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Molson Coors 3 Steps to Victory - Sheffield 660M - £10,000

IT’S the moment of truth in the Molson Coors 3 Steps To Victory at Sheffield on Tuesday as those that have made their way through the preliminaries over 480 and 500 metres step up to 660 metres for the £10,000 Category One final.

Five of the sextet are going into unknown territory, the exception being Swift Hansel, who only last December won the heats and final of the Sheffield Stayers Stakes over course and distance.

It’s the expectation of the unexpected that makes this unique competition so captivating and the final on Tuesday is sure to be an absolute thriller as reputations are enhanced or diminished on the Owlerton sand.

From a bookmaker’s perspective, the diversity in distance between the semi-finals and final means the odds compiler must draw on all their expertise to get the odds right.

To that end, the layers reckon Droopys Live is the one to beat. The bitch trained by Elaine Parker, who secured the inaugural running of the 3 Steps To Victory with Tucks Mein in 2003, is easily the youngest in the line-up and she has given every indication thus far that the six-bend distance won’t compromise her potency.

The daughter of Tullymurry Act won at the first round stage but she was perhaps even more impressive in the semi-finals, when, despite her defeat by a length and a half at the hands of Shaneboy Freddie, she showed huge resolve and plenty of stamina to get as close to the winner as she did after a troubled path.

Ballymac Ramsey is the quickest of the two runners to have reached the final unbeaten. Barrie Draper’s winner of the 2016 Racing Post Juvenile hasn’t been over six bends since he was caught by Ferryforth Fran in the final Ladbrokes Summer Classic over 630 metres at Monmore last summer.

The son of Droopys Scolari has outstanding pace but on the evidence from Monmore he might struggle over the final 30-40 metres at this distance, which could open the race up to others.

He is, however, with a top class trainer who conjured a track record breaking performance from the immense talent that was Ballymac Eske when landing this event back in 2014. Draper also took the annual in 2004 with Farloe Hack and clearly has the knack for this type of event.

Kevin Boon has also won the 3 Steps To Victory. That was in 2015 with Farneys Cookie and the Kings Lynn-based trainer has a very serious chance with Shaneboy Freddie, who, like Ballymac Ramsey, has reached the final without suffering a defeat.

The fact that Shaneboy Freddie has winning form over 575 metres at Romford at the backend of January means we have something to go on in terms of the likelihood of him getting the trip. There is little doubt he has the pace to be well placed on the first circuit.

Saffrons Tina represents last year’s winning trainer Mark Wallis. I think it is fair to say that this daughter of Head Bound isn’t quite as classy as Patches Kerry, Wallis’ 2016 heroine, but she has winning form over 575 metres and is a serious contender for her trainer who has an uncanny ability to coax a big run from his charges when the situation demands.

Geelo Sapphire seemed to stay on well over 550 metres at Henlow recently and has looked strong in the two rounds of this. The daughter of Ace Hi Rumble has been slightly overshadowed by some of the speedier four-bend types but she might well come into her own over the extended distance.

Those same sentiments apply to Swift Hansel. She is the only running in the line-up with proven form over course and distance and on that basis alone, the bitch who ran a cracker behind Ballymac Ramsey merits huge respect.

 

The Draw

1 Geelo Sapphire

2 Ballymac Ramsey

3 Shaneboy Freddie

4 Droopys Live

5 Saffrons Tina (m)

6 Swift Hansel

 

 

 

HOW THE SEMI-FINALS UNFOLDED

 

First Semi-Final

The early pace was provided by Droopys Rogue who took them along until the third bend at which point Shaneboy Freddie wrested the advantage. Droopys Live had been poised to strike at this point but was forced to check her stride in behind but stayed on well to finish second to Shaneboy Freddie who kept up his unbeaten run in the competition by a length and a half in 28.93sec (normal). Droopys Rogue having set off so promisingly was unable to maintain the gallop and ultimately ended up out of the frame as Saffrons Tina stayed on best for third. The first three qualified for the final.

 

Second Semi-Final

This was all about a powerful front-running performance from the ultra-talented local Ballymac Ramsey. The three-year-old quickly sprinted into the lead from trap four and was always going best when scoring by a shade over a length from Swift Hansel in 28.62sec (normal). The second was well-placed throughout but was unable to go with the smart pace up front. The talented Murrys Act had a pitch in third in the early stages and something may have gone amiss with Kevin Bonn’s dog given the way he faded in the closing stages. That just isn’t his running. Third place and a spot in the final went to Geelo Sapphire for Carl Perry.