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William Hill All England Cup - Newcastle 480m - £10,000

Affane Party showing early pace at Yarmouth last month 


AFFANE PARTY stole the show at Newcastle on Thursday as John Lambe’s superstar roared to victory in comfortably the fastest time of the William Hill All England Cup heats (480m).

A brilliant winner of the Yarmouth Derby, the sprinter-turned crack four-bend performer won the early-paced battle as he blasted to a rapid 4.56sec split on his way to romping to a five-length victory over Droopys Verve in an exceptional 28.10sec (normal).

Angela Harrison’s Derby runner-up and ante-post favourite missed the break and had to ride a bump off the first and second bends to qualify in behind the Perry Barr raider, who is now vying for favouritism for the £10,000 Category One prize.

His trainer Lambe was naturally delighted afterwards, commenting: “It was great run, but he’s tired this morning which is usual - he’s a dog that puts it all in. But he’ll be fine and we’re looking forward to the semis - and the draw’s been okay to him. 

“Usually you’d be about 70 per cent coming into a competition but given how good that heat was - it could have been the final - you couldn't take any chances, so we had to press a few more buttons with him.

“We probably did more before a first round with him, but he responded well as you could see. We got the run on (Droopys) Verve, but he’s a class act and is still the one to beat in the competition. We’ve just got to keep on trapping, which he’s doing okay at the moment.”

The heats kicked off with Falcon Bay making all the running for Billy Thomson in 28.57sec, beating Newcastle competition winner Jaguar Jack, while Greenwell Jet (Pat Flaherty) struck in heat three. The Scottish raider came through strongly in a muddling affair, in a heat which saw runner-up Glengiblin Steve disqualified.

The locals had reason to cheer in heat four, courtesy of Steve Anderson’s Bramble Milburn. He was quickly away and won by three-and-quarter lengths in 28.53sec from Carriglong Conor and Sunderland Classic winner Allowdale Bruno.

Anderson was to land a double in heat six with Bramble Reggie leading early on his way to win in 28.41sec from Kelly Macari’s Pinpoint Junior, after Macari’s veteran Skywalker Manner had rolled back the years to win heat five in all-the-way style in 28.78sec.

Commentating on the night, Mark Cranston had a bird’s eye view of proceedings and was suitably impressed by Affane Party, although described the night’s action as providing “one of the most eventful night's action ever seen at Brough Park”.

 He said: “The night had it all. We had two disqualifications, which was unfortunate, but we got the usual array of top drawer performances and also a number of well-fancied eliminations. 

 “Affane Party was just magnificent. Many will argue that it could have been different story had Droopys Verve trapped a lot better and escaped first-bend trouble, but judging by the time Affane Party clocked, it was always going to be his night.

 “They’ve missed each other in the semis, but I fancy we might see the rematch in the final, and then a lot will depend on the draw. However, they deserve to be at the top of the market on their achievements so far, although there’s still a long way to go.

“The locals had a decent night given Newcastle trainers won three of the heats, but we also lost some real talent which was surprising - but then the All England Cup can have a habit of causing shocks as proven on Thursday.”


Trap draw for Thursday’s semi-finals:-


First semi: 1 Burgess Ronnie, 2 Affane Party, 3 Holdem Zidane (m), 4 Carriglong Conor (m), 5 Allowdale Bruno (w), 6 Pinpoint Junior (w).


Second semi: 1 Skywalker Manner, 2 Vacant, 3 Fawn Tango (m), 4 Bramble Reggie (m), 5 Droopys Verve (m), 6 Gazilly Shay (w).


Third semi: 1   Jaguar Jack, 2 Greenwell Jet, 3 Toolmaker Maxwel (m), 4 Falcon Bay (m), 5 Bramble Milburn (m), 6 Toolmaker Higgy (w).