect. Diablo is well drawn and the only first round winner in the line-up. To summarise, Charity Dragon can prove too good for Diablo.

The Draw

1 Diablo

2 Rising Rascal

3 After Else

4 Hunter Ben (m)

5 Charity Dragon (m)

6 Ginas Blue (w)