74th BGBF British Bred 2-Year-Old Produce Stakes – Swindon 480m – £10,000
QUEEN JESSIEJ maintained her unbeaten record in the competition and will line up favourite to win the 74th British Bred Two-Year-Old Produce Stakes after another impressive display in the second semi-final at Swindon on Monday.
Trained by Liz McNair for owners and breeder Brendan Keogh and the KSS Syndicate, Queen Jessiej was led from the boxes by kennelmate King Louis but, taking the shortest route at the bend, railed into the lead off the second bend and went on.
The May 2018 daughter of Leamaneigh Turbo and Skate On was not for catching thereafter and crossed the line three and a half lengths clear of the Kevin Ferguson-bred and trained Acomb Winston (Hiya Butt-Acomb Ruby, Aug 2018) in 28.12sec.
The McNairs enjoyed an incredible 1-2-3-4 in the Produce Stakes final last year, with King Sheeran taking top honours on his way to being crowned British Bred Greyhound of the Year at the annual GBGB Awards. Now a half-sister of his could land the double.
Rab McNair, husband of trainer Liz, said: “She’s just a brilliant bitch and has a fantastic will-to-win. She’s had 18 races and won 13 of them and pretty much been in top class from the start. She’s already made two Cat One finals at Monmore – and is in another now.”
Before lockdown, Queen Jessiej had started favourite for the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby, only to be crowded out of contention at the bend, and she was again in the wars in the recent Ladbrokes Gold Cup Final at the Wolverhampton track.
“Look, she probably didn’t have the luck at Monmore but her draws looked alright on paper in those finals. Now she’s got five in the Swindon final – and you wouldn’t say that’d be her favourite – but you never know. It might work for her.
“She’s in the final and has got every chance – if she’s get a chance to show her class. Because let me tell you this bitch has plenty of class and it’d be great win another Produce Stakes for Brendan (Keogh) and the boys with another we bred at home.”
Future plans for Queen Jessiej are fluid with no decision made on any Derby participation at Nottingham. “I’d say 500m at Nottingham might push her, but we’ll think about that after Swindon. It’s one race at a time with Jessiej but I’d not swop her for anything.
“In a normal year we might be thinking Oaks for her as well, so any decision on that would help us trainers with top-class bitches plan.
“We know the pressure the sport has been under after lockdown and it’s been great to see so many competitions out there – and hopefully the Oaks can happen,” he added.
Bob Smith’s Amka Rofe (Blackstone Marco-Ardjeff Lady, Feb 18) was on the mark in the first semi as he paced up into contention to lead at halfway and crossed the line a length and a half clear of Boca Junior (Kevin Hutton) in 28.16sec.
The third semi-final saw two littermates of Boca Junior’s – Lights Out and Liberty Belle – finish first and second to give Kevin Hutton and owners and breeders Mike and George Burton three finalists in this weekend’s £15,000 final.
Ironically it was a 1-2-3 for the September 2018 Taylors Sky-Terminator litter, with Houston Main just a head and the same behind Lights Out in a thrilling finish for the spoils after 480m – just over two lengths covered the entire field.
Liz Mort, chair of the British Greyhound Breeders Forum, said Sunday’s Two-Year-Old Produce Stakes final – live on RPGTV – could rank as one of the most exciting in years.
She said: “Queen Jessiej is obviously a strong contender for the title. She’s some bitch for Rab and Liz (McNair) and again posted the fastest time in the semis, showing plenty of class once again.
“But the talk this year has been the achievement of George and Michael Burton’s litter by Taylors Sky out of their home-bred Terminator. Six pups in the litter, all six qualified for the second round, five for the semis – and now three in the final.
“Theirs is a young litter – just two years old this week, being born on September 16 – and all lightly raced because of the lockdown. The Produce first round was actually Lights Out’s first ever race, so to win a semi-final a matter of days later is quite incredible.
“Congratulations to breeder Mike and his grandson George, who between them own the litter, and to trainer Kevin Hutton.
“Swindon have again done a great job in this most difficult of years, so thanks to them – they even broadcast the final draw live on Twitter!
“Josh Sealey has brought the whole thing alive for everyone with his camerawork and putting videos and photos out on Twitter so very quickly. The only sadness is that we won’t actually be there to watch ourselves on Sunday – but it’s great RPGTV will be.”
Trap draw and form for Sunday’s final: 1 Boca Junior, 2 Lights Out, 3 Liberty Belle, 4 Amka Rofe, 5 Queen Jessiej, 6 Acomb Winston (m).