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Befordshire Sprint - Henlow 277m - £2,000


STRINGER BELL landed a popular local success in Henlow’s latest Category Two competition, the Bedfordshire Sprint Final - in the process landing a family one-two as he led home litter-sister Chopchop Hope.


The £2,000 decider continued a series of open-race competitions at the track and, having produced a near-track record-breaking performance in the semi-finals, the three-year old produced the goods in the final for connections.


Pacing up well after not quite hitting the boxes, Stringer Bell escaped trouble at the bends involving favourite Lazy Man and fellow market rival Chochop Hope to scoot clear and win by two and half lengths from the latter in 16.42sec for the 277m trip.


“This dog has done us proud,” said winning trainer Carol Grasso, who added: “He’s now won 13 races and finished second nine times in 37 runs for us - and when he gets it right at the boxes he’s a force to be reckoned with.


“On Sunday he didn’t really hit the boxes running but has a smashing burst of pace and, while he keeps wide, he really drives the bend. We couldn't believe it when he swung round in front and came home clear - he did some running.


“It always very special to win a final, and great that his sister came second. But I’m just delighted for ‘Minty’s’ owners - Steve Argent, Mark Wallis - not that one! - and his dad. I’m proud to train him.”


Grasso explained how she came by Stringer Bell.


“I got a text from Francie Murray asking if I knew anyone that would be interested in him, and I did thankfully,” she said. “I had an owner that was looking to buy and we quite liked this dog for his early pace.


“Steve (Argent) did the deal and he arrived at the kennels last June, and we called him Minty - coming, as he did, with the ‘Murray’ connection! We started off over four bends, but he was cramping badly after each race.


“We had an issue with recurring hip injury, so that and the cramping made us decide to drop him to short four-bend trip and sprints - and that has largely done the trick. Sunday’s win really was the icing on the cake.”