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Betfred Gymcrack - Kinsley 462m - £8,000

IT’S always a mark of the growing significance of a competition when it begins to appeal to overseas trainers. So, the fact that greyhounds trained in Ireland have competed in the Betfred Gymcrack at Kinsley for the first time is a sign that its importance as a juvenile event is growing.

Cometwopass was one of a couple of dogs entered by County Kilkenny trainer Peter Cronin and the son of Ballymac Eske is the red-hot favourite with the bookmakers for Tuesday’s final after winning both preliminary rounds of this £8,000-to-the-winner competition. The fast-starting brindle has taken well to the south Yorkshire track and on what we’ve seen thus far he will take all the beating.

Connections, however, will be alive to the danger posed by Ballymac Healy, who is inclined to make a beeline for the middle of the track from trap-rise.

It will be an early test of the alacrity, and agility, for Cometwopass to miss a knock from Ballymac Healy. If he does, I think it is fair to say it will take a huge run from one of the others to deny him the first prize.

Ballymac Healy lost his unbeaten tag when beaten by Sylvias Chloe at the semi-final stage but it would be folly to overlook the claims of Julie Bateson’s lightly-raced runner, particularly with the possibility of him.

The Other Billy, like Cometwopass, defends an unbeaten record in the competition. The quick-trapping and early pace he demonstrated at the semi-final stage was impressive to say the least and, given that further improvement is on the cards, he looks the most serious threat to Cometwopass.

Sylvias Chloe is drawn in trap six in this all-railers final. Richard Baker’s runner is the only bitch in the line-up but at 30-kilos she is more than equipped to take care of herself in what could be a quite testing dash to the first bend as the runners make a move for their preferred positions.

The Hall Green-based Sylvias Chloe has caught the eye during the competition and shouldn’t be dismissed but the draw could make life very difficult for her.

Neither Barricane Jack or Swift Chaser has scored in the event thus far. Both, however, deserve their place in the decider based to tough determined performances in the preliminary rounds and should not be ignored.

 

The draw for the final

1 Ballymac Healy

2 Cometwopass

3 The Other Billy

4 Barricane Jack

5 Swift Chaser

6 Sylvias Chloe

View from the racing office

Andrew Mascarenhas (Kinsley racing manager): “It’s a competition that continues to grow and we have a great final to look forward to. I have been impressed by the Irish dog (Cometwopass) and think he is the one they must beat. I thought he ran well after early trouble in the semi-final and he looks quick enough to get to the bend in front in the decider. It’s marvellous that the Irish have supported the event this year and it gives us something to build on.”

How the semi-finals were decided

First Semi-Final

Ballymac Healy was the odds-on favourite as he put his three-race unbeaten record on the line from what appeared a perfect draw in trap three. But it was Sylvias Chloe who stole the show with a slick start from trap one and a determined front-running performance. The dog trained by Richard Baker at Hall Green has been progressing nicely. She started off in A7 back in January and has now won seven from a dozen starts. Early pace is the name of the game for this July ’15 and she showed that in spades as she broke quickly and soon set about creating a lead. In the end, she had two and a half lengths to spare over Ballymac Healy, who was always second, in 27.31sec (0.20sec fast).

Second Semi-Final

The Other Billy made it three wins from four starts with another impressive win for Pat Rosney. The July ’15 whelp who started life at the famous O’Donnell Kennel in Killenaule, County Tipperary, showed a smart turn of early pace to lessen the impact of a difficult draw in trap five. The Other Billy was far enough clear to cut across to the rails at the first bend, which he did, and he heavyweight black went on to win by a length from the Patrick Janssen-trained Barricane Jack in 27.19sec (0.20sec fast). The latter broke well but was beaten for speed by The Other Billy and had to settle for a cameo role thereafter. The first two only qualify for the £8,000-to-the-winner final on Tuesday.

Third Semi-Final

Ireland has been represented for the first time in Gymcrack this year and in the shape of the Peter Cronin-trained Cometwopass the Emerald Isle seems to have an outstanding chance of making a winning debut. The June ’15 son of Ballymac Eske broke well but encountered a bit of bother on the run up when, cutting across from trap four, Dower Forgold hampered King Elvis, in trap three, and Cometwopass was also struck into. But he rode the bump well and went into the first bend in front and opened up along the far side to score by more than five lengths in 27.26sec (0.20sec fast). Swift Chaser was second.