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Ladbrokes Gold Collar - Crayford 540m - £8,000


MAYSHIGHLANDREEL landed Martyn Wiley his first Category One success in the Ladbrokes Gold Collar final at Crayford on Tuesday - and, on a fantastic night for the Romford trainer and connections of the winner, she broke the track record for the 540-metre trip in the process!


Pacing up well as the April 15 daughter of Kinloch Brae and Mays Maska looked to defend an unbeaten record in the £8,000-to-the-winner former Catford and Belle Vue Classic, Mayshighlandreel nosed in front of fast-starting Bubbly McCoy as the bend approached and was soon in command and on her way to a famous success.


Never headed thereafter, the Mccade Hire Ltd-owned runner kept her rivals at bay as she drew further away as the line approached to win from the game Oakfield Caesar and the staying-on Shaneboy Bowie in 33.09sec (+50), half a length quicker than the previous best figures for the trip held by Sunshine Sophie, set in February 2004.


Reflecting on his first major success, trainer Wiiley said: “I’m delighted for the staff and for May herself. It’s of course great to win a Cat One, and that’s the pinnacle of what we work for - but for us and our owners, every victory is special. All our runners are treated in the same way - but we’ve always known she was special.


“I suppose she was late to come to herself, but we knew we had something when she won a maiden stayers event at Romford, and then trialled well at Crayford. We had high hopes for the Gold Collar, because Crayford seems to suit her style of running - and it’s showed.


“I’ve talked about a flat spot she had at Romford it seems between the third and fourth bends, but the bends come quicker at Crayford and that’s helped her keep the challengers at bay - and, anyway, not sure what sort of flat spot that is when she’s broken the track record - they don't come easily!”


Wiley has suggested a return to Crayford for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket in the new year is likely when a step up in trip will be considered. Before then her target will be the Coral Essex Vase at home track Romford. “She’ll be kept ticking over with a few races before then,” he added.


Wiley paid particular tribute to his assistant Abbie Georghoudis. “All the staff do such a great job - and full credit to them especially when I was away recently when May won the comp at Romford. They kept the show on the road in fantastic style - and it’s much appreciated. I’m lucky to have a really good team here at Gables Kennels.


“Thanks also to all at Crayford. They treated us royally on the night and it’s very special to have our name on the roll of honour of such a great race.”


Slippy Maska (56.06sec, +80), a sister of the Gold Collar champion, made it a real family double as the Hazel Kemp-trained stayer also made all to win the £3,000 Ladbrokes Kent Cesarewitch, while the £5,000 Ladbrokes Guys & Dolls again went to the ‘guys’ as local handler Arun Green’s Pure Placere (23.09sec, +20) dominated from pillar to post.


Danny Rayment, racing manager at Crayford, was delighted with the evening, which featured live on Sky Sports. “Mayshighlandreel was a very deserving winner of the Gold Collar - breaking a 13-year-old track record in doing so - so well done to Martyn [Wiley] has his team who have clearly done a fantastic job with her.


“She’s improved massively in recent months and deserves now to be mentioned amongst the great winners of the Gold Collar that I’ve seen, such as Dempseys Whisper, Westmead Suprise, Roxholme Girl and that great Crayford bitch Pure Patches.


“I was also absolutely delighted for Arun and Belinda Green on winning the Guys & Dolls. Arun hasn't been in the best of health in recent years so hopefully this will be a massive tonic for him - Belinda and her mum Terry are doing a fantastic job with the day to day running of the kennels.”


Crayford results: