NIGHT TIME DANNY set the standard in the heats of the Arena Racing Company St Leger at Perry Barr on Thursday as Towcester trainer Stephen Rayner’s runner ran amok in heat four of the stayers’ Classic to give the track record for the 710m distance a real shake.

Pacing up on his way to a 16.31sec split – which just edged Bombardier’s 16.32 in the opening heat – Night Time Danny was soon in command and never looked in danger as the November 2018 son of Sh Avatar and Nom De Plume crossed the line seven lengths clear of Guiri Steve in 42.71sec (normal) – just two spots off Rubys Rascal’s clock set in 2017.

The aforementioned Bombardier followed up his six-bend debut win over C&D the previous week when winning heat one. The Mark Wallis-trained runner, who ran in the Derby for Irish trainer Pat Buckley before switching to Imperial Kennels, made all to score easily by six and a half lengths in 42.97sec.

Strong-running Barnagrane Amber came through powerfully in heat two to strike gold for Jimmy Fenwick in 43.51sec. The daughter of Vulturi has eight-bend form on the card but has now won back-to-back six-bend races after a Nottingham success in a 730m contest on Select Stakes/Puppy Classic final night.

The Laurence Tuffin-trained Sweet Leaf dominated heat three from the get-go when racing away to score impressively by five and a quarter lengths in 43.10sec, while in-form Southfield Code (43.13sec) struck again in heat five for Kevin Hutton after his event-clinching win for his handler at Nottingham on Trainers’ Judgement Night.

The sixth and final heat saw Blueberry Bullet trap well and make all in 43.00sec to complete a St Leger heat double for Mark Wallis as she crossed the line a length and three-quarters in front of Dorando champion Savana Volcano (Diane Henry) and Burgess Elite (John Mullins) in a red-hot heat.

Perry Barr racing manager Martin Seal said: “It was a fantastic night’s racing all round, given we also had six heats of the Birmingham Cup.

“As for the St Leger, Night Time Danny was quickest and very impressive. He had actually beaten Aayamza Royale here the previous week so his victory in heat four shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. He was awesome and clearly loves it here, although it was unfortunate to lose Aayamza Royale. She was unlucky in running.

“It was a straightforward assignment for Bombardier, who clearly has no stamina issues after back-to-back wins here now, while less than three lengths separated the first five home in Barnagrane Amber’s heat. Bo Shine Bullet was run out of it late on, with Barnagrane Amber digging deep to win – Droopys Jungle caught the eye late on.

“Sweet Leaf caused something of an upset in her heat but was soon bowling along in front and in many ways it was a straightforward performance from Southfield Code. He was always going to be tough to hold once turning handy to beat Aayamza Dream, who  finished with a flourish and should continue to improve over the next few weeks.

“Blueberry Bullet was always going to be difficult to peg back once hitting the front in heat six and is one of four qualifiers in the Leger for Mark Wallis, although Savana Volcano continued her love affair with Perry Barr with an eye-catching run in second.”


Trap draw for Thursday’s Arc St Leger semi-finals:-

First semi: 1 Barnagrane Amber, 2 Guiri Steve, 3 Blueberry Bullet, 4 Nice As Ice (m), 5 Jumeirah Zara (m), 6 Southfield Code (w).

Second semi: 1 Aayamza Dream, 2 Dapper Jess, 3 Space Jet, 4 Antigua Me-

meme (m), 5 Savana Eruption (m), 6 Droopys Jungle (w).

Third semi: 1 Night Time Danny, 2 Bombardier, 3 Burgess Elite (m), 4 Sweet Leaf (m), 5 Romeo Riot (w), 6 Savana Volcano (w).