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Coral Coronation Cup - Romford 575 - £5,000

SHOTGUN BULLET landed Hove trainer Derek Knight a second victory in the Coral Coronation Cup as the two-year-old duly completed a unbeaten run through the Romford event to claim the £5,000 prize and add to the success of his Fatboyz Zorro in 2010.

 

On a night when one of the most popular owners of recent times was remembered courtesy of the Mitch Millward Memorial Marathon, a famous double might well have been on the cards as his Maireads Ivy paced up in the 750m decider before finding trouble.

 

“I thought Maireads Ivy was desperate behind a very good bitch in Goldies Hotspur - and one day we will draw trap one! - but Bullet was great and seems to run Romford so well. In that respect he reminds me so much of our Fivestar Clipper.

 

“He’s got lots of speed and stays 575m well, and I’m pretty sure he’d stay further. We tried him over 695m at Hove but the short run to the bend didn’t help him, but this works for him and once in front after he’s broken like that he had every chance.

 

“He’s one of those greyhounds who we’ve got a few options for. Everything is on the table - the Golden Jacket is a possible and at some point he might also have a spin round Towcester. You wouldn’t even rule out a crack at the Derby, but we’ll see.

 

“It’s just nice for the owners. John Ward heads up the Solid Money Syndicate which owns him, and one of his friends and fellow owners is Jim Hay. He owns racehorses, but Friday was the first time he’d been to see Bullet run. The perfect night!”

 

Knight and Ward’s association goes back to the successes of Smoking Bullet, a dual Derby finalist and Sussex Cup champion they shared with Vinnie Jones. For his part, Shotgun Bullet also fires from the boxes - and was soon in command and on his way to victory on Friday.

 

Never looking likely to be picked up, he crossed the line eight lengths clear of Romeo

Mandate, clocking 35.25sec (-20), the latter recovering well after early trouble to chase home the winner as one of three John Mullins-trained finalists in the Coronation Cup.

 

Sharing centre-stage at Romford on Friday was the Mitch Millward Memorial Marathon, and a close finish resulted in victory for the Patrick Janssens-trained Goldies Hotspur as she held the finish of Rylane Dash by a short-head to grab gold in 47.96sec (-40).

 

Rubys Rascal, the St Leger winner, was sent off a warm favourite and managed to get clear of his field, but TV Trophy champion Goldies Hotspur was soon on his tail and hit the front at the sixth bend before holding the Crayford raider by the minimum margin.

 

For trainer Janssens, it kick-started 2018 in the best possible style. Last week it was confirmed that he will line up in his first Trainers’ Championship meeting at Towcester on Saturday, March 24, where he will feature as one of the top six trainers from 2017.

 

Janssens will take his chance alongside champion trainer Mark Wallis, Seamus Cahill, Paul Young, Charlie Lister OBE and Kevin Hutton, with the latter looking to make it four successive Trainers’ Championship meetings in a row after wins at Central Park (twice) and Towcester last year.