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John Smiths Grand National - Central Park 480mH - £8,000


RAZLDAZL RAIDIO (pictured above) will line up in his third Grand National final at Central Park on Friday as the Ricky Holloway-trained runner returned to winning ways at the Kent venue in the semi-finals of the John Smith’s-sponsored jumpers’ Classic.


The reigning GBGB Hurdler of the Year was beaten at odds-on in last week’s heats but was back to something like his best when coming through a test in Friday’s first semi-final with a real battle with Parkers Dynamite taking place from traps-rise.


The Mark Wallis-trained runner paced up well but was soon tackled by the favourite, although held his form down the back and it was only off the last bend when Razldazl Radio forged ahead to win by half-a-length from Parkers Dynamite in 29.63sec (normal).


A fall at the last hurdle for Hove raider Go On Taylor allowed Razldazl Radio’s kennelmate Barricane Jack to finish third and book his place in Friday’s £8,000-to-the-winner final - and Holloway has reported his runners in good shape.


He said: “I thought Raidio showed class and courage and proved why he’s a champion at Central Park. He was impeded constantly by a rival, I think, was more interested in running alongside him, but he ignored the distractions and baulking to stride out and win.


“He goes into the final a fresh dog with little racing this year and it’s his to lose. The draw is fine for Raidio in five, as it is for Barricane Jack. He’s now reached his third Category One final, and it’s a third Grand National final which is some feat. I'm very proud of the pair.”


The second semi-final saw another Grand National-winning trainer’s charge shine in the shape of Barry O’Sullivan’s The Alickadoo who made all to lead home Paul Young’s Young Columbus by three lengths with Mark Wallis providing a second finalist courtesy of third-placed Swift Dartmoor. The winning time was 29.77sec.


Kieran Lifely, general manager at Central Park, is looking forward to Friday’s final which continues a good period of open racing at the Kent track given the recent Silver Salver - and is anticipating a busy night at the Sittingbourne venue next week.


“Our Friday nights are well supported, and open-race fans are well looked after regularly,” he said. “Our opens attract a good entry and trainers support us week in, week out, and we’ll have a top-class supporting card for the Grand National final.


 “The semi-finals produced class and drama in equal measures. Razldazl Raidio hasn’t been at his best, yet he’s still in the final and remains the one to beat. Parkers Dynamite looks the danger and the pair had a cracking head-to-head in the semis.”


Friday’s Grand National final line-up:- 1 Young Columbus, 2 Barricane Jack, 3 Parkers Dynamite, 4 Swift Dartmoor, 5 Razldazl Raidio (w), 6 The Alickadoo (w).