BOCKOS DOOMIE notched up a ninth victory in a row and extended his unbeaten record at Hove to 11 when landing the first semi-final of the Coral Sussex Cup at the south coast venue on Saturday.

Trained by Patrick Janssens for Bev Lochead and Austin Whelan, the ante-post favourite was led early by Matt Dartnall’s Killeacle Gus but was always in contention and a stunning back-straight surge took him to the front before the third bend.

Keeping up the gallop, Bockos Doomie held the renewed challenge of Killeacle Gus by half a length in 30.46sec (-40) as the pair securing the qualifying positions for next Saturday’s £10,000-to-the-winner final over 515m.

Janssens, who later saw his outstanding senior stayer Affleck Lady make the Coral Regency Final, said: “Doomie really has the heart of a lion. He’s a brilliant dog who has come out of the race well considering the circumstances.

“He has a tricky draw in the final, but we’re hoping for the best. We’ve got two finalists on the night which is great – Affleck Lady is an ultra-consistent four-and-a-half-year-old who’s  run great again and has a good draw in the final.”

Tommys Panther (30.43sec -40) was the quickest semi-final winner as the Tony Collett-trained, Ken Devonshire and Barrie Tuffnell-owned runner continued his terrific run of form as he followed up his heat win but victory over Distant Village, the runner-up giving Matt Dartnall two Sussex Cup finalists.

Biggest-priced winner was Dragbeg Dash as Gerry Ballentine’s dog completed a Perry Barr double in the semi-finals of the Sussex Cup and Regency as he was always handy before hitting the front on the run-in to catch Fight The Power (Carol Weatherall). Trackmate Affirmed had previously struck in his Regency semi-final.

Dragbeg Dash’s winning time of 30.49sec (-40) means that less than a length covered the three semi-finals winners in a competitive Sussex Cup renewal and Hannah Prince, the GBGB Kennelhand of the Year, said the Ballentine kennel were thrilled with their winner – whom she part-owns with Ballentine and Paul Gebhard.

“We’re delighted with him,” she said. “He’s always run Hove well before but has taken a few runs to get back to himself since lockdown. He’ll be a big price in the final, but we’ve got a good draw with trap six and we’re all looking forward to it.”

Form and trap draw for Saturday’s finals: