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

ALTHOUGH he was one of three favourites to fail to score at the semi-final stage it is still difficult to look past Clondoty Alex in the final of the £10,000 final of the Coral Golden Sprint at Romford on Friday.

The East Anglian Derby winner has drawn the red jacket in the Category One decider, which is a huge advantage given that he has won an impressive five from six open races at Romford when drawn next to the fence.

Mark Wallis’ Clondoty Alex was never comfortable after starting from trap two in the semi-final and he went down to a powerful display from Ajlo Legalbeagle. But he is a different proposition in trap one and given the competitiveness of this race, the draw could be the final arbiter.

So, with a decent start, Clondoty Alex is the one to beat but that doesn’t mean he cannot be beaten, and one who might prove good enough to do that is the inform Diablo.

Patrick Janssen seems to have this son of Lenson Bolt in terrific order. He has looked in great heart in his victories in both the preliminary round and semi-finals but needs to trap smartly from box two to avoid a collision with Clondoty Alex.

Janssen’s second string is Barricane Hazard. It worth noting the Central City February ’15 whelp is the youngest in the line-up and would appear to be the one open to the most improvement.

Ernie Gaskin also has two runners in the shapes of Hunter Ben and Chop Chop Mabel. Both have the pace to lead and whether they have the stamina to withstand a challenge in the closing stage remains to be seen. Hunter Ben is probably the stronger of the Gaskin duo.

Ajlo Legalbeagle is a terrifically consistent dog trained by Paul Young who is bidding for his fourth Golden Sprint. He has plenty of speed and has the pace and track craft to make an impact.

It is tremendously competitive but the vote is probably best placed with Clondoty Alex who has the draw to prevail.

The Draw

1 Clondoty Alex

2 Diablo

3 Barricane Hazard

4 Hunter Ben (m)

5 Chop Chop Mabel (w)

6 Ajlo Legalbeagle (w)


What Connections Had To Say

Patrick Janssens (trainer of Diablo and Barricane Hazard):“It’s a good final and it will probably amount to the dog that leads wins. I would prefer Diablo to be drawn in one with Clondoty Alex in two but the draw is as it is. I’ve been pleased with the way Diablo is performing. We have in the past had serious problems with him. He has had quite a bad ear infection which took more than three months to clear up. It was the worst I have ever seen and seriously affected his balance. He is free of it now and I think his form has a more consistent look because of that. Diablo isn’t the best trapper but he has serious early speed and phenomenal pace along the far side. In fact, I reckon he is as quick as anything in the country between the second and third turns. Barricane Hazard is the youngest in the final and I believe the one open to most improvement He is a very big dog (37-kilos) and could be the type to find his form in a hurry. He is good enough to win the final, as is Diablo, but everything depends on what happens at the traps.”

How the Semi-Finals unfolded

A 66-1 double for Patrick Janssen was the highlight from the semi-finals of the Coral Golden Sprint at Romford on Friday.

The former headman to Mark Wallis has really established himself as a trainer in his own right and these days churns out winner after winner from his picturesque kennels near Thetford in Norfolk.

Barricane Hazard instigated the double for the Belgium-born handler in a hot second semi-final that included the talented duo Calco Flyer and Ela Ela Genie, both in the care of eight-times Champion Trainer Wallis.

Faced with such strong opposition, Barricane Hazard started the 14-1 outside but in a race dominated by the bigger priced runners, the February ’15 son of multi-purpose sire Central City stayed on to defeat early leader 8-1 chance Chop Chop Mabel by a length in 24.45sec (0.10sec slow).

Both Calco Flyer and Ela Ela Genie were in trouble on the run-up and Azzi Boy, an impressive first round winner, failed to get away to the sort of start that paved the way for his victory last week.

Diablo brought up the second leg of the Janssen double with an impressive win in the third semi-final.

The June ’14 whelp has figured out what the racing game is all about judged on his slick wins the two preliminary rounds of the category One competition, which carries a tasty first prize of £10,000.

In the third semi-final, he didn’t trap particularly well but moved through the gears in the early stages to take it up from leader Hunter Ben at the second bend before going on to score by a shade under three lengths from Ernie Gaskin’s runner in 24.21sec (0.10sec slow).

You must feel a little for Gaskin. His Chop Chop Mabel and Hunter Ben led in their respective semi-finals but neither could hammer home their advantage. Both, however, have reached a final that thus far their trainer hasn’t won.

Paul Young has most certainly won the Golden Sprint. In fact, the local trainer is the defending champion after the success of Droopys Story 12 months ago. He also won it with Droopys Sammer in 2005 and She’s Our Star in 2004.

The incredibly consistent Ajlo Legalbeagle flies the flag for the Young kennel in the final on Friday after he also scored at biggish odds in the opening semi-final.

After first bend crowding, Ajlo Legalbeagle scooted around the outside to take over from East Anglian Derby winner Clondoty Alex and went on to win by two and a half lengths in 24.36sec (0.10sec slow).