DROOPYS NOODLE posted the fastest time of the night as local trainer Dean Childs landed a double in the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Gold Collar at Crayford on Saturday.

The January 2017 son of Droopys Cain and Droopys Loner – the dam a former Childs-trained and Mark Gilbert-owned runner like Droopys Noodle – roared into next week’s £8,000 final at the Kent circuit with a brilliant show of early and middle pace.

Soon clear, Droopys Noodle was four and a half lengths clear at the line, posting 33.48sec for the 540m trip, with Kevin Boon’s Headford Cain always second and qualifying for the Category One decider ahead of Alien Sea (Mark Wallis) and the runner-up’s kennemate Leemount Venus.

Another Childs-trained runner took the second semi-final in similar fashion, pacing up to lead into the first bend and never headed as he won by just over two lengths in 33.76sec, with the John Mullins-trained Saving Sonic staying on well to edge Chubbys Caviar (Mark Wallis) for second.

Winning trainer Dean Childs was delighted with the performance of both Droopys Noodle and Southfield Ariel and can now look forward to being doubly represented in the final of the former Catford event.

He said: “Droopys Noodle and Southfield Ariel have progressed nicely through to the final – and we’re especially pleased with Noodle given he suffered a hairline fracture of his hock in a race at Henlow, which he actually won.

“The heats of the Gold Collar was his first race back over the distance, so he’s done brilliantly well. He loves the track and, once on the bunny, is very hard to get past. He’s just a cracking dog off the front end.

“Southfield Ariel has also been improving. She’s been in season but now seems back to her best form. She’s taken a while to get back to her racing weight after that time off, but it’s allowed her to steadily improve and she’s spot-on for next week.”

The third Gold Collar semi-final also saw a Crayford handler land the spoils in the form of the Nick Carter-trained Sleepy Kevin, who showed a cracking burst of early pace and was another trap-to-line winner in 33.93sec.

Jim Daly’s Barnfield Moll grabbed second here to strengthen the local challenge in the final.

Crayford racing manager Danny Rayment said: “It’s great to see four locals in the Gold Collar Final, but also somewhat disappointing that all the ante-post favourites failed to make it through the competition. It was a good entry – having said that, all six finalists have run great to make the final.

“Droopys Noodle looks the one to beat having returned to his best form after spending most of the summer on the sidelines. He’s the reigning Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy champion, flew out and made all in the fastest time – and is rewarded with a plum draw in the decider.

“Southfield Ariel completed a double for Dean (Childs) and has had a similar preparation to Noodle, albeit she’s been in season rather than off injured. It gives Dean a very strong hand in the final with the two outside runners.

“Nick Carter will be delighted with the run of Sleepy Kevin in the last semi and, if trapping in similar fashion in the final, would have to be caught, while Jim Daly completes the local challenge in the final but his Barnfield Moll probably has her work cut out.

“Well done to both Kevin Boon and John Mullins and both Headford Cain and Saving Sonic must have every chance the way this competition has unfolded. Kevin looked to have a better chance with ante-post favourite Leemount Venus but she could never get into the race.

“However Kevin always felt his other runner Headford Cain was underestimated by the odds-compilers and he’s certainly unexposed and open to further improvement, so could surprise.

“John Mullins’ Saving Sonic stayed on strongly to pip Chubbys Caviar for the last qualifying spot and he’ll be ready to pounce if the leaders falter in the final. All in all, it should be a fascinating contest and another big night here at Crayford on Saturday.”

Trap draw for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Gold Collar Final: 1 Saving Sonic, 2 Barnfield Moll, 3 Headford Cain, 4 Sleepy Kevin (m), 5 Southfield Ariel (m), 6 Droopys Noodle (w).