By William Hill
Last Updated: 6th November 2019
Our WilliamHill.com Greyhound experts are looking back at the Yorkshire St Leger Semi-Finals at Doncaster on Wednesday 16th October, where all 3 were separated by a mere 0.04s. Also looking forward to the much anticipated final which is being run this week and whether Roxholme Poppy will be able to defend her title in a strong field.
The favourite for the competition, and odds on favourite for the race, Antigua Fire was the main attraction in the first semi-final of the night. After an impressive victory the heats, Mark Wallis’s 3 year old was expected to repeat his performance and was sent off 4/7 favourite. But the impressive Sonic Spur had other ideas. Breaking well from the traps, Sonic Spur soon led for Sheffield trainer Chris Akers, and was already around 7 lengths clear of the rest of the field by the time she crossed the line for the first time. Antigua Fire, on the other hand, had a terrible start and found himself last with a circuit to run. Sonic Spur led all the way for a fairly comfortable victory in a time of 42.52, the real race was the race for second. Pond Adonis set out after Sonic Spur but Goldies Hotspur and Antigua were rapidly closing in. Pond Adonis was tired in the home straight and gave way to Goldies Hotspur, with Antigua Fire challenging for second. But it wasn’t enough from Antigua Fire and Goldies Hotspur qualified for the final by a head.
Reigning and defending champion Roxholme Poppy became the second disappointment for favourite backers when Mark Wallis made amends for losing Antigua Fire in the first semi-final, by winning the second semi-final with Avastorm. She became the second all-the-way winner of the night, holding on for a 1¼ length victory in a time of 42.48s. Roxholme Poppy gave herself an almost impossible task after a slow start, she was crowded in the 1st bend and had to check approaching the 3rd bend. But she found her top gear down the back straight and passed 3 rivals in turns 5 & 6 leaving her in 3rd place entering the home straight. She finished the race well, staying wide off the bend, carrying plenty of speed and getting up for second place on the line.
Only 4 dogs lined up for the 3rd semi-final, after Affleck Bolt and Droopys Tulip were withdrawn earlier in the week. Wounded favourite backers were determined to get some money back and Droopys Live was quickly punted from 5/6 in to 2/5. This time the favourite obliged, starting quickly Droopys Live managed to avoid the crowding at the first bend which saw Ballymac Zoro come off worst. Good champ led the chase and closed to around 1 length approaching the 5th bend, but could not find a way past the experienced Angela Harrison bitch, who knows Doncaster like the back of her paw. Droopys Live held on, winning in a time of 42.49s, beating Good Champ by 1 length.
The final looks set to be a fantastic race, Roxholme Poppy will defend her title from trap 6 with fast starting Sonic Spur in trap 5. Good Champ was drawn in trap 1 with Droopys Live in trap 2, ideally these 2 would have preferred to be drawn the other way round and this could cause problems approaching the first bend. Goldies Hotspur was drawn in trap 3 but lacks early pace and may find herself with too much ground to make up. Avastorm, who marginally set the fastest time in the semi-finals, will line up in trap 4 and may well set the pace with Sonic Spur. If these 2 take each other on early, that could give plenty of racing room to Roxholme Poppy who, as ever, will be finishing strongly, and could go on to successfully defend her title.
The final will be run on Wednesday evening and the betting can be found here.