“The whole competition is very wide open. I think there could be some surprises in the semi finals” said Jeff Piper last Friday morning.

As predicted by the Hove racing manager, the shocks came thick and fast with all three favourites eliminated in the Coral Regency last night.

Fastest first round winner Roxholme Butt was the first to go in a race dominated early by Kentish Wonder who clocked the fastest sectional of the night. Butt looked set to take the other qualifying place until trouble around the last two bends as Goldies Hotspur qualified for her seventh Cat 1 final.

In relation to the second semi, Piper hat noted, “Sheldan also impressed me. He has always looked as though he wanted further and is running out of his skin. He will be a big player in the second semi”

So it proved with with Kevin Boon’s 4-1 chance destroying the opposition for early pace and then holding off a game Magical Icarus.

Of the third semi, Piper predicted “The outside three look the big fancies in the third semi. I would expect Roxholme Poppy to come on from that run. She found all sorts of trouble and did exceptionally well to qualify.”

And so it proved with the outside three dominating early before Poppy seized the initiative in the fasteset time of the night. Aaayamza Breeze ran on for second. It was a remarkable run for Mark Wallis’ bitch who was contesting her third Regency notwithstanding a broken hock earlier in her career.


Coral Regency 1st semi: Kentish Wonder (t6) and Droopys Denny (t1) dispute the lead at the penultimate bend, with almost hidden winner Goldies Hotspur (t4 top left) starting her late run to outstay them all. Photo: © Steve Nash

SHELDAN still holds the call at the fifth bend in the second Regency semi final, as Stardom (t1) tries in vain to find a way past Kevin Boon’s in-form bitch, who won in 41.56 Photo: © Steve Nash

So what does the supreme judge make of the final?

Piper said: “It is a very good final, though there are a couple who were eliminated who I would loved to have seen still in it. I would expect Sheldan to lead and can any of the others catch her. The only fly in the ointment would be Roxholme Poppy. If she flies out, I wouldn’t expect her to be beaten.”