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GMG 3 Steps To Victory - Sheffield Tri Distance - £10,000

T3 Swift Hansel has qualified for a second 3 Steps Final



SHEFFIELD was able to complete the field for Tuesday’s £10,000-to-the-winner Greyhound Media Group 3 Steps To Victory final on Friday night as Hayley Keightley’s Roxholme Ray won the re-run semi-final to secure his place in the Category One decider.


The October 2015 son of Tyrur Sugar Ray, who was in charge in the original race on Tuesday until the hare was stopped in the interests of safety, was soon handy before powering clear on the outer to win by three lengths from Carn Brea (John Mullins) and early leader Serious Hangover (John Sharp) in 28.63sec.


The victory delighted connections, who remains a lightly raced albeit largely frustrating near three-year-old, according to Mark Keightley, husband of the trainer.


“To say Ray’s been frustrating is being really conservative,” he said. “In all truth, for the vast majority of his career he’s been riddled with injuries - nothing huge - but it’s been one thing after an another.


“However, when he has made the track he’s put up some big performances namely at Doncaster and Belle Vue, where he reached the Northern Flat final last year behind Dropzone. He started 7-4 favourite then, remember.


“I also think that tracks that are of a narrow nature width-wise encourage him to drive the bend really hard. However, he goes to traps, along with traps three, four and five, as uncertain stayers - but he’s a real likeable sort who’ll give his all.


“If pushed, I’d hope he’d get the trip okay if hitting the front by the hospitality boxes around the third and fourth turns. Of course, the main objective is to return safe and sound - and hopefully he’ll be returning to Sheffield for the Steel City Cup.”


Dave Perry, general manager at Owlerton Stadium, was a happy man on Friday night to see the semi-final re-run without mishap and is looking forward to the decider.


“Yet again this competition, a unique one in the GBGB Calendar with three different distances, has thrown up a quality line-up for the 2018 renewal,” he said.


“In addition to Friday’s qualifiers, we’ve got last year’s runner-up and multiple Cat One finalist Swift Hansel, who’ll be hoping the draw in red will see him finally break his big-race hoodoo.


“Of course, Nadurra Ross will still be a force to reckon with given his wins in heat and semi-final and will be vying for favouritism. Indeed, the battle between the Scottish raider and Roxholme Ray promises to be royal one, with both stepping into the unknown over this trip.


“Out-and-out stayer Minnies Highway will be hoping to capitalise on any early scrimmaging between the likely favourites, and it remains to be seen what effect the additional run will mean for the Roxholme dog, Carn Brea and Serious Hangover.”


Trap draw and form for Tuesday’s final: