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An excellent start to the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket and a stunning run from Antigua Romeo in the Winter Derby semi final at Hove provided a great weekend for Team Wallis. Our 2020 season has got off to a flying start following Antigua Rum's Coronation Cup victory last month and we have a wonderful chance to add more silverware to the cabinet in the next two weeks.
The interrupted preparation of Antigua Fire was a slight concern going into the first major Category 1 competition of the year but he showed little effects of the kennel sickness bug that forced his withdrawal in an intended race at Monmore the previous Saturday, tracking cleverly in heat 5 he turned second to the old stalwart Goldies Hotspur and obviously feeling well he showed a great burst of pace to lead down the back straight for the last time before pulling away to win in the fastest of the round 44.95. In what is the best Golden Jacket ever assembled in my memory it proved a sterling effort and one that has seen him shoot to the top of the bookmakers list and now trades generally as a 3/1 favourite to lift the trophy and £17,500 prize money. Earlier, Antigua Rum
stepped up in class from the previous week's maiden victory to take heat 1 in great style beating the running on Beechgrove Bell by a couple of lengths in 45.26. An eventful second heat saw the Irish raider Redzer Ardfert eliminated with our own Tiffield Maximus doing him no favours especially when the two collided at the first bend, meanwhile upfront the formidable Shotgun Bullet was leading the way with Aayamza Express making a charge to try and qualify, with bunching at the last bend she did so holding her rails position and finishing a close up third. She certainly stays the trip and if she can run the track slightly better she still holds claims for outright victory. To cap a great night off Avastorm produced her best effort at the tight Kent track when taking heat 6, after turning third behind Sizzling Diva and Sparta Master she showed excellent pace and track craft to burst in the lead off the last bend and go on to score in a very good 45.31.
This Saturday's semi finals not surprisingly ultra competitive with the trainers facing another challenge as these races are held in the morning meeting. The draws have worked out reasonably well for our team, Antigua Fire from trap 6 has to contend with loads of early pace on his inside not least Bubbly Bonita in trap 5 who takes a similar path to himself, providing he gets around unscathed his strength should stand him in good stead. Aayamza Express goes from trap 1 in the competitive second semi final and if she can hold her pitch around the opening turns would certainly have a great chance of making the final. No doubt the last semi final is the toughest and Antigua Rum faces a tricky task in getting a run with Shotgun Bullet on his inside and Roxholme Poppy on his outside. Avastorm is in trap 2 and if she tracks as well as she did last week she will take full advantage of any possible crowding up front. All in all the semi finals are mouth watering prospects and just to add to the excitement we also see three heats of the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy which until last year we had won seven times in a row, our hopes this year are resting on Alien Sea and Antigua Vows.
The £10,000 Winter Derby at Hove reaches its conclusion on Saturday night and it is a race that would grace any major four bend final. A stunning performance from Antigua Romeo
where he battled not only to get in a qualifying position but to win his semi final and our most improved open racer has done extremely well to make his first major final, only his best exit will suffice and even then there are some strong running rivals to contend with but we will enjoy the occasion and who knows we could pull another surprise like we did with the Coronation Cup.
We will be at Monmore this Saturday for their festival races with the prolific Coolavanny Messi bidding for a six timer over course and distance and Antigua Breeze will have one more race before we make plans for the RP Juvenile in which he has been put forward for.
We have had an influx of new dogs this last month and also our marathon star Bumblebee Bullet returned this week to boost our open race team and March and April definitely will be busy months for us. Sadly the GTA Trainers Championship meeting is struggling to find a slot in the calendar with the Derby starting earlier this year and may well be scheduled in June or July, I’m sure whenever it is it will be a great occasion.
On Friday at Romford winners were a bit thin on the ground but we were pleased with some runs, Antigua Vows was a close up 3rd in a 575m, Antigua Lad came from last to first in the heats of the Friday Night 500 Maiden Stayers and Antigua Sands also qualified for the final when 3rd in her heat. In the Friday Night 500 Standard heats we had two qualifiers with Kicking King second in heat 1 and Have A Brandy third in his heat. In the Friday Night 500 Maidens final Muxton Teddy was third in a messy race. Loose Chips ran well when second over 400m and Alien Sea was a good second beaten only 1 3/4 lengths by Droopys Aofie in 35.36.
As said our results at Crayford and Hove on Saturday night were excellent with Antigua Romeo winning his semi final of the Coral Winter Derby.
On Tuesday morning Come Home took an A9 by 3 lengths in 28.52, in form Ping Be Slick took an A4 in 28.34 by a head, Longacres Lily took an S3 in good style in 34.14. In the evening Schooldays, Ballyfinn Jade and Algo For You came closest when all runners up.
On Thursday Sligo Lily won well in an A8 in 28.55 while the in form No Can Boogie made it a hatrick of wins taking an S1 by over 5 lengths in a good 33.64, Jesses Sister won well in an A5 in a very good 27.86.
On Saturday Calco Dare won well in an A7 in 28.57 and Saleen Again won a good A3 coming from off the pace to win in 28.03.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ANTIGUA ROMEO
GRADED - PING BE SLICK
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
We have two little finals at Romford on Friday where we are doubly represented in each and a few other runners.
A big day on Saturdays we travel to Crayford in the morning for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket semi finals as well as the heats of the Peter Bussey Memorial and at night we look forward to the Coral Winter Derby final at Hove as Antigua Romeo bids to land the big race.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A great start to the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket for our supporters as all three of our ante post selections won their heats and Antigua Romeo landed his semi final of the Coral Winter Derby and though trading at around 5/1 still has a decent chance of grabbing the glory. We have one other runner through to the Golden Jacket semi finals and Aayamza Express, though not totally at home at the tight track, has an excellent make up in the second semi final and this class bitch has to be added to our portfolio at around 16/1.
AAYAMZA EXPRESS - 2 pts ew ante post 16/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford- semi finals Saturday am
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA FIRE- 2.5 pts each way ante post 7/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - semi finals Saturday am
ANTIGUA RUM - 2 pts ew ante post 8/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - semi finals Saturday am
AVASTORM - 1 pt each way ante post 16/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - semi finals Saturday am
ANTIGUA ROMEO - 2 pts each way ante post 6/1 - Coral Winter Derby - Hove - final Saturday