Mark Wallis remains hopeful of sealing Ladbrokes Golden Jacket glory after moving a step closer to a second successive final.
The Lakenheath-based trainer saw Black Francis come through his heat on Friday in second place behind Droopy’s Bear to secure his berth in today’s semi-final at Crayford.
And although the Imperial Kennels owner is aware of the threat posed by rivals in the heat, including favourite Roxholme Dream, he has backed his 20-1 outsider to progress to Tuesday’s final and possibly clinch the £17,500 event title.
“ Only the first two will qualify for the final on Tuesday, but we are very hopeful he will do that,” he said. “He is up against Roxholme Dream, who is one the biggest favourites for quite a few years.
“However, he is running well and after having a good last year we are hopeful this will be a great one for him.
“It is not all about winning your heat, it is just important to make it through and then hope you enjoy a bit of luck along the way.
“I still think we can win the title. We just need to find a couple of extra lengths and if we do, we won’t be far off.”
Elsewhere, Wallis could be celebrating further joy on Sunday as Blackstroke Marco and Blonde Razor take to the track in the category two Bunny Bookmakers Gold Cup in Henlow on Sunday.
“They are both really good dogs who have impressed, so we’re hopeful of another victory for the kennels,” he added.