Review Of 2009
Yes looking back over 2009 we do have to pinch ourselves, can you believe it! Our first Greyhound Derby winner in Kinda Ready sprouting wings to catch Charlie Lister's Fear Zafonic, so sweet ! A brilliant double for owners and kennel with our first St Leger winner as well from Kinda Easy in an epic duel with our own Droopys Zach who himself had been a revelation for most of the year landing a Category 1 Summer Stayers at Monmore. The second richest prize a whopping £40,000 was landed with the ultra consistent Jogadusc Ace in the William Hill Classic at Sunderland. The year started and finished well with the scintillating victories of Bomber Bailey in the Springbok and Corrig Vieri in the Arc at Swindon and then the emergence of Eye Onthe Storm who went on an amazing run of eleven consecutive wins landing both the Puppy Classic and the Eclipse in glorious fashion at Nottingham propelling him to Derby favouritism for 2010. Not forgetting some great performances from the likes of Eye Eye Pickle, Eye Onthe Flash, Kindred Sparky and many more. We broke records galore in our defence of the Trainers Championship ending the year some 585 points clear of our rivals in amassing 1,327 points with our kennel being the first ever to pass the £250,000 barrier in win prize money. In total we finished with 322 open race wins at a healthy strike rate of 25.7 %. Our acclaimed website continues to thrive and of course I personally thank all the people involved in the success of Imperial Kennels from our devoted staff full and part time led by Patrick Janssens and to our loyal owners who continue to dig deep in their pockets in hard times. To my wife Sarah who runs the show behind the scenes, mother in law Linda, physio Ron Mills and all our suppliers and friends that help us achieve the impossible. here's my full review of the year :-
A busy start to the year with the kennel firing on all cylinders with plenty of open and graded wins. Reagrove Class was our first open race winner when landing a 480m at Coventry. In the first big final of the year, the Coronation Cup at Romford, our Droopys Zach was a well beaten second to Droopys Carvalho in a flying 35.35 (-30). Although we had no runners in the William Hill Prestige Final live on Sky it was a great night with three winners that included old favourite Butterbridge Ali as well as Mountjoy Ruby and an exciting run from youngster Kinda Ready. It was a proud moment at the industry awards night in London when I picked up the Trainers Championship Trophy for 2008 to a rousing reception and on the track a few days later we were represented by no less than three runners in the first Category 1 final of the year the William Hill Birmingham Cup at Perry Bar. Directors Ruler couldn't get competitive from a poor draw but Goldcrest King and Mountjoy Gold were 2nd and 3rd respectively behind the flying Fear Zafonic though it still ended up being a great night as for the second Sky meeting running we had three supporting open wins in the shape of Butterbridge Ali, Tipp The Breeze and in what proved a significant meeting Kinda Ready produced an eye catching performance winning a decent puppy open, all in all a great start to the year.
A month that seemed to set the tone for the year. Our novice hurdler Bomber Bailey had looked as fast as anything but a bit erratic during the trial stakes and heats of the Springbok at Wimbledon but boy did he get it right on the night scorching to a 2 1/4 length triumph in a blistering 27.96. The Blue Square Arc had now moved to Swindon since Walthamstow's closure and in all we had nine entries including defending champ Centaur Decree. The snow brought chaos during the event and in the delayed final we only had one survivor in the shape of Corrig Vieri who had only really been entered to gain fitness after a lay off. In the final 'Dusty' ran superb beating Lenson Express by 1 1/2 lengths in 28.92 (-40) to land the £10,000 first prize for Barry and Rose Peters. In the middle of the month Kinda Ready also brought up our 50th open race winner when scorching around Monmore in a flying 28.01 in a Puppy Derby trial stake and the month could have gone even better as Aero Blackjack contested the £15,000 Golden Jacket final at Crayford but could only finish 5th behind Lorrys Options.
In my weekly newsletter as early as March I was predicting that in Kinda Ready we had a real Derby contender and later in the month his subsequent unlucky second to Bandicoot Topiki in the valuable Monmore Puppy Derby did nothing but enhance our strong feelings. The Betfair Trainers Championship meeting was the feature of the month with hosts Sheffield doing a fine job of staging the showpiece event. The night belonged to Charlie Lister whose incredible 6 winners and a 2nd made him a runaway winner, although we were pleased with the performances of our team where we were runner up to Charlie with Roswell Startrek our sole winner. Mountjoy Gold was only 5th from a bad draw in trap 5 in the Jem Racing Golden Crest final at Poole and a couple of weeks later was knocked out of the Pall Mall semi-finals at Oxford prompting owner Patsy Canavan to put him up for sale. Bought by a syndicate comprising of Duane Harvey, Gavin Cheeseman, John Keefe and Scott Fraser with some gentle persuasion by myself he was renamed Jogadusc Ace. An equally tongue twisting named dog Kengyelfuto Snow, an Hungarian imported dog, landed the Coral TV Maiden Trophy at Romford in good style. The sad loss of two good open racers Reagrove Class and Elusive Jazz was a real blow for us but the month ended on a real high when Arc hero Corrig Vieri won the Ladbrokes Spring Festival Stayers over 630m worth £5,000 in fine style.
Plenty of our good open racers were racking up the wins at Coventry on their regular Sunday night opens with the likes of the emerging Droopys Zach appreciating its excellent gallop. Kindred Sparky made the semi's of the Golden Sprint at Romford and with the Derby fast approaching Eye Eye Pickle won well in a Sky race at Wimbledon. We made a decision to go to Hall Green for the Blue Riband rather than make the long journey to Shawfield for the Scottish Derby and it looked the right decision when we qualified three runners in the final Goldcrest King, Mountjoy Ruby and the impressive Jogadusc Ace who came into the race unbeaten and was installed even money to win but a flying run from Tony Dean's Blond Fern who was only one spot off the clock in 28.06 when beating both Jogadusc Ace and Lenson Express who dead heated for second. Prolific winning bitches Genesis Sister and Genesis Dream were both retired with Genesis Dream returning to the now famous breeding paddocks of Ian and Brenda Seymour back in Ireland. Goldcrest Lord was our 100th open race winner of the year when stopping the winning streak of Vigorous Zico at Harlow and the Greyhound Derby Draw saw 142 entries go into the hat with 12 from Imperial Kennels.
Not surprisingly the Blue Square Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon was the centre of attention this month and though the entry of 142 was lower than previous years the quality was exceptional and there were some large crowds witnessing the first round action. In all we qualified eight of our twelve entries into the second round with Kinda Easy the only winner. Justins Princess landed a Monkey Maiden final over 415m at Harlow and in round 2 of the Derby both Kindred Sparky and Kinda Ready were impressive heat winners with Jogadusc Ace our only other qualifier. All three again ran well to make it to the quarter-finals with veteran Kindred Sparky proving a revelation when winning his heat again. The Derby was in full flow but the kennel and its owners faced the sad loss of our brilliant marathon bitch Genesis Alix who after an injury in a race at Harlow had to be put to sleep and the kennel during the month also suffered losing both Treacle Maggs and Wilson Pick It. In the Quarter-finals of the Derby Kindred Sparky narrowly lost out for a place in the semi's but Kinda Ready was growing in strength and made it through safely while Jogadusc Ace exploded from the traps to lead in his quarter-final but was just caught close home by Wise Thought but was also in the hat for the semi's giving his new owners a real thrill. The semi-finals of the Derby came quickly and after some agonising and nervous moments at last we made it. Kinda Ready ran superbly to finish second and easily make the premier classic final. Jogadusc Ace tried his hardest but was eliminated at this stage, a great run through the event none the less. The build up during the Derby final week is always special and the Derby lunch and various media interviews were lapped up by ourselves and at no time did we feel any pressure. On the track that week you could sense everything was going our way - Goldies Destiny won the Grolsch Puppy Trophy at Nottingham and Eye Eye Pickle bounced back from his Derby failure when landing the prestigious Monmore Stud Book Trophy worth £2,500 to the winner. On Derby final night there was a great atmosphere with Del Boy's owners Daren, Chris, Gary and Lee booking the Diamond room and a sea of orange representing his draw in trap 5 created some special moments. Our supporting runners started well with Goldcrest Lord landing the Sprint race and there were some excellent performances, if not slightly unlucky ones, from the likes of Droopys Zach and Kindred Sparky. The final itself has obviously been well documented through out our brilliant website but again let's see it in words
2009 BLUE SQUARE GREYHOUND DERBY - WINNER - KINDA READY!
A magic month for sure, one which we also announced the retirement of two of our biggest stars from the past namely Centaur Decree and Butterbridge Ali whom both now have superb homes and are enjoying a well deserved retirement.
After the Derby triumphs it was a slow start to the month with the important Gymcrack Puppy Trophy at Hall Green the key race. Droopys Bogart won the race well with our own Eye Onthe Storm finishing 3rd but showing plenty of promise of what we could expect in the future. Directors Chair rolled back the years with a win on Sky in a supporting 645m. Daren and the boys held an excellent party at the 'Hare' in Roxwell to celebrate Kinda Ready's Derby triumph and 'Del Boy' was warmly received when paraded at both Harlow and Coventry. News that there was some real interest in reviving Walthamstow back to its former glories was getting more than interesting. The regular Ladbrokes Festival races staged on the Bags cards at Monmore throughout the year were a real tonic for open races with some excellent prize money on offer and having already taken the main prize in the Spring (Corrig Vieri) Droopys Zach had made it into the Festival Stayers final, a Category 1 event. He had not ran as clean as we would have liked, although not fighting he was running a little in snatches but what happened in the final will long live in our memories for the year as he took the field apart with a devastating turn of pace landing the £7,500 winner's prize in total isolation in a scintillating 37.37 (+20). Just to cap off a memorable day in the Midlands Eye Eye Pickle continued his love affair with Monmore when landing the £2,00 to the winner Ladbrokes Festival Dogs race over 480m, what a great few weeks!
Not a great start to the month with a heavy defeat for Kinda Ready in Dundalk in the prestigious international race while at Sunderland both Droopys Zach and Corrig Vieri were eliminated in the William Hill Festival stayers. Kinda Handy and Pinewood Evo made the Crayford Rose Bowl final but had no answers to the impressive Ardbeg Kate and Eye Eye Pickle was a creditable 3rd in the £15,000 to the winner Swindon Produce Stakes Final won by Romeo Expert who broke the track record. We went into the sport's second largest prize money race the William Hill Classic final at Sunderland, worth a mere £40,000!, with only mild expectations but the consistent and often brilliant Jogadusc Ace produced an incredible amount of speed and guts to lead off the second bend and then go on to a famous victory that again had the journalists in rapture over our kennel's achievements so far in the year, stunning! Bomber Bailey was also starting to capture his early season form with track records at both Harlow (26.11) and Henlow (28.20).
A disappointing start to the month with Kinda Ready's elimination from the Irish Derby at the second round stage a real blow and with high expectations for the Puppy Derby at Wimbledon we were for once scratching our heads as we failed to make the final. The month got better as Eye Onthe Flash bounced back with a Sky win in the Puppy 460m and there were track records for both Bomber Bailey at Sheffield (29.23) and Droopys Zach at Sittingbourne (39.64) as well as both Kinda Handy and Kengyelfuto Snow producing good efforts to make the Peterborough Derby Final where they finished 4th and 5th respectively. In the Ladbrokes August Festival at Monmore the feature was the Gold Cup but both Jogadusc Ace and Eye Eye Pickle in the semi-finals couldn't overcome very poor draws in 6 and 4 with the going heavily favouring the inside. In the August Festival Stayers both Corrig Vieri and Droopys Zach dominated the final with Zach just getting up to deny his kennel mate to land the £5,000 to the winner event also becoming our 200th open winner of the year. There was a massive outcry over the GBGB's pooling fiasco and on the track we retired the brilliant Directors Chair after a superb career where he raced against and beat the best in training. Goldcrest King (3rd) and Kengyelfuto Snow (6th) made the Kent Derby final won by Lenson Bolt.
What a start to the month with the improving Eye Onthe Storm bolting up when landing the £7,500 to the winner Nottingham Puppy Classic by over 2 lengths beating a couple of Charlie Lister's highly regarded pups. This was our 5th Category 1 of the year and the next night Kinda Easy stepped back up in trip and was a commendable 4th in the Champion Stakes final at Romford won by Go Big Hitter. At Yarmouth Eye Eye Pickle was 5th in the Betfair East Anglian Derby final with Fear Zafonic leading home a 1-2-3 for Charlie Lister while Eye Onthe Storm enhanced his reputation with a nice win on the Sky in a Puppy open in 27.67. Face My Fortune won a Monkey Maiden final over 415m at Harlow.
Eye Onthe Storm continued his rich vein of form breaking Hall Green's track record (28.03) and followed up winning a Sky race in determined fashion at Belle Vue. Bomber Bailey also won in the hurdle race catching Platinumlancelot to end his long winning sequence. The William Hill St Leger kicked off at Wimbledon and all of our leading fancies Droopys Zach, Corrig Vieri and Kinda Easy went safely through the first round. The second round produced some suprise results and Corrig Vieri was desperately unlucky not to make the semi's when the trap malfunction played a large part in his elimination but both Zach and Easy qualified safely. The open winners were still going well at Coventry on Sundays and our first five runners all came in at a meeting including promising youngster Aero Bolt. Droopys Zach and Kinda Easy qualified safely into the Leger final and with the likes of Crown Rover falling by the wayside, the Classic looked there for the taking and wow did our fellas need no second invitation. Kinda Easy smashing out of the boxes raced into a healthy lead and when Droopys Zach moved into second position down the back straight the feeling of all the pressure on me being released was immense and now it was just a case of which of our stars was going to win. In a dramatic finish they both crossed the line together. I probably would have liked to see a dead heat but Kinda Easy was given the verdict to the delight of Daren, Chris and Gary who had now achieved a Derby/Leger double, stuff only dreams are made of! Earlier in the evening Eye Onthe Storm was fast becoming the dog everyone was talking about over four bends and again he bolted in over 480m recording a scintillating 28.49 but the night remained for the Leger victory of Kinda Easy and our kennel. This was the month that also GOBATA (Greyhound Owners Breeders and Trainers Association) was formed by the passionate Martin White and hopefully in a year's time I will be writing on what GOBATA has achieved for the good of our ailing industry.
This month was all about two events, firstly the Yorkshire St Leger at Doncaster which ended disappointingly for us when the well fancied Droopys Zach and Kinda Easy could only finish 4th and 6th respectively behind Capel Smiley. The second, the Betfred Eclipse at Nottingham where Eye Onthe Storm produced one of the most sparkling performances I have ever seen. Going into the final unbeaten in the event he looked to have a tricky draw in trap 5 but showing excellent speed and track craft he rushed to the front and simply destroyed his high class opponents scoring by over 5 lengths in a superb 29.51 to pick up the Eclipse trophy to go alongside his Puppy Classic trophy won a couple of months earlier. This was also our 300th open race win of the year and had catapulted us to a massive 500 points clear of our nearest rivals.
A quiet month to finish especially with the amount of disruption due to the weather. Kinda Ready returned to the kennel and is back in training, Kinda Easy and Corrg Vieri missed out in the Ladbrokes Festival Stayers but better luck in the Winter Derby at Henlow where Jogadusc Ace never put a paw wrong all through the event winning the final in dramatic fashion when holding off the strong late challenge from Doopys Bogart by a short head.The gutsy Kindred Sparky was retired. The last of our 322 open wins came at Harlow as fittingly Bell Tornado who is on fire at the moment scored in a superb 25.68 calc.
MAJOR COMPETITIONS WON IN 2009
Stan James Springbok - Wimbledon - £5,000 - BOMBER BAILEY
Blue Square Arc - Swindon - £10,000 - CORRIG VIERI
Coral TV Maiden Trophy - Romford - £750 - KENGYELFUTO SNOW
Ladbrokes Spring Festival Stayers - Monmore - £5,000 - CORRIG VIERI
Grolsch Puppy Trophy - Nottingham - £500 - GOLDIES DESTINY
Stud Book Trophy - Monmore - £2,500 - EYE EYE PICKLE
Blue Square Sprint - Wimbledon - £1,000 - GOLDCREST LORD
BLUE SQUARE GREYHOUND DERBY - WIMBLEDON - £100,000 - KINDA READY
Ladbrokes Festival Summer Stayers Classic - Monmore - £7,500 - DROOPYS ZACH
Ladbrokes Festival Dogs 480m - Monmore - £2,000 - EYE EYE PICKLE
William Hill Classic - Sunderland - £40,000 - JOGADUSC ACE
Ladbrokes August Festival Stayers - Monmore - £5,000 - DROOPYS ZACH
Caffreys Puppy Classic - Nottingham - £7,500 - EYE ONTHE STORM
WILLIAM HILL ST LEGER - WIMBLEDON - £13,000 - KINDA EASY
Betfred Eclipse - Nottingham - £8,000 - EYE ONTHE STORM
Winter Derby - Henlow - £2,500 - JOGADUSC ACE
MOST WINS IN 2009
19 - BELL TORNADO (13 OPENS)
18 - DROOPYS ZACH
16 - JOGADUSC ACE
15 - CORRIG VIERI
14 - EYE ONTHE STORM
- EYE EYE PICKLE
WEBSITE MOST PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK
6 - JOGADUSC ACE
5 - DROOPYS ZACH
4 - KINDA READY
- EYE ONTHE STORM
- BOMBER BAILEY
3 - BUMBLE LEE
- KINDRED SPARKY
- KINDA EASY
5 - MINT BULB
3 - RISKY FABIO
2 - BIM BAM BOOZLE
- SWEEP CLEAN
- LORD PISHY
- CENTAUR ROSINA
- BLACKEY SAID SO
IMPERIAL KENNELS PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
EYE ONTHE STORM - ECLIPSE
IMPERIAL KENNELS GREYHOUND OF THE YEAR
WEBSITE FIVE TO FOLLOW COMPETITION
1ST - COOL HAND LUKE (Paul Hicks) - 423 points
2nd - Ships Arms 1 - 399 points
3rd - Braves Choices - 397 points
- Imperial Prize 1 - 397 points
STAFF FIVE TO FOLLOW WINNER
1ST - SARAH - 431 POINTS
2nd - Doug - 346 points
3rd - Mick - 338 points
WEBSITE FIVE TO FOLLOW TOP SCORING DOGS
1ST - EYE ONTHE STORM - 136 POINTS
2nd - Droopys Zach - 111 points
3rd - Jogadusc Ace - 96 points