The Jay & Kay Coach Tours Kent St Leger – Crayford 714m – £7,500
SHELDAN, owned and trained by Kevin Boon, will line up in her fourth Category One final at Crayford this weekend after setting the fastest semi-final time in the Jay & Kay Coach Tours Kent St Leger over 714m on Saturday.
Winner of Monmore’s Summer Stayers Classic as well as making the finals of Hove’s Regency and Romford’s Champion Stakes, Sheldan came through strongly in the first semi to catch Hayley Keightley’s trailblazing Roxholme Dolly approaching the last bend to win by four lengths in 44.98sec (+40).
However, the race saw Golden Jacket winner Stardom knocked over and Boon was quick to point out how that incident changed the complexion of the race. “She’s top class, so you feel for Heather, Mick and the team – but thankfully she was quickly up and looked okay,” he said.
Boon, who has trained two Golden Jacket finalists in Headford Maurice, behind Stardom this year, and Oneco Sky in 2016, says Sheldan was always likely to improve on her heat defeat behind Stardom and is delighted with how she is progressing ahead of Saturday’s £7,500-to-the-winner final.
“I was on holiday before the competition started, so she was just kept ticking over and had a good fortnight’s rest after the Champion Stakes. So I knew she’d come forward for the heats and you saw that on Saturday. Roxholme Dolly is a cracking young bitch but once Sheldan turned in behind I was confident she’d outstay her.
“We’re happy enough with the draw and hopefully she can trap well enough and hold her position. You never take anything for granted and it’s a really good final, but I’m happy where we’re at with her. Romford’s 575m was too short, but she actually trapped in front in that final but lost her position heading into the turn.
“She’s been a great bitch right from the start. For such a young staying bitch, she’s got a good record in these major competitions and it’s just nice to be a part of it. Crayford do their major events really well and we’ll look forward to Saturday now,” added Boon of the April 17 daughter of Top Savings and Body Clock.
Sheldan will be joined in Saturday’s final by both Antigua Fire and Millroad Susie (Luke Morrison) after the former, the Golden Jacket runner-up when known as Towcester Story, struck in the second semi. Coming through strongly round the outside, Antigua Fire landed the spoils for Mark Wallis in 45.28sec (+40).
The third semi-final was another close-run but crowded affair and saw Brigadier Bullet complete the Wallis double as he stayed on best to edge out local hope Beechgrove Bell (Tom Levers) in 45.63sec (+40) to give the champion trainer two chances to win an event his mother-in-law Linda Jones won twice in the 1990s with Bubbly Boy (1997) and Droopys Paul (1998).
Karl Brazier, sponsoring the race for the third time under the Jay & Kay Coach Tours banner, said: “It was a Cat Two for our first year, but the plan was always, calendar-permitting, to make it a Cat One and Danny Rayment (Crayford RM) helped here.
“Funnily enough last year’s competition was short on numbers, but not on quality – none of us will forget Slippy Maggie just getting up to pip Cleaning Doctor. This year Crayford received plenty of entries which was great.
“In fact, I’d say this entry was easily the best yet – although it was a shame to see Stardom and Roxholme Poppy go out in the semis. It’s still has a top quality line-up.
“I had a few quid each-way on Sheldan at 25-1 ante-post, so would like to see Kevin Boon’s bitch run well, although it would be wonderful for local trainer Tom Levers to win it also with Beechgrove Bell.
“Having said that it will be a pleasure to hand the trophy to any of the trainers in the final and I look forward to a fantastic race. Thanks to Peter (Broadbridge), Ian (Bland), Danny (Rayment) and all the staff at Crayford for their help.
“They’ve all been so supportive and given us wonderful hospitality throughout the three years of our involvement in the Kent St Leger and I’ll be speaking with Danny after Saturday and will hopefully carry on with the sponsorship moving forward.”
Trap draw for Saturday’s final: 1 Sheldan, 2 Beechgrove Bell, 3 Millroad Susie, 4 Brigadier Bullet, 5 Antigua Fire (w), 6 Roxholme Dolly (w).