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Bresmed Northern Sprint - Sheffield 280M - £8,000

WITH just two runners from each of the six round heats progressing to the semi-finals of the Bresmed Northern Sprint those that have reached Tuesday’s penultimate stage have done so in environment of fine margins.

The cut and thrust world of sprint racing is unforgiving and the slightest mistake is mercilessly punished. The dozen taking part in Tuesday’s semi-finals over 280 metres at Sheffield have truly earned their place there.

The first semi-final is easily the strongest. There are four heat winners and two who finished second but were strongly fancied to win.

One of those is Hiya Butt, winner of the Laurels at Belle Vue at the end of last year and the third-placed runner in what was the last English Derby at Wimbledon last summer. The dog trained by Hayley Keightley had to draw on all his class to salvage second place when it looked as though third was the best he could hope for turning for home in the semi-finals.

In the end, he was comfortably beaten by Forest Natalie, who re-opposes tonight, although few would back against him turning the tables.

There is, however, the little matter of a top-class line-up that also includes other first round winners Beat Surrender, Ele Ela Genie and Walk The Talk, in addition to opening stage runner-up Trapstyle Jet. It promises to be a cracker.

Toolmaker Rambo, trained by Paul Young at Romford, looks a bit better than those he opposes in the second semi-final. Only Yahoo Benny, in the care of the locally-based Norman Melbourne, also won a first round heat in this semi-final.

The First Semi-Final

1 Trapstyle Jet

2 Hiya Butt

3 Ela Ela Genie

4 Beat Surrender

5 Forest Natalee (m)

6 Walk The Talk (w)



The Second Semi-Final

1 Mashmad Eyebrows

2 Pinpoint Paulo

3 Yahoo Benny

4 Toolmaker Rambo

5 Worsboro Spectre (m)

6 Brynoff Jasmin (w)


Heat One

Beat Surrender left nothing to chance with a slick start. The Carol Weatherall-trained runner held a narrow lead over Rollinginthedeep until the first bend at which point he kicked clear as Brian Thompson’s dog was forced to check. Brynoffa Jasmin avoided trouble by staying wide and the Mark Wallis-trained dog secured the remaining qualifying position. The winning time was 16.11sec (normal) and the distance was two and a quarter lengths.

Heat Two

Ante-post favourite Hiya Butt was expected to cruise through to the semi-finals from trap three here but in the end the dog that finished third in the English Derby final scrapped through in second. The winner was the Kevin Hutton-trained Forest Natalee, who is yet another member of that prolific May ’15 Ballymac Vic – Droopys Danneel litter. The Towcester bitch didn’t trap well but she showed cracking pace to the bend to take it up and score by four and a half lengths in 16.12sec. (normal).

Heat Three

Yahoo Benny gave the locals what was to be the only winner of the round. Norman Melbourne’s daughter of Mall Brandy was very quickly into stride which put her in a great position to repel the challenge from Trapstyle Jet, the 2-1 favourite, who closed late on but failed by a short-head to catch the ultra-game 16.21sec (normal) winner.

Heat Four

That smashing sprinter Ela Ela Genie came off best here. The Towcester dog was quickly into stride and didn’t give the others a look in as he kicked on to score by two and a three quarter lengths in 15.82sec (normal) – the fastest time of the year. Worsboro Spectre, a finalist in the event last year, chased the winner home. Coolavanny Frank, the favourite and beaten when the market leader in the British Bred Sprint at Henlow the Sunday before, was never in the race after making a slow start.

Heat Five

Toolmakers Rambo gave favourite backers their only success of the round by trapping with speed and quickly putting space between himself and the others. Mashmad Eyebrows finished best of the rest of a field reduced to five runners by the withdrawal of the lame Rappers Station. Toolmakers Rambo stopped the clock at 15.88sec (normal) when scoring by three and a half lengths.

Heat Six

Walk The Talk landed his second straight sprint – both of which have been by the same four lengths margin – with a smart victory in 16,18sec (normal). Roxholme Hat, a dog that has been carrying all before him in contests over course and distance, didn’t trap quickly enough and was unable to get past a wall of dogs when accelerating into the first turn. Walk The Talk, meanwhile, secured a smooth run around the outside to win from Pinpoint Paulo.