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


SHOTGUN BULLET, trained by Derek Knight for John Ward’s Solid Money Syndicate, landed his second major success of 2018 as he ran away with the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket Final at Crayford on Tuesday, clocking 44.95sec (+40) for the 714m trip, to give the Hove-based handler a fifth victory in the popular betting shop annual.


Some 34 years after Amazing Man’s 1984 triumph at Harringay for owner Victor Chandler, the recent Coronation Cup winner continued his terrific run of form as he added his name to an impressive roll of honour also occupied by Knight’s Wexford Minx (1994-95) and Coolmona Road (1996).


“He’s run another great race, and we’re delighted,” said Knight. “I didn’t think he trapped that well, but he had the pace to get inside the five (Piemans Jet) at the bend and then went on. Superstitiously I watched the race from the paddock again and saw it head-on, so was happy and relieved to see him pass me in front!


“Crayford’s been good to me over the years, and hopefully it continues. Amazing Man’s win was at Harringay, but Wexford Minxand Coolmona Road were here, as was Maireads Ivy recently in the Kent St Leger and Boxing Day Marathon. She's in season at the moment, but we’re looking forward to getting her back on track in the coming weeks. She’s a great bitch too.”


Knight thanked his staff, led by partner Maria Ansbro. “Maria and the team do such a fantastic job, Maria with ‘Gunner’ especially,” added Knight. “It looked touch and go whether the meeting would be on this morning - we lost Hove this afternoon - but fair play to all the team here because the track has held up very well tonight.”


Shotgun Bullet, formerly known as Maireads Sky in Ireland where he was a race winner at Enniscorthy, was bred by Joe Horan in Co. Kildare, but was ‘spotted’ by Fraser Black, revealed Knight, who was then delighted to welcome back into the sport John Ward, whose Solid Money Syndicate owns the October 2015 son of Kinloch Brae and Winning Impact.


“John had Smoking Bullet with me, who reached two Derby finals, as well as dogs such as Smoking Wardy and Smoking Baby. He’d been out of the game for a while, but we kept in touch and perhaps it needed a special dog like this to get his juices flowing again! He’s done us all proud, for sure.”


The Coral Essex Vase (starts Friday) had been considered a target for Shotgun Bullet given his C&D success at Romford recently in the Coronation Cup. However, the Derby is now the main aim for the two-year-old. “He’ll have a month off now and then we’ll look for a trial at Towcester. He’s got plenty of speed for a staying type, so hopefully handles it well,” he added. 


Danny Rayment, Crayford racing manager, was full of praise for the winner, commenting: “He’s run the track fantastically well from start to finish and has dominated this year’s Golden Jacket. It’s the 44th running of this great competition and it’s been top-class again. It’s kick-started our open-race year is great style.


“I have to say well done to the runner-up Mrs Roo, as well. She has done Simon Harms proud and showed real quality to not just qualify from a difficult position in the semis, but also run well in the final. It’s a great achievement of Simon’s to have a Golden Jacket second and, like the winner, we hope she’s back next year aiming to go one better.


“I have to say a huge well done to the groundstaff, led by head groundsman Dave Barfoot but able supported by Paul Lewer, aka Spooner! They’ve done a great job helping us stage two meetings despite the weather. The track held up fine, and the Golden Jacket meeting especially was run in pretty good conditions - albeit it was bitterly cold.


“We had a few non-runners on the night, but that was mainly because one of our trainers Julie Luckhurst was literally snowed in around her kennels in deepest Kent. But the other trainers, including those open-race handlers, did great to make it here. In the circumstances we had a decent Tuesday night crowd also.”