The unique nature of the Three Steps To Victory with each round over an ascending distance concludes over 660m at Sheffield. Darrell Williams assesses the card.
"While Celine would need to break sharply from her middle draw to get first run on Bull Run Button her more generous odds than that rival makes it a chance worth taking"
With Turnhouse Jet a good winner for this column in the Champion Hurdle final over the weekend we're hoping to continue the run in a race I believe can be narrowed down to two main protagonists.
The unusual conditions of this event, with the first two rounds over four bends, has clearly suited the standard distance runners with most of the stronger runners already eliminated and only three of the finalists having any previous six bend form.
Can Button sew up victory?
Last year's Juvenile heroine Bull Run Button has returned to something near her best form clocking marginally the fastest semi-final time after an unlucky defeat in the heats.
While trap one appears neither hit or miss to Barrie Draper's bitch her draw inside Sharpys Pluto should suit her perfectly if trapping to the best of her ability. However, whether a one from one record over six bends when winning at Monmore a year ago is enough evidence to make her favourite or indeed the selection is debatable and while she's one for the shortlist I do feel there's better value elsewhere.
Celine the one to 'Bion'
Pat Janssens has enjoyed a stellar year and in Seaglass Celine he clearly has a bitch who has taken to the extended trip with four wins from her eight six bend tests, comparable form which the opposition simply cannot match. Only Sharpys Pluto has any substantial form over 600m+ and that is a good few lengths shy of what is required.
While Celine would need to break sharply from her middle draw to get first run on Bull Run Button, which appears fundamental if she is to follow up what in hindsight wasn't perhaps such a shock semi-final victory, her more generous odds than that rival makes it a chance worth taking.
Rocket John, one to keep on side over four bends, and Lemon Ronald may in time prove that this a trip that suits them perfectly but betting on educated guesswork is seldom the best method of attack and both they and Ballymac Diego therefore have to be opposed.
When it comes Down To it
Down To The Felt, called up for next week's Select Stakes, can give his Nottingham rivals plenty to think about by making it three wins from his last four contests in the Brit Bred (19:42) A winner over 500m last week, the drop back to 480m unlikely to prove an obstacle to Heather Dimmock's charge.
Whatever Barrie Draper's fate in the feature, he should be on the mark with Worsboro Cookie, who can follow up last week's 660m victory (19:57) and in turn reverse previous CD form with Keeperhill Abbie from what should prove a more suitable make-up.
Geelo can breeze in
Geelo Brezza, an impressive sprint winner at Monmore recently and who lost any credible chance when stumbling at Perry Barr last time can show that trap five holds no fears in the feature sprint (20:59).
Down To The Felt To Win 19:42 2*
Woroboro Cookie To Win 19:57 1*
Seaglass Celine To Win 20:44 1*
Geelo Breeza To Win 20:59 1*