16th July 2019
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Antigua Fire and Chubbys Caviar line up in a tough semi final tonight at Sheffield in the 500m leg of the Three Steps to Victory Category 1 and though both are trading as first and second favourite for the event itself it certainly is a tough semi final and only the first two go through. Chubbys Caviar will try to use her early pace to get across and lead and though she's a middle runner she definitely has a tendency to cut to the rails at the turn, this would help Antigua Fire who could turn handy if she did and then use his strength to try and get in the first two. Any mistake tonight and they will both be out I'm sure, we will worry about the final itself a week tonight if they qualify!
The Three Steps is such a novel event it was massively oversubscribed and maybe more of these type of competitions are the way forward as certainly some other events surrounding this have struggled to reach the required number. The Henlow Puppy Derby, Guys & Dolls and Champion Hurdle which are all about to come to a conclusion failed or had to scrape a few entries to start the competitions. I was told by the Hove Racing Office that the Sussex Cup, which kicks off this Thursday, also was struggling to get to the required 36 runners. At Swindon on Saturday we only had one entry in the Produce Stakes but worryingly for the event and British breeding only around 45 runners made the starting line up. It's not that long ago where there were 100+ entries and a pre-qualifying trial session was needed. Asking some of the trainers why they thought this was and many said that travelling with the A4 and lower graded British Bred dogs was a waste of time as prize and run money at their own tracks made it not worthwhile, especially from SIS tracks, this might also apply to some of the other events above as well .Liz and Rab Mcnair have a powerful squad and maybe also they scared a few off but overall there needs to be some more thought to make the event as prestigious as it once was.
We have four entries in the Sussex Cup and the top end of the ante post market says it's going to be a tough competition to win even if they have only scraped together the required number. Brinkleys Poet needs to recapture his best form to be involved while Antigua Sands is a high class bitch who is improving at the right time, Alien Sea is fast but just can't seem to escape trouble and we are taking a chance on pitching our puppy Antigua Rum in the deep end against older rivals but he was ultra impressive winning a Maiden last week and there's nothing else about for him. Whilst at Hove it gives us a chance to run some other open racers and it's always a pleasure being at the South coast track at this time of the year.
We are only a couple of weeks away from the Ladbrokes Gold Cup and Summer Stayers Classic and we hope to do well in both events. Antigua Vows stepped up to six bends last week at Romford to win a Maiden 575m in a decent time for a first go over six bends and could be well suited to the 630m while Antigua Romeo looks our best hope in the Gold Cup. July is another hectic month on the competition side and we are hoping the weather is nice but please none of those ridiculous temperatures we experienced on Derby Final night!
As everyone knows I'm a huge sports fan in general and the country is in a state of euphoria with the dramatic Cricket World Cup victory on Sunday, it was incredible viewing and will be talked about for many a year. I'm not really a tennis fan but even that men's final was breathtaking. This week we come to one of my favourite sporting events of the year the golf Open Championship at Portrush. Rory Mcilroy will be all the rage but the weather conditions look wet and breezy so we could see a shock or two. Experience could really count here and Henrik Stenson is striking the ball as well as ever and could be well worth an each way punt at 30/1, another excellent wind player is Brandt Snedeker and 125/1 is massive (11/2 top 20 as well). I can't wait for Thursday for the coverage to start and iPads will be on while we are working and 5 Live's coverage on the radio is excellent while we are travelling.
Our first set of 5 To follow results will be up later today and we have had around 250 teams entered for the chance to win a share in a pup. We had a few big priced winners so the leaderboard should be interesting.
At Sheffield on Tuesday the Three Steps to Victory kicked off with the 480m heats and both Busters Bullet and Brigadier Bullet fell victim to this way too short distance for them but in form Chubbys Caviar made it five wins on the spin when landing her heat in 27.93 with Antigua Fire comfortably qualifying in third place.
A busy night at Hove and mixed results. Antigua Rum took a decent Maiden with a nice burst of middle pace and was going away to score in a good 29.87 but Brinkleys Poet could only finish 3rd in his Sussex Cup trial stake. Aayamza Breeze looked a likely winner of the 692m but just didn't get going quick enough on the run in and was narrowly beaten in second place. Aayamza Express was only 4th in her maiden but it was her first run since last summer and she should come on for the run.
At Romford on Friday Cuil King ran much better seeded nearer the rails when second over 400m, but our Racing Club had a nice winner as Deans Hail Mary barged her way to the front to land a Maiden in 24.70 and Antigua Vows made no mistake when stepped up to 575m winning well in 35.53.
Passing Stranger just failed to qualify in the Produce Stakes first round at Swindon on Saturday and on Sunday it was good to see Silva Hill bounce back to form stepping back up to 428m winning well in a very fast 25.64 though we didn't have much luck in the other opens with Glassmoss Queen a close up second in the 460m Maiden.
Just runners Tuesday morning with Ice Cool Ellis knocking on the door when runner up while on Thursday we had plenty of seconds and thirds with Ping Be Slick impressive in an A5 winning well in 28.03.
Just a few runners on Saturday with Calco Cool again finishing second over 550m where a win looks around the corner.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - SILVA HILL
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A busy week starting tonight at Sheffield where Chubbys Caviar and Antigua Fire line up in the 500m semi final of the Three Steps to Victory.
The Sussex Cup starts on Thursday and we have four entries and also three interesting runners in supporting opens including the young Bumblebee Bullet over 695m.
We will be at Romford on Friday and Monmore on Saturday for their twice monthly festival races and we should have a few runners at Henlow on Sunday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Well I did say Chubbys Caviar was exceptional value in the Three Steps to Victory at 33/1 and she is down to as low as 5/1 now for outright honours though I must admit if Antigua Fire can qualify for the final I will be highly recommending him to give us another chance of collecting.
The Sussex Cup kicks off at Hove this week and I'm sticking with another bitch who's starting to run to her best in Antigua Sands, yes it will always be difficult for these bitches to beat their male counterparts over these four bend distances but she should be value when the ante post prices appear.
ANTIGUA SANDS - 2 pts ew ante post - Sussex Cup - Hove - starts Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
CHUBBYS CAVIAR - 2 pts ew ante post 33/1 - Three Steps To Victory - Sheffield - semi finals Tuesday
ANTIGUA RUM - 3 pts win - Hove - Thursday - WON evens