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The Molson Coors Three Steps to Victory - Sheffield Tri-distance - £10,000

THERE is little doubt as competitions go the Category One Molson Coors Three Steps To Victory demands more versatility from its contenders than any other. The £10,000-to-the-winner annual requires those entered to race over 480 metres, 500 metres and finally 640 metres before getting their mitts on the cheque.

Having got through the first round over 480 metres last Tuesday, the 12 remaining contest the semi-finals this Tuesday but the real test comes for those who reach the final next Tuesday which is over 640 metres.

What makes this competition so intriguing is in the anticipation and speculation surrounding how the dogs respond to the diversity of distances.

The Semi-Finals – Tuesday, March 28 2017

The First Semi-Final

Droopys Live will most probably start favourite but this is going to be tough for whoever comes out on top. The locally-trained Droopys Live is drawn in trap two on the outside of the talented Shaneboy Freddie. That in itself could be problematic, and is compounded by the presence in the Charlie Lister’s Stay Loose, in trap five. Much will depend on the dash to turn and Kevin Boon’s Shaneboy Freddie would appear to be perfectly placed to get a smooth passage. However, Droopys Live, being easily the youngest in the line, would appear to have so much more to give and on that basis alone could be the answer.

The Draw

1 Shaneboy Freddie

2 Droopys Live

3 Droopys Rogue

4 Geelo Bullet

5 Stay Loose

6 Saffrons Tina (w)

The Second Semi-Final

Murrys Act, the second leg of a Kevin Boon first round double, is a very interesting runner. The Racing Post Juvenile winner earlier this month is the only wide seed left in the event. He can start quickly but, perhaps even more pertinent, is his strength at the finish. He is proven over 575 metres at Romford and gives the impression he will go further. He is definitely one to keep an eye on. Ditto, Ballymac Ramsey, coincidentally, winner of the Racing Post Juvenile back in 2016.He looked at the top of his game for trainer Barrie Draper in the heats and has that touch of class about him. It’s a very strong field and others to consider are: Worsboro Zebo, another first round winner, Coolykereen Rake and Swift Hansel.

The Draw

1 Worsboro Zebo

2 Geelo Sapphire

3 Coolykereen Rake

4 Ballymac Ramsey

5 Swift Hansel (m)

6 Murrys Act (w)

WHAT CONNECTIONS HAD TO SAY

Elaine Parker (Droopys Live): “She has been a revelation. She was an entry in the Sheffield Sale in October but seemed to go lame in her sales trial and consequently didn’t get bid to anything like what was expected. I took her home on behalf of Michael Dunphy, her breeder, after which we struck a deal with Michael to buy her. She has looked fabulous in her races to date. She can lead or come from behind and is pretty much the complete package. We are in the dark whether or not she will stay 640 metres if reaching the final. I’ve checked her breeding and her mother stayed all day. But she was slow and looks a bit of a plodder, so we cannot take too much from that. Certainly, looking at the way she runs, she could stay very well. But we have to get through the semi-finals first, and that cannot be taken for granted. There are some very good dogs in stake but if she runs as well as we know she can she must have a very good chance.”

How the First Round heats unfolded

Heat 1: Shaneboy Freddie instigated what would be a 15-1 double for trainer Kevin Boon when breaking well and making all from what had appeared beforehand a difficult draw in trap five. But the experience and canny three-year-old broke quickly and when made for the inside when scoring by a length from Geelo Bullet in 27.70sec (0.20secslow).

 

Heat 2: The lightly-raced Worsboro Zebo maintained a good run of form when landing the second heat from trap four. The John Sharp-trained dog made it three wins from his last four starts when converting a first-bend lead into a three-length winning margin over Saffrons Tina in 28.03sec (0.20sec slow). The runner-up, trained by Mark Wallis, rode as couple of setbacks during the race to secured a place in the semi-final draw.

Heat 3: The talented Ballymac Ramsey, competing in only his second race of the year, produced an eye-catching performance to score by almost four lengths. Last year’s Racing Post Juvenile winner didn’t give those that had backed him at 4-7 a moment’s worry when making all to post 27.50sec (0.20sec slow). Swift Hansel moved into second soon after the start and stayed there. Only the first two qualify for the semi-finals.

 

Heat 4: Murrays Act was a strong-running winner of the Racing Post Juvenile over 480 metres at Central Park earlier in the month so the writing was pretty much on the wall when the March ’15 hit the front early to complete a double for trainer Kevin Boon. The son of Tullymurry Act went on to score by four lengths in 27.48sec (0.20sec slow). Geelo Sapphire, the 6-4 favourite, was forced into a cameo role from the outset.

 

Heat 5: Stay Loose got home by a shade under three lengths from Droopys Rogue in a race marred by trouble. It was no wonder the winning time of 28.03sec (0.20sec slow) was the slowest of the round given the amount of bumping and crowding in the contest. The Charlie Lister-trained Stay Loose, the odds-on favourite, took it up at the fourth bend from Fearsome Folly and pulled away to score. As a form guide, this race would serve little purpose.

 

Heat 6: The talent that is Droopys Live took her record to seven from 10 since arriving in this country back in October with a sizzling success in the final first round heat. The Elaine Parker-trained daughter of Tullymurry Act was always in the driving seat when starting well from trap four to score by a shade over two lengths from Coolykereen Rake in 27.57sec (0.20sec slow). The runner-up broke well and had every chance.