Shocks and surprises galore in the All England Cup opening round but not for impressive heat winner Affane Party who again looks nailed on in tonight's semi-finals. Check out Darrell Williams' selected wagers across tonight's Open race action.
"While Droopys Verve was never going to justify our confidence once Affane Party got loose our ante-post choice nevertheless ran a huge race in defeat and should confidently re-coup at least some of the losses in the second semi-final"
If Affane Party was impressive in the Yarmouth Derby final, last week's All England Cup first round romp accelerated John Lambe's exciting charge to an even higher echelon. And with the draw having strongly worked in his favour it is hard not to envisage him notching up a sixth successive victory in the opening semi-final (19:57) albeit at strictly prohibitive odds.
Verve for victory
Like many backers the first round proved a difficult night for this column but while Droopys Verve was never going to justify our confidence once Affane Party got loose our ante post choice nevertheless ran a huge race in defeat and should confidently re-coup at least some of the losses in the second semi-final (20:13) even if Bramble Reggie, whose impressive front-running exploits in winning his own heat, will need clearing.
Falcon the fancy in Jack re-match
The third semi-final (20:28) should lie between Falcon Bay and Jaguar Jack in a re-match of last week's clash with marginal preference for the first named, last week's victor, whose consistent trapping can again serve him well.
Droopys has a Live chance in Great North
The Great North Run has drawn a strong line-up including most of the principals from the recent Yorkshire Leger. Roxholme Poppy, the winner of that competition however may prove vulnerable against Droopys Live in the second heat (19:26) whose solid exploits over the slightly shorter 640m trip at Newcastle including the year's fastest time make her a viable alternative.
Don't let Maggie slip by
Slippy Maggie, whose winning sequence of five including success in the Kent Leger final was halted when chasing home Poppy at Doncaster is fancied to see out the 670m trip more comfortably than Three Steps winner Swift Hansel in what should prove a fascinating tussle for the third heat (19:42).
Minnies Highway arguably offers fair value in the opening heat (19:08) but preference remains with yet another Yorkshire Leger finalist in Calico Ranger whose late running surge can prove decisive.
Heron looks strong in pup heats
Three heats of a puppy competition also get underway albeit with most of the runners still looking to establish themselves in this division. One obvious exception is Droopys Heron who can already boast two wins over the CD and yet appears attractively priced against less experienced rivals in the third heat (18:55). Poolie Peyton, who ran with plenty of promise behind Droopys Heron a fortnight ago is fancied to give that form a boost in the opening heat (18:22).
Yarmouth, also live on RPGTV, provides its own share of Open race action with in-form Oh Yesyesyes fancied to take full advantage of his inside berth in a four-bend contest (20:23) and make it four wins in his last five Open races.
Good golly don't miss Molly
On a busy night the Brighton Belle also gets underway at Hove and while Donation will be too short for most in heat five (20:21), improving youngster Naughty Molly, who finished behind her in the Lowther final, should take the opener (19:17). Seaglass Celine another puppy on the up can overcome Kanturk Repeat, back on the card after recent clearing trials, in what should prove an intriguing fourth heat (20:06) while Baran Spitfire is another to keep on side in the last (20:38).