RIDGEDALE MAX ensured it was a good night for Romford trainer Philip Simmonds with a fastest-of-the-night six-bend run in the heats of the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic over 630m at Monmore on Saturday.

After Grays Cup Winner had impressed in the heats of the Ladbrokes Gold Cup, it was the turn of the older Ridgedale Max to strut his stuff and begin his latest competition campaign in the best possible style as he made all in 37.69sec.

Nathan Hunt, assistant to winning trainer Simmonds, said: “It was good to see Ridgedale Max back over six bends after the 3 Steps at Sheffield and he was faultless. He trapped as well as ever and won going away.

“He has a great record at Monmore, especially from trap two which he has again in the semis. He’s been a great dog for the kennel and we’d love to see him make another big final, although he’ll need to show that urgency at the start again – but he’s in great form.”

Mark Wallis landed a double courtesy of Antigua Vows (37.70sec) and Antigua Fire (37.82sec), while the other heats were won by John Mullins’ Romeo Rumble (37.70sec), June Harvey’s Shoot The Bolt (37.84sec) and Patrick Janssens’ Affleck Bolt (37.90sec).

Tony Williamson, Monmore’s racing manager, was delighted with Saturday’s meeting – one of the classiest anywhere this year – and is looking forward to the semi-finals of both the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic and Ladbrokes Gold Cup this weekend.

“We had some great racing and some top performances,” he said. “When you look at the times, especially in the Gold Cup, you can see how competitive that competition is. There was less than a length and half between all six heat winners.

“What delighted me was the spread of trainers – we had 21 different trainers in the Gold Cup and 27 in the Summer Stayers Classic. It means trainers are willing to travel for good prize-money and a good track here at Monmore.

“It’s always nice to see a defending champion come back and do well in heats – and that’s exactly what King Turbo did in the Gold Cup. He’s been a real champion of Liz and Rab McNair’s kennel for a long while now and continues to do the business.”

Saturday’s Summer Stayers Classic semis:-

First semi: 1 Seaglass Celine, 2 Bumblebee Bullet, 3 Droopys Live, 4 Affleck Bolt (m), 5 Headford Maurice (w), 6 Magical Icarus (w).

Second semi: 1 Bull Run Button, 2 Sheldan, 3 Droopys Aoife, 4 Brigadier Bullet (m), 5 Antigua Fire (w), 6 Shoot The Bolt (w).

Third semi: 1 Antigua Vows, 2 Ridgedale Max, 3 Bit View Yeats (m), 4 Sparta Master (m), 5 Romeo Rumble (w), 6 Leemount Venus (w).