JONATHAN HOBBS: A superb period for open-race fans continues tonight with the semi-finals of the BresBet 75th East Anglian Derby – supported by the heats of two competitions, the Greene King IPA Sprint and the Derby Purse. Sky Sports Racing are due to cover the 13-race card.
The BresBet 75th East Anglian Derby is worth £15,000 to the winner this year, so places in next week’s final will be eagerly sought. Won last year by Kilara Lion, the competition boasts a superb history and a big holiday crowd is expected there tonight.
Three semi-finals of the Yarmouth Derby take place this evening, with the first two qualifying for the final. The clash of Laurels champion Havana Class and Golden Sprint and Northamptonshire Sprint hero Bockos Jon Jo looks the night’s mightiest clash!
So let’s have a look at the opens.
7.16: Heat one of the Greene King IPA Sprint where Icaals Rocco will look to confirm Monday’s Nottingham form with Shrewd Call. The latter is the defending champion who went on to become Sprinter of the Year last year, but might do well to hold kennelmate Matts Malibu early. The value, therefore, is strong-running Knocknaseed Gem if able to keep with them early. John Mullins’ dog will be going the shortest way round.
Play: Knocknaseed Gem
7.34: Heat two of the sprint now and Ballymac Slapup stands out. Another Mullins-trained runner, his 23.77sec over 400m at Romford was a rapid-fire effort and, while there’s no margin for error over this shorter trip, his all-round speed should be too much for these. Adamant Trooper will have local support having enjoyed a recent sharpener with a sprint trial. He’s A1 at the seaside track so will not be stopping in behind.
Play: Ballymac Slapup
7.51: The final sprint heat now and King Sam arrives in tip-form form and will be popular. Recent wins at Central Park, Monmore and Swindon catch the eye and, providing he doesn’t swing off too markedly at the turn, should win. However Drumdoit Fortune looks a viable alternative given his ace draw inside. Paul Burr’s runner showed his well-being with a recent A1 win and has posted some fast trials over tonight’s two-bend trip.
Play: Drumdoit Fortune
8.06: The first semi-final of the BresBet 75th East Anglian Derby and a fantastic clash between the two runners dominating the ante-post market now – Havana Class and Bockos Jon Jo. Both won their heats really well with not a huge amount between them on the clock. However might Patrick Janssens’ runner Bockos Jon Jo get the jump early? He has the sprint form in the book which could edge the McNair champion. Great race.
Play: Bockos Jon Jo
8.21: Bubbly Magnum did well to qualify from the heats and might now make hay in the semis. Paul Young’s dog could trap better from the midfield draw here and might soon be handy. He ran well in the Derby, proving himself again a good competition dog, and the kennel have a good record in this event. Aussie Captain also came to the fore in the Derby and can improve on his heat effort, although clearing Lylas Boy will not be straightforward.
Play: Bubbly Magnum
8.36: The third and final semi-final and Blastoff Mason looked good last week off the front, but so too did King Bruno, and their clash early could decide how this contest unfolds. The white jacket has the edge on the clock, but could the red jacket get first run for Seamus Cahill’s team? He’s stepped up from two bends to four in great style and Yarmouth clearly suits. Antigua Storm is no back number and will be thereabouts for sure.
Play: Blastoff Mason
The two heats of the Derby Purse follow the Yarmouth Derby semis and these can go to Jason Bloomfield’s Burgess Puma (8.42) despite the draw – a slick exit can cheat a trap five pitch – and Warzone Tom (9.11) who should solo outside for Liz McNair given a vacant trap inside and remains a class act.
Good luck all.