Competitive extended distance finals are collectors items but the Carlsberg Boxing Day Marathon will be added to the that select group when it is staged at Crayford a week on Tuesday.
Inch Forward holds a marginal advantage after clocking the fastest semi final on Saturday. Stuart Buckland’s runner enjoyed an exciting buckle with Maireads Ivy before prevailing by a length in 56.13 (+60).
Slippy Maska’s winning time of 56.61 was recorded on slightly slower going earlier in the meeting and followed a late surge to beat the gallant Babalourbar who tried to make all. The Henlow runner was eventually beaten three lengths with Meadow holding on for third.
With the exception of Diesel Flo – who has finished runner-up in both a Boxing Day Marathon (2015) and a Golden Jacket, but is now five an a half years old and 15 races without a win – there is little between the other five in the £2,500 decider.
Maireads Ivy the defending champion, is gradually returning to her best form and has four wins and four seconds from eight Crayford races. Apart from being the fastest qualifier, Stuart Buckland’s Inch Forward – who began her career in A8 at Hall Green – was fast enough to win a British bred Leger over 642m, but has won over as far as 906m at Towcester where she ran third in the Dorando Marathon.
From the first qualifier Bobaloubar, found nine lengths between her first two extended distance races, and should improve further. Kent Cesarewitch winner Slippy Maska is unbeaten in four over course and distance with a best of 56.06. Meadow – who is many lengths faster when dominating a race – has 44.99 form for 714m and came from behind to beat Maireads Ivy in her previous 874m outing.