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


SWIFT HANSEL (T1 pictured)landed the major trophy his talents have long deserved when edging out Carn Brea in the final of the 3 Steps To Victory at Sheffield on Tuesday - landing trainer Anneliese Thompson her first Category One success and a £10,000 prize for owners George and Carl Broughton in the process.


Following the withdrawal earlier in the day of Hayley Keightley’s Roxholme Ray (lame), it was Scottish raider Nadurra Ross (John McLachlan) who went to traps for the 660m decider of the tri-distance event as favourite, but a missed break put him under pressure as Swift Hansel and the John Mullins-trained Carn Brea dominated.


The pair had repelled the challenge of Serious Hangover (John Sharp), who was forced to check up at the fifth bend in crowding which also caused Minnies Highway (John Mullins) problems. Nadurra Ross recovered but could not get on terms with the front pair who had a head-to-head up the home-straight at the Owlerton venue, Swift Hansel obliging by a head in 39.42sec (+20).


Winning trainer Thompson was joined at the presentation by her father Ron, the well-known racehorse trainer, who said about his daughter and the four-year-old son of Godsend and Swift Approach: “What a special pair they are! I’m very proud of them both are we’re all quite emotional. It’s a great night.”


Speaking yesterday, Anneliese Thompson added: “That was certainly a fantastic night, and the head is rather interesting this morning! But we’re just so thrilled he's finally won a big one. This was his sixth Cat One final and he’s thoroughly deserved it, he’s an absolute star and is barking and bouncing this morning. You wouldn't be able to tell he raced last night.”


Connections had toyed with retirement for the four-year-old, but this recovery from the three-round competition - over 480m, 500m and 660m - has so impressed Thompson that such plans have been shelved and a crack at the St Leger at Perry Barr next month is very much now on the cards.


“I spoke to the owners last night and we're aiming at the Leger,” revealed Nottingham handler Thompson, 27, who has held her trainer’s licence for four years. “He’s certainly strengthened with age and, with no real mileage on him, we thought it might be a bit premature to retire him now. He’ll let us know when he’s ready.”


Congratulating connections afterwards, Sheffield general manager Dave Perry said: “Once again the 3 Steps has produced a fairytale win, winning at the seventh time of asking to complete a first Cat One victory for trainer Anna Thompson. It was the same, of course, for Carl (Perry) last year with Geelo Sapphire.


“This race continues to draw the very best greyhounds each year and throws up a good news story,” he added. “For me it’s one of the best competitions in the GBGB Calendar and also one of the hardest to win due to the nature of having only two qualify from the first round, which makes the success of each winner even better.”