JONATHAN HOBBS: Eyes down for one of the best night’s racing on SportyStuff TV/RPGTV tonight with not just the heats of the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby and Ladbrokes Winter Derby at Monmore but the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket at Crayford, plus supporting events.
It’s a superb double-header, made all the better by the Kent track being forced to move the Golden Jacket semis to the evening fixture to make things easier for travelling trainers to get to the track. Artic temperatures will have made travel difficult this morning.
So there’s a full open-race card at Monmore plus ten opens at Crayford, giving open-race fans plenty of opportunities – with ante-post prices on all three major competitions plus the supporting events at Crayford with the Welcome to Hope Jeal Trophy, the Chief Ramsbottom Hurdle and the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy also attracting good fields.
In terms of the long odds, ante-post fancies for the respective events are Redzer Renae (Ladbrokes Golden Jacket), Antigua Boy (Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy), Nomansland Flyer (Chief Ramsbottom Hurdle), Ballynabee Lucky (Welcome to Hope Jeal Trophy), Burnchurch Mick (Ladbrokes Puppy Derby) and Queen Jessiej (Ladbrokes Winter Derby).
All would be each-way fancies, with the exception of the hurdler.
So to Saturday’s races, starting with the action at Crayford.
7.17: Getthecash might do exactly that in the first open! Patrick Janssens’ runner almost made all last week and another slick exit from the midfield sets up victory? Improvement is likely after that first competitive taste of Crayford seven days ago.
7.33: Antigua Boy looks the play against Irish Derby finalist Kilara Icon. The black jacket again has first-run potential and posted a good clock in a trial stakes last week. The six-box certainly has scope on his trial and poses a real threat to all if handling the venue.
Play: Antigua Boy
7.50: The first Jacket semi-final and Chubbys Dubh gets the vote on value grounds over favourite Bo Shine Bullet. The latter has done nothing wrong in her three races here, but Kevin Hutton’s dog showed good pace last week and might just get first run.
Play: Chubbys Dubh
8.20: The second Jacket semi-final and another value selection in Slaneyside Izzy, also trained by Kevin Hutton, against Salacres Pippy. The latter bolted home last week but clearing Clever Airmount is not a given – and Izzy can raise her game with a clearer run.
Play: Slaneyside Izzy
8.53: The third Jacket semi-final and Antigua Rum impressed last week upped in trip by his trainer Mark Wallis. He looked superb to the eye and might always dominate matters on the outside, although Redzer Renae and Micks Little Gem will again be rattling home.
Play: Antigua Rum
6.48: Jaguar Macie looks tough to look beyond in heat three of the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby. The draw looks a peach again and a repeat of her trial stakes victory last week should do the business for Graham Rankin’s bitch. She gets away again.
Play: Jaguar Macie
7.07: Heat three of the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby and Geelo Celticgold looks a prospect judged on her two runs at Sheffield. She boasts superb early pace and a lead looks on the cards down the middle for Carl Perry’s bitch – although clearing Bettys Book is key.
Play: Geelo Celticgold
7.24: Freedom Editor might go well in this Puppy Derby heat. Paul Sallis’s runner trialled well and fast and can improve after just four starts. He starts and stays well and local knowledge could be key in a competitive affair. Language Dick is well drawn.
Play: Freedom Editor
8.03: The best of the night – and probably the day! – with a host of top-class races lining up including a Derby finalist (Smurfs Machine). However that might mean Tenpin will be taken on, but David Mullins’s dog has the speed to lead up – providing he breaks smartly.
8.23: Another of today’s major stars is Queen Jessiej, whose form at Monmore is top drawer. Liz McNair’s strong runner has an ace draw inside and, if holding her position, might always be in control to beat improving local Magical Arrow.
Play: Queen Jessiej
8.43: Mark Wallis’s Coolavanny Kyser ran well during the recent Blue Riband, finishing second to Kilara Lion. The early pace he showed at Towcester will be better suited to Monmore and an all-the-way victory looks on the cards, if holding Signet Ace into the turn.
Play: Coolavanny Kyser
9.18: Gymstar Elusive is a lightly raced sort who has trialled well and fast and could stamp his authority on this for Chris Akers. Slower trappers inside gives him every chance to dominate, although any mistakes and Hopes Bullet will soon be pitching for a position.
Play: Gymstar Elusive
9.31: The Monmore finale and Swift Lettuce (9.31) could be the answer to a competitive affair. He’s a cracking early pacer on his day and a slick exit might soon put these under pressure for the John Mullins’ camp. A smash break from Signet Mafia would also threaten.
Play: Swift Lettuce
Good luck all.