2009 Derby Special Newsletter
Wow! where do I begin. Well let's start with the real star KINDA READY, what a performance! Going into what was one of the best Greyhound Derby's for the last 20 years or so he was a complete outsider at 25 /1 but, as many people said, not without a genuine chance, myself and my team included. As i took my position at the first bend in the stands some twenty minutes before the off with an incredible amount of well wishes along the way the atmosphere was electric. The traditional Derby roar as the hare approached the traps was unreal. When the traps opened my heart sank as i could see 'Del Boy' find a touch of early bother and going into the first bend he was only in 5th place behind the colossal Fear Zafonic who, as expected with a Charlie Lister Derby finalist, had bolted from the traps to lead up. Suddenly in a blink of an eyelid the race changed as favourite Ballymac Ruso was forced to move off and collided with Farloe Reason. Showing awesome agility and pace our fella nipped through on the inside at the first two bends and moved in to second some 4 lengths down to Fear Zafonic. At that point I was only thinking we were going to be a good runner up but 'Del Boy' had other ideas as he raced down the back straight with real authority. Still 2 lengths down rounding the last couple of bends my mood changed and all of a sudden the raucous cheers from all the trap 1 supporters started to quieten and as Kinda Ready flew past the line I heard someone shout "5 has got up". No way! this doesn't happen to people like me, was my initial thoughts but the look on our Patrick's face will live long in the memory for the rest of my days. Having rushed up through the crowds to see the replay he came back just as fast, it was one of sheer jubilation, we had won! GET IN THERE ! was the cry.
I would be lying if I could tell you exactly what happened over the next half hour. Scenes of euphoria, and tears as well, but stunned that we had won the premier classic? no, all the sea of orange that you could see all night at the track all believed in our blue flyer. Only just out of puppy status he looked so cool and calm for one so young. His preparation had gone like a dream, we all sensed that something special was on the cards and so it proved. Stopping the clock at a brilliant 28.65 showed there was no fluke about the win. I have to say that in all my time in greyhound racing that feeling can never be beaten; the lap of honour I 'd watched for so many years was one I always envied and yes I was going to lap it up. Thousands upon thousands of owners and trainers over the years have dreamed of those moments and I can tell you it's as good as they would have imagined!
The story of Kinda Ready is one which fairy tales are made of. Bred by his owners out of former kennel star Kinda Sleepy, herself one of my all time favourites at the kennel and trained by my mother in law Linda Jones (I still have scars from her when she used to nip your arms and even legs when in a playful mood), he is out of her second litter by Just The Best (passed away last week) and along with brother and sister Easy and Free all started their careers at Coventry. Having won in good style at that track his first away open was at Hall Green but not in a puppy open as that had not filled, it was all aged race. After falling out of the boxes he came from well off the pace to beat the experienced Birchfield Hero. For myself it was the next Sky race at Perry Barr that Kinda Ready showed a glimpse of what was to come showing blistering middle pace he won the puppy open in 28.50. On the same night the other impressive winner was Fear Zafonic beating our Goldcrest King in the Birmingham Cup final - the signs were there. After a defeat at Wimbledon it was off to the prestigious Monmore Puppy Derby where a brilliant 28.21 calc in a trial stake set tongues wagging only to be almost pole axed in another trial stake when beaten nearly 16 lengths to fellow Derby finalist Glenard Sunrise the week after. In the competition itself a first round victory was followed by a great second in the semi's behind Bandicoot Tipoki who broke the track record in 27.76. The final was billed as one of the best ever and Kinda Ready didn't disgrace himself running a superb race to be a close up second beaten 3/4 length to Bandicoot Tipoki in 27.96. A break for over 5 weeks followed before going into the gruelling Derby and as me and Daren have said to each other, we had a plan!
Kinda Ready is owned by Daren Johnson, Chris Badger, Gary Crouch and Lee Jordan and as everyone can see their enthusiasm during the event has shone through. Having decided to book the Diamond room for 80 people, including inviting many of our other owners, the atmosphere created was a pleasure to behold. All that attended would like to say a big thank you to the lads for their kind gesture. On a personnel note I would also like to say thank you for the loyalty they have shown to Imperial Kennels over the last 10 years that we have been associated - they deserved this Derby victory more than most!
As I have said many times during the last few years, behind every trainer there is a team of dedicated staff and in that department we are blessed. Kinda Ready's Derby victory has left us all on cloud nine and I take my hat off to them. My wife Sarah and son Daniel joined us on the parade. Patrick, the best right hand man in the industry, had been to every trial and trial stake since the event started and deserves the utmost praise as does Patrick's girlfriend Cheryl Tillett who joined an elite club of Greyhound Derby winning paraders. Pete, Sid and Will my other full time staff all play their part in the Derby success as does the rest of my part time staff Sandra, Steph, Doug, Mel and Shanel. Lastly our kennel would not be complete without expert Physio Ron Mills's hard work week in week out! Thank you.
Mark & Sarah Wallis