The first round of the 2018 St.Leger got underway on Sunday with few shocks. Accompanying the results are the views of Perry Barr racing manager Martin Seal.

There was no fairytale return for the 2015 St.Leger winner Fizzypop Buddy who led and faded to finish fifth. June Harvey’s runner might have been considered a touch unlucky though. In his first race for a year, the veteran’s calculated time would have seen him qualifying in all the other three heats, and winning one of them.

“The first heat served up a thrilling buckle between a determined Ridgedale Max and the diminutive Token Memory. Slippy Maggie had it all to do with a lap to go but produced a decisive back straight burst to give herself a chance entering the fifth and her stamina saw her home with a whirlwind finish. Hazel Kemp’s bitch is pure class.”

“Minnies Highway flashed out for John Mullins in the second heat and soon had a six length lead. Highly touted favourite Magical Icarus had a bit to do after early crowding but showed he is no one trick pony to gradually reel in the leader and win a shade comfortably in the end. Heroic Miss won the battle for third to advance for Laurence Tuffin.”

“An absolute thriller and a great example of why the Leger is such a terrific competition. Veteran Fizzypop Buddy was soon at the head of affairs, bidding to realise the dream for trainer June Harvey. Dream Wrecker punched well above her weight in this, the toughest of heats, and justified Shaun Moore’s opinion of her with a valiant effort.

“Favourite Calico Ranger still had a fair bit of ground to make up with half a lap remaining, with the field strung out in Indian file. As the field closed on Buddy approaching the last, all five were in with a shout, but Calico Ranger was motoring now and powered past on the outside to win going away. Goldies Hotspur ran well in third and is still a danger to all.”

“John Mullins took the final eliminator with his star bitch Rackethall Jess, moving up to a full six bend trip for the first time. Not best away, Jess showed excellent early pace to lead at the second and soon put daylight between herself and her pursuers, coasting home by 4 lengths. Capable of a much better start and the apple of John’s eye, Jess could give them all something to think about. Huarache Madison (John Lambe) and Tullig Thrill (Emma Richards) claimed the qualifying spots.”