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Bunny Gold Cup - Henlow 550m - £3,000



SLIPPY MAGGIE finished fastest of all to deny longtime leader Saleen Ash to win the rescheduled Bunny Bookmakers Gold Cup at Henlow on Thursday.


The Category Two decider was switched to a midweek date after hare problems following heavy rain caused a ‘no race’ on Sunday - and when the heavens opened as Michael Kemp, assistant and husband of trainer wife Hazel, arrived for kennelling at the Bedfordshire venue, connections feared the worst.


“Thankfully it didn’t hang around, and the track was in good condition. Henlow can get very wet and not helpful to the inside runners at times, but all was good,” said Hazel Kemp, who has outlined the Coral Regency as the next target for the impressive and improving April 16 daughter of Godsend and Mays Bodyguard.


She said: “When we got her from the Geoghegans, they told us she never liked to be beaten - even just racing up the field. She might have been unraced in Ireland, but that will-to-win they told us about is obvious. She just never gives up and that’s five wins from seven starts, and makes up for her defeat in the Maiden Gold Cup final at Henlow.


“She had trap six then in a field of railers and got caught up, but she got a chance to run in the final. I was watching at home with the grandchildren and we cheered her on. She was brilliant because Mark’s dog is a terrific dog himself, so to pick up him was a great effort and she’s living up to everything we were told about her.


“They said she was faster at that age than Slippy Maska, and given what she’s been doing for us, we weren't sure! But over six bends you’d say she is, although I think we’ll be sticking to a decent six bends with her. We’ve got Slippy Maska for marathons and events like the TV Trophy, but it’s just nice to have two really good bitches in the kennel.”


Owned by the Kemps, David Redmile and Craig Chesson, Slippy Maggie was in fourth place approaching halfway but moved powerfully through to challenge Saleen Ash after the latter had himself caught and passed fast-starting Always A King. Hitting the front close home, the two-year-old won by a length going away to the pick-up.


“Well done to Henlow for putting the race on so soon after Sunday, and it was great when Michael came home. He brought a nice big trophy with him and that’s always nice. She’s come out of the race well and we’ll now look at Hove. She’s run on strongly over 550m and 575m at Romford and Hove’s 695m might be up her street.”