It's a double big race header with both the Puppy Derby at Monmore and Sheffield's Steel City Cup up for decision before the curtain comes down temporarily on the Open race scene. Darrell Williams pinpoints the best bets...
"Liz McNair’s Queen JessieJ fields the only unbeaten record in the event and if trapping in the same manner she has in both rounds so far that record can remain intact"
Seldom does the Monmore Puppy Derby not produce at least a few future stars but it may be a case of ladies first tonight at Monmore (18:49). Liz McNair's Queen JessieJ fields the only unbeaten record in the event and if trapping in the same manner she has in both rounds so far that record can remain intact.
Noticeably edging across to the rails in last week's semi-final romp over litter-brother King Drake - an improving type who could outrun double-figure odds - her consistency at the boxes should allow her to clear Swift Lettuce on her inside. Not that it will be easy with John Mullins' charge, the winner of four of his six starts at the host track, no slouch at the boxes himself.
Jacko big threat with a run
An even bigger threat however is likely to be Newinn Jacko whose marginally quicker split than the selection last week affords him huge respect particularly given there was only a few spots between the pair in their respective victories. Ernie Gaskin's charge achieved his fastest sectional to date in that performance from trap six but with his intentions to edge middle on the run-in trap three could prove even better although his versatility has seen him notch up victories from four different traps at the Wolverhampton circuit. However, clearing his equally fast starting market rival may just prove too much of an ask.
Ranger has tricky draw to overcome
Sheffield's Steel City Cup final (21:18) is nothing if not competitive but a race in which the draw could have the final say with railer Headford Ranger, fastest in both qualifying rounds, needing to overcome a tricky looking trap five slot. That task is likely to be made all the more difficult with the presence of fellow semi-final winner Ballymac Ambrose alongside who is likely to steer a true line from trap four, a box the Manchester raider has yet to be beaten from in four attempts including twice over this CD, potentially denying Kevin Hutton's runner from getting a clear run.
All of which could play into the paws of Deadly Expert who took full advantage of an excellent make-up from trap six last week and while not able to match Ranger on the clock last week can steer a clear path outside to victory.
On the support card Inca Coney, unbeaten in five previous sprint outings at the track, can further enhance her excellent record over the 280m trip (18:39) with rails moving Ballymac Tessa likely to aid her cause by edging in from trap three.
Referendum best known as a sprinter at Sheffield reminded us that 480m is well within his compass with a wide margin victory last week and it is hard not to see him repeating the feat over the same trip (19:36).
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Inca Coney to win 1.5* 18:39 Shef
Queen JessieJ to win 1* 18:49 Mon
Referendum to win 1* 19:36 Shef
Deadly Expert to win 1* 21:18 Shef