On Tuesday the 7th of October, the Steel City Cup began at Owlerton Stadium in Sheffield. The £8k Category 1 competition has been ran annually at Owlerton since 1970, making it one of the longest lasting races. Last year it was won by Signet Goofy, trained by John Mullins who is attached to Towcester and Yarmouth, in a time of 28.76.
This year’s competition began with almost an hours delay due to issues with the hare, however the wait was certainly worthwhile! The crowds weren’t as big as I remember them being last year, with the restaurant being almost empty, but the atmosphere certainly didn’t lack as owners stood passionately cheering on their dogs, hoping for a shot at the Semi-Finals next week (October 10th).
Below is a small summary of each heat, along with the qualifying dogs, videos and later an analysis of the Semi-Finals card!
What an incredible way to start the Steel City Cup! Yes Butt No Butt managed to get the win despite being a massive 33/1 longshot. The locally trained Sean Davy runner was quick away from the start and always led, but it was a very tight finish in the end with Rallying Range, the evens money favourite, showing some good pace to track down Yes Butt No Butt. However, it wasn’t enough as he was beaten by a short head. Frankton Sal was definitely an interesting dog to watch. Unlike the others, she showed little early pace, running at the back of the pack throughout. However, on the final straight she powered down the rail earning herself the qualifying third place. Despite it being the slowest time of all the heats with a winning time of 29:12, it was certainly an excellent start to proceedings and a sign of things to come.
1st: Trap 2, Yes Butt No Butt (29.12), Owned by Mr.N.J.Brereton & Mr.C.A.Perry. Trained by Sean Davy (Sheffield)
2nd: Trap 6, Rallying range (29.13), Owned by Miss.E.Shaw. Trained by Graham Rankin (Monmore)
3rd: Trap 1, Frankton Sal (29.22) Owned by Mr.D.Holmes & Mr.C.C.Purdy. Trained by John Sharp (Doncaster)
Heat 2 saw odds on favourite Brookside Richie lose out to Coppice Rocket by a neck. The 6 dog, Coppice Rocket, was lightning quick away and always led. The dog in trap 2, Brookside Richie, gave it his best near the line but was ultimately beaten. The first bend saw trouble in behind, with all the dogs coming together briefly, giving Coppice Rocket a clear run. Trap 3, Marlfield Diaz was one of the dogs caught in this trouble, however he powered on showing some great strength on the home straight allowing him to qualify in third. A great result for Newcastle, with all 3 dogs being trained there!
1st: Trap 6. Coppice Rocket (28.90) Owned By Mr.A.W.Brealey. Trained by James Fenwick (Newcastle)
2nd: Trap 2. Brookside Richie (28.93) Owned by Mr.R.A.Vickers. Trained by James Fenwick (Newcastle)
3rd: Trap 3. Marlfield Diaz (28.94) Owned by Mr.I.E.Farrow, Mr.M.Martindale & Mr.W.Scott. Trained by Tom Heilbron (Newcastle)
Unlike Heat 1, Heat 3 had the fastest time so far in the competition, with the winner achieving 28.66. There was another upset with the 12/1 shot Fearmore Delboy in trap 4 running away as clear winner by 5 lengths ahead of the much fancied Droopys Doughnut in trap 1. Trouble on the first bend aided Fearmore Delboy’s cause and there was only one winner after that. Seaside Champ was back in 3rd, running strongly throughout. The other 3 didn’t feature in this race, being badly bumped on the first bend but running on well.
1st: Trap 4. Fearmore Delboy (28.66) Owned by Mrs.D.M.Seville. Trained by Kevin Seville (Kinsley)
2nd: Trap 1. Droopys Doughnut (29.07) Owned by Patrick Janssens Racing. Trained by Patrick Janssens (Towcester)
3rd: Trap 6. Seaside Champ (29.09) Owned by Mr.M.I.Hibbard & Mr.K.McCormick. Trained by Jason Gray (Nottingham)
This was more of a clean contest than the previous heat, Acomb Felix, Distant Hugo and One Day Tom all contesting at the front of the pack for most of the race, but it was Acomb Felix who triumphed over Distant Hugo by a head with One Day Tom back in 3rd. Eze, the 11/10 favourite was well beaten in 4th. He ran on extremely strongly on the home straight to catch the group, but there was just no beating Acomb Felix who had a clear run throughout.
1st: Trap 2, Acomb felix (28.80) Owned by Mr.K.J.Ferguson. Trained by Kevin Furguson (Kinsley)
2nd: Trap 6, Distant Hugo (28.82) Owned by Mr.P.D.Band. Trained by Barry Draper (Sheffield)
3rd: Trap 5, One Day Tom (29.03) Owned by Mr.N.Keleltt. Trained by Jason Gray (Nottingham)
This heat saw Acomb Johnny run out of trap 6 as a reserve after Coppice Kaiser was withdrawn lame. This heat, again was quite a messy race from the start with dogs getting bumped out of the traps and then again on the first bend. From here, Swift Iconic lead the others from the traps right up to the finish line, winning by 1 ¼ over Wicky Hiker who contested the lead throughout. The 5/4 favourite, Acomb Irene, qualified third by 1/2 a length. She ran in third the majority of the race, however on the home straight she ran really strong up to the line, to secure her spot in the Semi-Finals.
1st: Trap 1, Swift Iconic (28.83) Owned by Mr.C.J.Waters. Trained by John Mullins (Yarmouth/Towcester)
2nd: Trap 2, Wicky Hiker (28.93) Owned by Mr.J.Maud & Mr.G.Price. Trained by Phil Barlow (Sheffield)
3rd: Trap 4, Acomb Irene (28.98) Owned by Mr.K.J.Ferguson. Trained by Kevin Ferguson (Kinsley)
The final heat saw all kinds of trouble for all the dogs involved. Last year’s champion, Signet Goofy unfortunately didn’t qualify after being caught up in trouble on the first bend leading him to finish in 5th place. In this heat it was Rioja Joey who came out victorious, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over the even money favourite Coolavanny Shado. Brinkleys Magic qualified in third, he was running in last place the majority of the race, however the collisions on the final bend allowed him to run on strongly to qualify. Ellanne Best was one of the dogs who missed out on qualifying due to these collisions. The Sheffield trained dog led for almost all of the race, showing some great early pace from the traps, however numerous bumps on the final bend cost him his spot in the Semi-Finals next Tuesday (10th of October).
1st: Trap 3, Rioja joey (28.94) Owned by Mr.P.A.Woodburn. Trained by Kevin Hutton (Oxford)
2nd: Trap 1, Coolavanny shado (29.05) Owned by Patrick Janssens Racing. Trained by Patrick Janssens (Towcester)
3rd: Trap 2, Brinkleys Magic (29.28) Owned by Mr.L.P.Kinsella. Trained by Tom Heilbron (Newcastle)
Semi-Final Trap draw
All odds are correct as of 04/10/23 and are from the sponsors of the steel city cup (BresBet)
The Semi-Final will take place on 10/10/23.
Semi-Final 1 sees the fastest dogs in the competition go head to head for a chance in the Finals on the 17th of October. This Semi-Final could be quite messy up to the first bend with traps 1 to trap 4 all running well out of trap 1 and 2 in their respective heats. Fearmore Delboy (Trap 5) is likely to qualify if he runs as well has he did in the heats. He has both the fastest time and fastest sectional, showing some frighteningly early pace. Although he is typically in trap 4, he has won out of trap 5 previously so the change shouldn’t hinder him.
T1. 12/1 T2. 9/2 T3. 22/1 T4. 14/1 T5. 18/1 T6. 20/1
The second Semi-Final features both Droopys Doughnut and Coolavanny Shado, who both came second in their heats for the Patrick Janssens Racing syndicate. These 2 ran with extremely similar times and sectionals so it’ll be interesting to see how they do against each other. Rioja Joey (trap 4) seems likely to qualify. His run in heat 6 was phenomenal, if he can run like that again he should secure a place in the final. The first bend may be quite messy, which could allow Seaside champ, a clear route through. She appears to be strong to the line so there is definitely some potential for her to sweep up a qualifying place coming from the back of the rest.
T1. 5/1 T2. 7/2 T3. 66/1 T4. 10/1 T5. 16/1 T6. 50/1
To call this Semi-Final exciting would be an understatement. The 2 qualifying places could go to anyone, it all depends on how they run on the day. Coppice Rocket is the only wide seed in this race, running out of trap 6. This could lead him to run similar to how he did in the heats. He has the best sectional time of the whole competition, so he should avoid potential trouble on the bend and get a clear run. Sheffield trained Yes Butt No Butt was an extremely unexpected qualifier in the first heat, running at 33/1. Could he shock everyone again and make it through to the final? Anything is possible.
T1. 66/1 T2. 28/1 T3. 8/1 T4. 18/1 T5. 8/1 T6. 12/1