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Coral Golden Sprint and Coral Essex Vase - Romford 400m/575m - £10,000/£10,000


ANTE-POST favourite Kilmore Lemon (pictured) kicked off his Coral Golden Sprint campaign in the best possible style at Romford on Monday afternoon as Patrick Janssens’ dog made all to add to a burgeoning reputation as one of the leading sprinters in training.


On an afternoon when both the Golden Sprint and Coral Essex Vase heats were staged - rearranged from Friday’s cancelled meeting due to travel conditions faced by trainers and staff - Kilmore Lemon announced his intentions to lift the £10,000 prize.


“He’s all about early and middle pace and ran very well in a tough heat,” said Janssens. “He only turned two last month and we’d hope there’s more to come. Being the Golden Sprint, his semi-final is a good one, but the draw has worked out well. If he can make the bend we’re hopeful.”


Kilmore Lemon stopped the clock in 23.87sec (+10) for the 400m trip as he led home Kent Derby champ Bockos Alfie in heat three, although it was Romford Puppy Cup third Headford Kev who posted the fastest time as he completed a Golden Sprint double for his trainer Kevin Hutton.


The youngster, behind Roxholme Nidge and King Elvis in the Puppy Cup, won heat four in a fastest-of-the-day 23.78sec, with the Towcester trainer having won heat two also as Henlow track record-breaker Forest Chunk rode a bump at the turn before going on to score in 23.84sec.


The other Golden Sprint heats were won by Paul Dale’s runaway winner Bar The Warrior (23.92sec) in heat one, while local trainer Phillip Simmonds matched Hutton’s earlier feat by landing an impressive double courtesy of Droopys Baggio (23.92sec) and Miss Boley (23.82sec), who won heats five and six respectively.


The Golden Sprint heats were followed by a sextet of Coral Essex Vase qualifiers over 575m and last year’s Coronation Cup winner Roswell Romanov returned to a happy hunting ground with another Romford victory - and posted the fastest time in the process.


Mark Wallis’s dog paced up to lead approaching the second bend to win in 34.98sec (normal) in heat two and is now a clear favourite for the £10,000 prize which, like the Golden Sprint, will be concluded with a gala card at the Essex track on Friday week.


Phillip Simmonds and Kevin Hutton, amongst the winners in the Golden Sprint, scored again in the Essex Vase courtesy of heat three winner Ridgedale Max (35.44sec) and Bit View Knight (35.70sec) respectively, while Patrick Janssens sent out heat one winner Slick Sphinx (35.08sec).


Janssens said: “Slick Sphinx came to me at 14 months and I took him to Mildenhall for his first two trials and told Keith (Allsop, owner) that he could run. He finished his qualifying at Towcester and won on debut there in an A6.


“In the higher grades he doesn't have the early pace for the 480m there so we took him to Romford. He found trouble over 400m, but 575m was always the plan and that’s been the making of this pup - remember he’s only an April 16. He’s an exciting dog, and will stay further.


“He won in 35.19sec before the competition and has improved on that again on Monday. It was a very good heat too, with Droopys Giorgio and Murrys Act, so it’s great to be in the semis and he won fair and square. The draw in five is okay, but really can’t afford a mistake at the start.”


The other Essex Vase heats were won by the David Mullins-trained Sneezys Flo, who landed a 16-1 surprise but a fully deserved victory in heat five in 35.78sec, while fellow Romford handler Paul Young weighed in with heat six victor Glamorous Sharif in 35.35sec.