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A late blog this week as I've just returned from an excellent long weekend in a Ireland where we had a couple of runners at the BEAM benefit meeting at Kilkenny. I had a long standing invite to attend the meeting by my good friend Karol Ramsbottom, famous for the Garryglass prefix, and was delighted to accept. Kilkenny is his local track and this was one of their biggest meetings of the year. I decided as we were going we might as well have a couple of runners and I entered Shlowdown Sally in the sprint and our grand old servant Ribble Atom in the 1,000 yard race, unfortunately this didn't fill so we dropped her down to the 750 yard race which obviously was way too short for our dour stayer. Kilkenny is an excellent track though the facilities are nothing like a Towcester or Shelbourne but what it has is a unique sense of local pride and the atmosphere on a big night like this was a joy to see. Myself and my son Daniel were made to feel so welcome and we had so many nice people come up to us just to say hello and wish us well, there was quite a few who had made the long journey to Towcester last week for the Greyhound Derby final and the feedback was a very positive one where everyone said what a great night it was.
The meeting featured a number of sweepstake finals and a few opens. The first race was a decent sprint and I had no expectations of winning with Shlowdown Sally as it's a tough ask to travel over and try and beat the best local dogs. I was delighted to see her pop out the boxes in great style but she wasn't as fast as trap 4 Genuine Hero, the pair had raced clear of the field and try as hard as she did she couldn't catch her rival and went down by a couple of lengths in a very fast 16.35, an excellent effort. Some great racing followed and I was really pleased to see Karol pick up two sweepstakes with his Garryglass Lee and Boomalong owned by his lovely wife Linda. A pup owned by John and James Wright Pennys Ryan ran well enough when 4th in the Dobbs Oil N1. For a couple of seconds it looked as if Ribble Atom was going to take the 750 yard race as she exploded from the traps but she was just led to the bend by Kiltrea Brian for John Doyle, Ribble Atom would always struggle for pace in the middle part of a race and she did here though she managed to keep her second spot to the 3rd and 4th bend. She never seemed to get to close to the leader until after the line but in my opinion still ran well though she was beaten 8 lengths, I was pleased with her run and then when the time came up I was even more pleased, Kiltrea Brian, a full brother to our Dorando Marathon winner Aayamza Breeze, stopped the clock at a superb 40.31, two spots inside the track record.
After the racing the drinks were flowing with many racegoers stopping to enjoy each other's company, I won't lie it was more of a struggle to keep up with my Irish friends than it was to travel over and have runners! as I'm definitely no champion drinker and I'm not sure what time we got back to our hotel though it was starting to get light! We spent the next afternoon at Karol's house and kennels where the hospitality is second to none and it was great to see all his pups etc many that are destined for our kennel. I was particularly impressed with Fortunate Blue who runs in a sweepstake final this Friday and a lovely bitch Garryglass Bambi who comes over this week with both Garryglass Fungi and Pennys Ryan, all in all a great weekend.
Saturday was a busy day and night before we travelled to Ireland with the long trip to Sunderland for the William Hill Festival starting. It was a mixed night for the kennel with Rubys Rascal winning his heat of the Grand Prix very well in 39.80 which was his first look at the track, his sister Rubys Razzle hasn't had the best preparation for the event with a small injury only just clearing up and though she ran ok when only 5th just 4 lengths away from the winner she obviously needed the run. Garryglass Champ qualified in 3rd behind Swift Hansel and Cloran Paddy but himself clocked a good 39.84 albeit over 5 lengths behind the front two. In the Classic Minglers Toure was well beaten but Parkers Dynamite did well to qualify being his first look at the track though Cotton Pants got no sort of run when eliminated. The draws for this Saturday's semi finals have worked out reasonably well so we are hopeful that we could have a finalist a week Thursday.
I thought I'd seen most things in Greyhound racing but on Friday I was again astounded by the victory of Calco Flyer
in the Friday Night 500 Standard. It might have only been a Category 3 final but a couple of weeks ago I was just about to call time on our September 12's brilliant career, he promptly came back from a couple of disappointing runs to win his heat the previous Friday in great style and then this week he came from off the pace to get up and score in the shadow of the post in 24.17. His 128th race of his career which itself is also incredible, another astonishing fact is that this was his 15th open race win as a veteran (none of them veteran races) and his 13th win in 2017 which must be up there near the top. Despite a fabulous career which has included seven Category 1 finals he has never really had a mention when it comes to the industry awards but I will be truly disappointed if he is not this year when it comes to looking at the British Bred category.
Whilst on the veteran topic special mention has to go to Ferryforth Fran
who ran his heart out when just denied by a short head in his last race on Saturday in a special ' Ferryforth Fran Retirement Stakes' at Towcester for his owner Allan Morton who no doubt has been spoiled by his first purchase in Greyhound racing. The decision to retire Fran came not because as he has passed his 4th birthday which as we see above is not a reason to retire a dog but because he has just started picking up a few niggles which as dogs get older are harder to fix. Ferryforth Fran has most certainly had an interesting career since joining us back in April 2015 having won well at Longford a few weeks before. Having gone straight into opens over 655m it was really the S1's at Towcester where he became a real crowd favourite with his high and wide strong finishes. In his first real away competition later in 2015 he did brilliantly to make the William Hill St Leger final but was really outclassed at the time, a couple of months later he really came to everyone's attention with a fabulous win in the Bags Championship Grand Final at Perry Barr gloriously helping Towcester to victory. 2016 was a stellar year for Fran and after a plethora of wins at Towcester he ran superbly to get in the final of the Ladbrokes Summer Classic final at Monmore and pulled off a memorable victory to land the Category 1 event at juicy odds of 14/1 and won entirely on merit in 39.86. A couple of months later he proved it was no fluke and he made the William Hill St Leger
final for a second year and despite going off a 20/1 chance he was so much a better dog than the one who had made the final the previous year and what a run in the final as he showed great early and middle pace to pass the defending champion Fizzypop Buddy and as famously shown he hit the front off the last bend to stride out for a glorious win with the likes of our own Billys Bullet and Rubys Rascal behind him as well as Derby finalist Cloran Paddy. This year started well as he approached the veteran stage with a win back at Monmore in the Lawrence Jones Memorial 630m race in January. A measure of his versatility was shown when he made the Golden Jacket final at Crayford but was never quite at home at the tight track. Certainly the last couple of months has been a bit less prolific as a few injury niggles have made us call it a day. When I finally end my career in training I have no doubt Ferryforth Fran will go down as one of my all time favourite dogs and I'm pleased to say he will have a lovely home on the sofa back at Allan's home in Scotland, thank you Fran!
We have had a superb entry for the 5 To Follow competition and our first leaderboard will be up shortly.
On Thursday Zammos Bullet made a quick reappearance from a graded race on Tuesday to take the heat of a Maiden Sprint at Hove in 16.41.
On Friday at Romford only a handful of runners saw Calco Flyer win the Friday Night 500 final while Cincinnati was beaten a short head over 750m.
A mixed night at Sunderland on Saturday and on Sunday at Henlow the flying Garryglass Teddy recorded another stunning victory in 33.09 over 550m whilst both Shlowdown Sally and Ribble Atom were second over at Kilkenny.
On Tuesday Swift Kaylee got up well to score in an A8 in 29.12 and Saleen Ash was most impressive scoring in an A3 in good style in a decent 28.22.
Energize Honey was our only winner on the Saturday morning card in 28.91 and at night time Micky Thebutcher won well in 28.51 with Ferryforth Fran beaten by the minimum margin in his retirement stakes.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN - CALCO FLYER
GRADED - MICKY THEBUTCHER
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Another busy end to the week with a trip to Hove on Thursday and as well as Zammos Bullet in the Maiden Sprint final we have Dorando winner Aayamza Breeze in a hot 695m race and two of our superstars trial before racing Bruisers Bullet and Roswell Romanov in preparation for the Sussex Cup.
We will be back to Romford on Friday and the Sunderland Festival reaches the semi final stage on Saturday. We should have a few runners at Henlow on Sunday
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Rubys Rascal marched on to the semi finals of the Grand Prix but our ante post selections Rubys Razzle and Minglers Toure were eliminated. I was quietly impressed with Garryglass Champ's run and at 25/1 he is worth adding to our bets
GARRYGLASS CHAMP - 1.5 pts ew ante post 25/1 - William Hill Grand Prix - Sunderland- semi finals Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
RUBYS RASCAL - 2 pts ew ante post 8/1 - William Hill Grand Prix - Sunderland - semi finals Saturday
RUBYS RAZZLE - 2 pts ew ante post 10/1 - William Hill Grand Prix - Sunderland - lost
MINGLERS TOURE - 2 pts ew ante post 50/1 - William Hill Classic - Sunderland - lost