Mark Wallis won half of the RPGTV St.Leger first round heats and was then favoured when his trio avoided the tough third semi final.

Quickest on the clock was Kent St.Leger winner Antigua Fire with an impressive 43.31 victory. It was the fastest time of the year, despite the track running -30 slow. (Last year’s final was won in 43.09 on normal going).

Perhaps significantly, the fastest three times were recorded earlier in the evening – Headford Ranger was next best – with the last three all staged on further rain drenched surface.

Wallis was one of the trainers who responded to racing manager Martin Seal’s query as to whether the event should have been staged over the track’s 660 or 710 metres courses.

He said: “I have always loved the true stamina test of the St.Leger. I remember going to Wembley many years ago and watching Manx Marajax win at big odds, and then being delighted that Wimbledon kept the competition over the 688 metre course, rather than the 668.

“I don’t think the St.Leger should be staged for overblown four-bend dogs. It should give marathoners a chance, as we saw with the likes of Spiridon Louis.

“Although Perry Barr isn’t the easiest track to run first time, it is far from the worst, and our three winners went there without trials. The way I see it, they can find their way around on the second lap.

“Given the way the draw has worked out – I am delighted to have missed that third semi – I would hope to get at least one through to the final, maybe more.”

All three of the fancied Irish runners were beaten though Riverside Honey and Redzer Ardfert made it through to the semi finals. Lenson Blinder was disputing the lead when KO’s in the fourth qualifier.

Click on results to watch video replays

Semi finals:

1 Causeway Sergie, 2 Piemans Noelle, 3 Longacres Kim, 4 Goldies Hotspur (m), 5 Antigua Fire (w), 6 Summer Savvy (w).

 1 Skilful Sandy, 2 Savana Cleo, 3 Bumblebee Bullet, 4 Avastorm (m), 5 Confey Joy (w), 6 Good Karma (w).

 1 Headford Ranger, 2 Redzer Ardfert, 3 Brave Ark, 4 Fabulous Marina, 5 Magical Icarus (w), 6 Riverside Honey (w).