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William Hill Grand Prix - Sunderland 640m - £15,000


BOYLESPORTS STAR (pictured above) set the standard in the heats of the William Hill Grand Prix over 640m at Sunderland on Wednesday - helping kick off a double-header of Category One events at the north east venue. 


Sharing the stage with the William Hill Classic heats, it was Carol Weatherall’s dog who posted the best clock over six bends as he made all to race clear of runner-up Onedin Paradise to win by two and three-quarter lengths in 39.28sec (normal).


Last year’s Golden Jacket champion for former trainer Dolores Ruth, Boylesports Star has recorded wins at Nottingham and Yarmouth for the Weatherall camp, recently reaching the final of the George Ing St Leger at the seaside venue.


Ballymac Twitter made a winning six-bend debut when scoring for the Kelly Macari camp in heat five, making all in 39.74sec, and the kennel is hoping to repeat success in the Grand Prix with Pinpoint Boom two years ago.


“We weren't confident he’d stay coming into the competition - we were probably more confident about Boom’s chance - but he’s done it well and stayed on quite nicely,” said Paul Noble, assistant to Kelly Macari.


“He came here from Liam Dowling with some good Irish lines over four bends and won a couple of nice races for us at Doncaster. He’s settled in well and hopefully can continue to progress - he’s not had a lot of racing really.”


Heather Dimmock’s Yorkshire Oaks winner Donation (39.57sec) was an impressive winner of the first heat, although had to withstand a strong challenge from Lightfoot King as they turned for home before the last-named checked his chance away.


Swift Hansel, runner-up to Cloran Paddy in this event last year, recently returned to the kennels of Anneliese Thompson and made a winning start to his second spell with the Nottingham trainer - landing odds of 12-1 in the process.


Trapping smartly on his return to Sunderland, Swift Hansel was never headed and came home three and a quarter lengths clear of Murrys Act, the latter recovering well during a crowded race in which favourite Droopys Live was eliminated.


The remaining heats were won the Carol Grasso-trained Jetstream Lynx who caught longtime leader Gazilly Shay at the sixth bend to win in 39.70sec, while Ted Soppitt sent out the impressive Millhouse Tommy to win heat six, the 39.88sec victor coming again on the run for home after crowding at the first bend and at halfway.



Form for Wednesday’s semi-finals:


News just in: 1st Semi-final, Trap 2 Jackeen Flyer has been withdrawn lame @1.44 pm today