DROOPYS ADDITION was fastest in the heats of the Coral Sussex Cup at Hove on Saturday as Romford-based runners made a solid start in the 515m annual at their sister track.

The Gemma Evans-trained star, who struck for his home track in last year’s Sussex Cup Consolation Trophy and this year’s Entain Group Track Championship, improved his Hove record still further in heat three of the £10,000 event.

Bursting from the the boxes, last year’s Essex Vase runner-up never looked in trouble as he raced clear to land a strong-running five-and-a-half-length victory from trackmate Troy Firebird (David Mullins) and kennelmate Newinn Jacko for an Evans-trained one-three. The winning time was 29.59sec (normal).

Next quickest was another Romford-based runner as Tenpin, last year’s GBGB Newcomer of the Year, returned to winning ways with a fluent success. He railed into the lead at the first bend and burst clear to win by almost eight lengths from Ivy Hill Skyhigh (Mark Wallis) in a slick 29.61sec (normal).

The Romford treble was landed by Paul Young’s Bubbly Bollinger as the RPGTV Derby Plate champion continued his fine run by railing into the lead off the second bend, crucially getting inside favourite Dannid (Matt Dartnall), before stretching on to win by almost four lengths in 29.95sec.

On a night the Sussex Cup shared the stage with the Coral Regency, the event kicked off with a home-trained victory with Belinda Green’s Freeky Pumbaa in heat one.

Making the most of his outside draw and a fast exit, this in-form sort made it seven wins from his last nine starts in all-the-way as he raced away to win by five lengths from Fatboyz Fury (John Mullins). The winning time was 29.89sec.

Bockos Belly and Roxholme Sheikh upheld the Derby form with respective wins in heats two and four.

First up was Derby winner Patrick Janssens’ Bockos Belly as the Towcester semi-finalist overcame a tough ask on paper by rushing up inside local speedster Seomra Razl into the bend, seizing the lead and maintaining a strong gallop thereafter.

Drumcrow Brent (Mark Wallis), another who had a decent Derby campaign, kept on well in second but Bockos Belly was not for catching as he won by three and a half lengths from that rival in 29.92sec.

Roxholme Sheikh made the third round at Towcester before exiting the Classic after a troubled run but was able to show his class in heat four as Hayley Keightley’s dog broke smartly from the midfield slot and soon dominated.

Clearing his rivals into the turn, the August 2018 son of Droopys Roddick and Bright Bee eventually scored by almost five lengths in 30.02sec, winning from Jacks Solution (Patrick Janssens) and Ballynabee Jet (Samantha West).

Mark Keightley, husband of the winning trainer, agreed it was a case of what might have been at Towcester.

“Luck wasn’t with him in the Derby, but it was great to see ‘Sheikhy’ turn up at Hove. He put together a solid performance from start to finish – it’s just about doing it again in the semis which will not be easy given who’s up against him. The aim is to progress, of course.

“He’s a dog who improves his performance racing week on week so we’re hopeful.”

Form and trap draw for Saturday’s semi-finals:- https://assets.cj1.in/imminent-otter/production/assets/results/Brighton-Hove/form-guides/Sat-24th-Jluy-Form.pdf