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Betfred Steel City Cup - Sheffield 500m - £10,000


THE stage is set for a terrific Betfred Steel City Cup Final card at Sheffield on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports, after Tuesday’s semi-finals of the track’s oldest competition and the supporting heats of the George Carrigill Memorial Race were staged at the Owlerton venue.


The two semi-finals of the Steel City Cup (500m) were won by the Norman Melbourne-trained Yahoo Benny (28.93sec) and Ricjard Hanikanai’s Cappoquin Jack (28.83sec), although the successes were landed in contrasting ways.


First up was local runner Yahoo Benny who started well, favoured the rails, and just made the bend ahead of Tynwald Baz. The winner slipped clear, although Laurence Tuffin’s dog gamely kept on to finish second, a length and a quarter lengths behind, with Kevin Boon’s Shaneboy Bowie back in third.


It means Tynwald Baz lines up in a second consecutive Steel City Cup final having finished runner-up to Kelly Macari’s Pinpoint Den last year.


The second semi-final saw Elaine Parker’s Dropzone cut loose in a bid to make it ten straight wins on the spin. He led everywhere expect the line, however, as equally in-form Cappoquin Jack caught him close home after closing into the third bend before going on.


Third place here went to Shaneboy Freddie, as Kevin Boon’s evergreen Sussex Cup champion made yet another major final.


The supporting George Carrigill Memorial Race heats, also over 500m, saw a fastest time of the night clocked by Elaine Parker’s 28.54sec as the popular local bitch made a winning return after a spell off to score by three and a half lengths from Carl Perry’s Geelo Monty.


Parker’s Blackstone Lyric (29.12sec) led home kennelmate Slaneyside Bingo by one and three-quarter lengths in heat one, giving the local handler three finalists, before Lowther Stakes and 3 Steps to Victory winner Geelo Sapphire easily landed the odds in heat three in 28.89sec.


That gives Carl Perry two finalists - and sets up a fascinating re-match between Geelo Sapphire and Droopys Live, two hugely popular performers.


“It looks a great race. Sapphire’s a great bitch for Carl and beat us in the 3 Steps, but we’re just delighted to see Droopys Live back to her old self,” said trainer Parker. “She hadn’t run since a Derby Trial Stakes at Towcester, and the Lowther came too soon, but she’s a very classy bitch.


“We’re in the final and thankfully will be there in force next Tuesday - which is great for the kennel at our home track. Dropzone goes in the Steel City Cup final and he’s been in fantastic form. His winning run had to come to an end at some stage, but he remains a star.”


Parker has won the Steel City Cup three times - with Rhincrew Santini (2004), Skywalker Louie (2012) and Pay Freeze (2013) - and Dropzone will represent her in Tuesday’s final both as a trainer and owner, given she and husband Mick own shares, along with Pip Pearson and Paul Needham.