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SIS Yorkshire St Leger - Doncaster 661m - £12,000


THE stage is set for a superb SIS Yorkshire St Leger final at Doncaster on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, as the semi-finals of the £12,000 showpiece produced two top-quality 661m races.


Charlie Lister’s Swift Hansel (pictured above in the red jacket) and Jason Bloomfield’s Russelena Reggie took the plaudits, winning their respective semis, although last year’s champion Rubys Rascal was among those who missed out, crowded out of contention.


Swift Hansel, runner-up in the Grand Prix at Sunderland, paced up in the first semi posting a 14.57sec split on his way to a 41.68sec success over Dinnington Lady, who kept on well to close the gap to a half a length at the line.

The June 2015 daughter of Pinpoint Maxi came through a run-off on Monday after dead-heating for the third place in last week’s heats, and remains in tip-top form. Jetstream Lynx finished third here to make the midweek decider.

The second semi saw the Nottingham Select Stayers winner Russelena Reggie continue his fine 2017 as the Henlow raider benefited from his return from a spell off before the heats to make all from Keplar Nine and Cuba Libre in 41.74sec. Kelli Windebank, partner and assistant to the winner's trainer, said:

"We are over moon that Reggie is taking his place in a Cat One final and such a prestigious one at that! We really feel he's earned the honour to be there.


"He went into Doncaster after a break following his Nottingham. The plan was always to have him fresh for this comp and hoped he'd be good enough just to qualify in the heat and would come on for the semi. Now we're looking forward to the final!


"Reggie was under pressure early on in the semi but was so game to win off the front. The final looks very tough indeed, but we're happy with our draw and Reggie will be there running for his prize - the teddy at the pick-up!"



The two semi-finals of the British-bred BGBF Oaks were both won by Richard Devenish-trained littermates as Thameside Bound and Tea For Tess, both from a home-bred September 2015 Head Bound-Milliesupreme batch, scored in 29.63sec and 29.71sec respectively.

Doncaster racing manager Stephen Gray said: “Thankfully after the drama of the heats with the void race and the dead-heat for third, and then the run-off, Saturday’s semi-finals were easier on the heart-rate!

“Both semi-final winners benefitted from a lead, although I have to say Derek Ogden’s Dinnington Lady ran another great race. She tried hard to get to Charlie’s [Lister] Swift Hansel and wasn’t beaten that far in the end.

“Similarly, in the second semi Russelena Reggie showed great pace to lead, but I thought Cuba Libre possibly left time on the track through a troubled passage initially, and did well to put himself in the race from the fourth bend.

“The draw is interesting. Keplar Nine might have been better suited to trap six, and Jetstream Lynx and Dinnington Lady, might have preferred trap four. I fully expect Swift Hansel to lead up

As for the British-bred Oaks event, RM Gray added: “Thameside Bound is a beautiful bitch of Richard Devenish’s, and Richard has a huge hand in the competition clearly winning both semis!

“Thameside showed the benefit of last week’s race in the heats, although perhaps lacks the early some of the others. Tea For Tess missed the break yet showed great pace to get to the front at the turn. She’s possibly the one to beat, although Acomb Ruby is a definite runner in the final, no question, from her inside draw."

He added: “The Poole bitch Sevenofnine has super pace up, although just doesn’t quite get home - perhaps a slower track didn’t suit here. The track got slower as the night became bitterly cold.

“Burnfoot Dolly is very useful and connections will fancy their chances am sure - but it’s a very good final. My thanks to both SIS and to Stuart Forsdike and his team at the British Breeders Forum.

“The finals, plus a strong supporting card, will help us put on a real show for the Sky Sports and SIS cameras on Wednesday. All of us at Doncaster are looking forward to the night, and we plan to stage a top-class night’s racing.”

Form and draws for Wednesday’s finals: