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It was another rollercoaster of a weekend for our team at Imperial Kennels. On Friday we had a couple of nice winners but managed to see two of our long odds on shots get beat and in a messy 400m final Saffrons Xpress was just touched off. On Saturday we had an excellent night both at Hove and Monmore with 5 open race winners including a powerful performance by Drumcrow Brent in his heat of the Olympic and a near 12 length win from Aayamza Royale in a TV Trophy trial stake. We were brought down to earth on Monday as all four of our bitches in the Oaks second round were eliminated and that certainly saw our last resemblance of hope of retaining the Trainer of the Year title extinguish and the trophy I’ve had sitting on my mantelpiece since 2012 will be handed over to our good friend Patrick Janssens who richly deserves the title after an incredible 2020 on the track.
It might sound like sour grapes and I keep saying this year after year but again we witnessed shocking weather as the delayed Oaks continued at Swindon. You could not hardly see, it’s freezing cold and trainers travel from all across the country and across the water for this event, need I go on. Please can the open race committee please put this right for 2021, the Oaks need to be run between the Derby and the St Leger!
As I said last week we would love to end the year on a high and we have a chance at Hove. We qualified three of our runners for the semi finals of the Olympic with Drumcrow Brent
putting in a powerful performance winning his heat by 4 1/4 lengths in a very good 29.97. Hardy Rebel and Antigua Boy also qualified for the semis and hopefully we can at least get one to the final. The TV Trophy heats get underway on Saturday and we are set for a mouth watering clash between Roxholme Kristof and our Aayamza Royale. Fair play to the Keightley’s for entering Kristof as they must have been most disappointed in his St Leger final performance, it’s great for the sport to see him entered. Now let’s not forget our Antigua Fire who has been entered and the signs looked good last week where he had an encouraging and confidence boosting victory back at his beloved Monmore over 684m. This gruelling slog over 945m will certainly test him out but with him in the twilight of his career it’s certainly worth a try, if he stays ok he should qualify for the final and discount him at your peril! The Brighton Belle also starts and trial stake winner Towstar Zelda is entered along with Anhid News.
As we draw to the end of the 2021 I’m starting to compile our website Review of the Year and I hope that’s a good read. I will make it as positive as possible, promise ! We of course will try our hardest to keep our high quality website updated and all our social media outlets as current as we can, I always need to say a big thank you to Mick and Maureen who make it all possible as well as Emily, Sarah and Sid for their regular contributions, I still don’t think there is another kennel out there that can match us in this department!
We were hopeful of a good run in the Oaks at Swindon and in the delayed first round on Thursday saw four of our seven runners qualify with Aayamza Lexie scoring in a decent 28.39. We were confident of a good day in the second round on Monday but it all went ‘pear shaped’ as all four of our runners crashed out the event but thankfully all have came off sound, most disappointing.
At Romford on Friday Innfield Kaci won her heat of the Friday Night 500 Maiden in 24.40 and was quickly followed by a rare win for Alien Sea who turned over his kennelmate and hot favourite Sober Express when winning in a smart 35.14, why oh why couldn’t he do that last week when it mattered! Just to rub salt in the wound the Essex Vase final was won by the complete outsider Kilmessan Puma, fully on merit for Dave Mullins in 35.47! Our luck was out in two small finals with Antigua Romeo long odds on to win the Maiden Stayers final but was in trouble at the first bend and could only finish 3rd. In the Friday Night 500 Standard final Tiffield Blueboy found his path blocked on the run up and while the inside bunched Saffrons Xpress nearly pinched the lead but was just edged out by Bubbly Spark and went down by a couple of lengths in 24.08.
As said a good night at Hove on Saturday where we came back with three winners while we also supported the opens at Monmore. Antigua Jet (3rd) and Ivy Hill Skyhigh (2nd) ran well before the prolific Antigua Fire returned to the winner's podium for the first time since he was out for three months with injury beating the useful Southfield Cody in a good 40.97 and we finished with a nice winner with Coolavanny Kyser making it two from two taking a 480m in a smart 28.10.
On Tuesday evening Go Wild Turbo won well beating kennelmate Energize Bingo by a length in 28.15 and Deans Hail Mary missed some bad trouble at the 4th bend to win an A4 in 28.31.
A good day on Saturday with 4 winners, Domino Charm made it 4 wins from 5 starts defying a two grade uplift taking an A5 in a good 28.06, No Can Boogie ran well to win an S2 in 33.99, star of the show was Furious Falcon who landed a brilliant four timer winning an A4 in 27.94, Ice Cool Ellis made it four winners on the day scoring in an A8 in 28.25.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - DRUMCROW BRENT
GRADED - FURIOUS FALCON
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
We just have open racing at Romford on Friday with plenty of runners including Innfield Kaci in the 400m Maiden final.
A big night at Hove on Saturday with the Olympic semi finals and the heats of the TV Trophy and Brighton Belle.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Disappointment in the Oaks as both of our selections crashed out at the second round stage but we are sitting well with our Olympic recommendation as Drumcrow Brent won well.
The TV Trophy kicks off and I’m surprised that Roxholme Kristof was made favourite over Aayamza Royale and though 7/4 looks skinny it could end up being the value bet of the year. Don’t rule out Antigua Fire either, he’s certainly worth an each way consideration at around 6/1
AAYAMZA ROYALE - 5 pts win ante post 7/4 - TV Trophy - Hove - starts Saturday
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2 pts each way ante post 6/1 - TV Trophy - Hove - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
DRUMCROW BRENT - 2.5 pts each way ante post 33/1 - Coral Olympic - Hove - semi finals Saturday
AAYAMZA LEXIE - 2.5 pts each way ante post 16/1 - Property 192 Oaks - Swindon - lost
BLACK EYED MOLLY - 1 pt each way ante post 66/1 - Property 192 Oaks - Swindon - lost