Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic – Monmore 630m – £7,500
DROOPYS LIVE helped make it a fantastic night for Angela Harrison’s kennel when matching Velvet Juliet’s feat in the Gold Cup heats by setting the fastest time in the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic at Monmore on Saturday.
Always handy in the first semi of the £7,500-to-the-winner 630m competition, the evergreen May 15 daughter of Tulymurry Act and Live Queen proved too strong for early leader Seaglass Celine to win in 37.54sec from the staying-on Affleck Bolt.
There were victories for two young stayers in the other semis with the Kevin Boon-trained Sheldan (37.64sec) leading home the staying-on Antigua Fire, before Scottish raider Sparta Master struck for Gary Ferguson in 37.58sec. Ridgedale Max was second here.
Sheldan’s trainer Kevin Boon said: “She’d not be coming out that well and had some work to do on Saturday again, but she’s a terrific young stayer and has achieved plenty already. She made the semi-finals of the Golden Jacket, then reached the Regency final.
“She’s fresh this morning, you’d not think she’d had a race – and that’s the sign of a good stayer. I’d pencilled her in for a 750m at Romford on Friday, but she’s in the Monmore final now – and maybe I’ll think about a crack at the TV Trophy.
“That said, I’m still not sure – we’ll see after Monmore. It’s a very hard race, but then both competitions – the Gold Cup and the Stayers Classic – have been top quality from the start. Just qualifying was tough on Saturday and some brilliant dogs didn’t make it.
“It’s great to be in another major final. I like going to Monmore and find Tony Williamson (Monmore RM) right up there as a racing manager in that he’s always been accommodating to visiting trainers for trials etc.
“The kennel has gone through a transition. We’ve got some pups out there who’ll come back to us down the line, but we’re still getting our fair share of winners still and this last fortnight at Monmore has gone well with both Sheldan and Grogeen Country winning.”
The aforementioned Tony Williamson, Monmore’s racing manager, said: “Well done to the connections of finalists in both the Gold Cup and the Stayers Classic – and we’re set for another fantastic night of racing here next weekend.
“You’d think if Antigua Fire can show some more early, he has the best draw in the six-bend final. He’s very strong at the finish, but any of the others could win with luck at the trap-rise. There’s lots of pace in the final.
“I mentioned last week that we were delighted to get so many trainers for both events – and geographically it’s strong as well. We have trainers attached to track as far apart as Shawfield and Newcastle to Sheffield, Central Park, Romford, Henlow and Yarmouth.
“I’d like to thank them and their connections for entering and wish them all the best.”