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Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford 714m - £17,500

SHOTGUN BULLET (pictured above) justified his position as ante-post favourite for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket with another authoritative success in the third semi-final of the 714m annual at Crayford on Tuesday.


Derek Knight’s star, who arrived at the Kent track as winner already this year of the Coronation Cup at Romford, trapped well and paced up to lead his main market rival Mrs Roo, and was never headed thereafter.


Repelling the challenge before halfway of Heroic Miss, the October 2015 whelp pulled steadily clear to beat Mrs Roo by seven lengths in 45.79sec (-40). Simon Harms’s bitch lost her position in the middle part of the race but stayed on well to qualify.


Piemans Jet, running for the David Mullins kennel, had earlier landed a 10-1 surprise in the second semi-final as he was always in the front rank before pulling clear off the last bend to cross the line one and a quarter lengths clear of the rallying Goldies Hotspur.


Fastest actual time in the semi-finals was posted by another big-priced winner in the shape of first semi-final victor Cincinnati, who paced up handily and withstood a series of challenges on the first lap, notably from kennelmates Garryglass Champ and Roswell Romanov.


Never shaken off his stride, the April 15 son of Vans Escalade kept on well to score by two and a quarter lengths clear of another kennelmate in the form of St Leger champion Rubys Rascal to give Mark Wallis two chances in Tuesday’s £17,500 final.


Wallis said: “It’s great to have two runners in what is always a great competition, and one which we’ve a decent record in. It’s great for Rubys Rascal to reach his fifth Category One and he’s a battle-hardened competition dog.


“He won the Leger last year and the Yorkshire Leger the year before but has also made a host of semi-finals including in this competition last year, so it’s good to see him still retaining his ability. He’s not far off 100 races.


“It’s great for his owner John Clarke, and he has a major chance from trap one. Remember in a supporting race to the final last year he did a magnificent 44.87sec - some 40 spots faster than Boylesports Star did in the final.


“But we were also delighted with Cincinnati on Tuesday. He’s owned by the World Syndicate which includes myself and is headed by Paul Ephremsen. The syndicate has had to be patient, but it’s now paid off with a place in a major final.


“After a promising start to his career at Towcester he suffered a rare injury where he chipped a bone on his elbow and was off the track for nearly four months, missing most of his puppy career.


“When he came back, we stepped him up to six bends and he’s been running mainly in S1s at Towcester with the odd open-race entry. He turns three in April but is fairly lightly raced so he is still improving. He won his semi-final entirely on merit.


“Unlike Rascal, who is fairly laid back, ‘Marvin’ is full of energy and would knock you over to get a cuddle or a bit of attention! Both were bred by Ian Greaves which is another major achievement for Ian.”


Wallis has an incredible record in the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy with Imperial Kennels having won the last six runnings of the 540m competition which supports the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket. They have two runners in Tuesday’s decider.


“It’s great to have qualified both Saleen Ash and Ninja Penny,” he added. “I was particularly impressed with Saleen Ash who is owned by Mike Davis. He’s been in and out of form since he arrived here last year but is coming to hand nicely.


“I really like this dog and he has a major chance, although rule out Ninja Penny at your peril. She’s lightly-raced having only had nine races and is owned by Terry Coveney. She’s done well to make the final after missing her break.


“If she comes away she’s not without a chance and is a very promising stayer in the making - she could be one of our future stars. But it’s a race which I’m looking at some two or three months before it starts which is very rare for me as I don’t usually work more than a week ahead!


“It’d be great to make it a seventh in a row in the Peter Bussey!” concluded Wallis, whose Saleen Ash (34.09sec, -20) was the fastest heat winner. John Mullins’ duo of Droopys Who (34.16sec, -20) and Oakfield Caesar (34.87sec, -30) were the other semi-final winners.


Tuesday’s finals, live on SIS:


Ladbrokes Golden Jacket: 1 Rubys Rascal, 2 Cincinnati, 3 Shotgun Bullet (m), 4 Mrs Roo (m), 5 Piemans Jet (m), 6 Goldies Hotspur (m) (4-1).


Peter Bussey Memorial: 1 Droopys Who, 2 Ninja Penny (m), 3 Romeo Mandate (m), 4 Oakfield Caesar (w), 5 Droopys Jester (w), 6 Saleen Ash (w).