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JONATHAN HOBBS: It’s semi-final night in the Coral Champion Stakes at Romford and once again the trio of 575m contests ooze class.

Plenty of old favourites are on show and Romford again serves up a treat for open-race fans, kick-starting a huge weekend with the Arc Oaks second round at Perry Barr and BresBet Steel City Cup heats tomorrow, plus a huge meeting again at Towcester on Sunday featuring the 1st Containers Marathon semi-finals and the BGBF Puppy Cup Final. Sunday night it’s the Arc Kent Derby Final at Central Park. Phew!

But concentrating on Romford here there’s another high-class card with three Champion Stakes semis and a clutch of supporting opens.

Let’s have a look at the pick of the races.


6.43: Rail McCoy featured in a cracking 400m final last week and was hardly disgraced back in third behind Adamant Taurus and Ballymac Micko. Mark Wallis’s dog has been pacing up well so the draw in six might actually help, despite him being a middle seed.

Play: Rail McCoy

6.58: A decent run from Rail McCoy in the previous race might act as a pointer to Ballymac Micko here. Jim Reynolds’ runner finished ahead of him seven days ago and looks to be coming back to his sprint-speed best and a first-bend lead looks on the cards here.

Play: Ballymac Micko

7.18: If Humble Jet transfers his Harlow form to here he’s a big player, but the percentage call in this third 400m heat looks to be Deadly Tornado. John Mullins’ dog racked up back-to-back wins here recently and could go even better now pitched inside – if breaking.

Play: Deadly Tornado

7.36: The first Champion Stakes semi-final now and Droopys Aoife could take some holding if finding her trapping boots. Gemma Evans’ brilliantly consistent bitch did a lot of running to go close when not leading latest, but might be sharper after a break.

Play: Droopys Aoife

7.56: It’s difficult to oppose Warzone Tom in this second semi. Liz McNair’s dog has been brilliant here in successive weeks and same again certainly does the trick. However clearing both Droopys Addition and Kishlawn Shakira is key – the latter could improve.

Play: Warzone Tom

8.17: The third semi-final could looks tricky with all six more than capable. Slight preference is for Night Time Danny on his St Leger form given Stephen Rayner’s almost made all at Perry Barr and can start better than he did in the heats last week.

Play: Night Time Danny

8.38: Two heats of the Mitch Millward Marathon now and Blueberry Bullet with her draw and early pace could soon settle this with a snappy exit. Mark Wallis’s bitch impressed during the St Leger at Perry Barr and another exhibition of front-running does the trick.

Play: Blueberry Bullet

8.54: So impressive was Bubbly Cristal over 575m latest that victory over this 750m looks likely should Paul Young’s bitch dominate inside. That looks likely and victory thereafter should follow although respect to the rest, including Micks Little Gem after having a litter.

Play: Bubbly Cristal

Good luck all.