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Another superb two days of action on Friday and Saturday at Towcester where the Star Sports Greyhound Derby second round had everything. Track records, disqualifications, seeding disagreements, shocks and some great finishes and races, it had it all. Firstly I've certainly had many people say how wrong they were to have criticised Towcester on whether it was the right place to hold a Derby, the track and facilities have without doubt put a smile back on people's faces and I really hope the remainder of our blue riband event is remembered as a vintage one. Personally I knew right from the start it would be good and it could get even better for us if our two remaining hopes can qualify from Saturday's third round. Both Minglers Toure and Bruisers Bullet fly the flag for our kennel after battling second round performances and have come out of their races in great shape.
Let's start by getting the seeding controversy out the way. I was slightly criticised for my reaction after Bruisers Bullet's victory in heat 10 and yes I may have over reacted in my interview, any trainer with a potential Derby winner, which I'm positive Bruisers Bullet is, is full of emotion straight after a race and doing an interview in these circumstances there's always a chance you can later regret what you say. So let's make it clear I have no problem with Mark or Hayleigh Keightly, we have had some terrific battles on the track over the years and we are always gracious in victory or defeat. I do however think they and Chris Page are wrong to seed Hiya Butt middle, a real favourite dog of mine btw, that's my opinion and it's not going to change. Here's why, and again it's only my opinion, we trial and race our greyhounds and the comments made by the Racing Managers decide on the seedlings for the greyhounds, that's rails, middle or wide, this is done to help cleaner racing from a welfare point of view to stop greyhounds bashing into each other causing unnecessary injuries. If a greyhound has numerous rails comments and especially when it has had a solo trial at the track which has one comment 'rails' for god's sake it can't run from the middle, simple!! or am I wrong? Since when did anyone start doing tactical seeding? how is that welfare friendly? again you're either rails, middle or wide. If you have a railer and it gets traps 3 or 4, which is highly likely given how many rails seeds there are this day and age, and you know it might break better then good luck, take advantage, but please don't seed it middle on purpose. Chris Page the Racing Manager at Towcester goes out of his way to help trainers and owners and I appreciate he tries to keep everyone happy which is no easy task but he was wrong on this occasion and he knows it. My frustration was vented and I apologise if it showed, I should rise above it all and will do in the future, now that's the last word on this matter and I will not comment or say anything else, it's gone and it's time to move on and enjoy the rest of the Derby.
A look back on the second round and again an electric atmosphere at Towcester on both nights. On Friday in the opening heat Rubys Rascal ran his heart out but failed by a short head to qualify, he's a true six bender and just got tapped for a bit of middle pace, he finished like a train and his calculated time of 29.23 would have easily qualified in nearly every other heat, the winner Priceless Brandy was ultra impressive clocking 28.95 (-10). I thought Jaytee Jet (29.26) was workmanlike in victory and College Paradise in second was extremely lucky to escape being disqualified. Shaneboy Freddie (28.98) is running out of his skin for Kevin Boon winning well with our Adageo Gold running an honest race in 4th place. Cloran Paddy (29.32) is starting to look like a potential finalist all day long and I really felt for Towcester trainer Kevin Hutton as his pride and joy Dorotas Wildcat was eliminated. What can we say about Tyrur Shay (28.62 track record!) awesome! and now for many he's the new favourite for outright honours, The Other Reg (29.10) is going quietly under the radar for Pat Rosney while Droopys Buick in third place was certainly not at his best. Clares Rocket (29.02) was a shade fortunate to win as Madabout Eoghan fought the likely winner Bubbly Turbo off the last bend and you have to feel sorry for both sets of connections as their Derby's ended this way. The last heat on Friday saw Calico Ranger (29.30) come from behind to take the honours, our pup Saleen Ash ran well but had every chance.
Another big crowd on Saturday and a slightly slower track saw Ballinakil Clare (29.31) take the honours in the opening heat. Then the fun really began in an incident packed heat 9, Hiya Butt flew from trap 5 and tacked across to the rails squeezing the other runners up but thankfully our Bruisers Bullet
turned handily in second place. As Hiya Butt forced the issue up front the Scottish Derby runner up Coolavanny Mason had an almighty tussle with Bruiser down the back straight, the rest of the field were close up as well and one little slip and we would have been out of the event but his determination and speed not only saw Bruisers Bullet qualify it got him up right on the line to win in 29.09, an outstanding performance from an outstanding dog. Pacey Bambi (29.08) won well whilst there was an excellent tussle between Carn Brae, Forest Con and Ballymac Matt in heat 12 with the latter holding on by a head in 28.99. Razldazl Tierna (29.39) took heat 13 and the main shock of round 2 came in heat 14 where Bubbly Bluebird was sent crashing, literally, out of the event, 33/1 shot Airport Jumbo landed the messy race in a pedestrian 29.71 with our Garryglass Champ unable to escape the mayhem back in 4th. Minglers Toure ran well again to make it two through for the kennel and though he has shown great early and middle pace he's definitely stopping coming home, Danzey Exception won in 29.39 beating Toure 2 lengths. In the last heat Jaytee Yankee won well for Paul Hennessy in 29.06 with Black Zack another casualty.
So we move on to Saturday and the third round of the Derby is always one of the highlights of the racing calendar year where you can see all 48 contenders in action on the same night. I'm positive there will be a bumper crowd to bring that special atmosphere to the occasion. We will know our fate early as Minglers Toure faces a stiff test in heat 1 with loads of early pace around him including Garryvoe Bobby in trap 5 on his outside. Heat 2 sees a trap 1 draw for Bruisers Bullet and after his heats in round 1 and 2 being so tough this is certainly seems a lot easier though you can't take anything for granted at this stage and he does have to make sure he isn't chopped off at the bend by the early paced Shaneboy Freddie in trap 3 and Droopys Who in trap 5. He looks certain to be favourite but anywhere in the first three keeps the dream alive. Heat 5 looks a race to savour with the Irish pair Priceless Brandy and Clares Rocket clashing with some other top class rivals like Fweshfromthesesh, Barricane Tiger, Crossfield Hugo and Jaytee Yankee.
We are now about three weeks away from our annual 5 To Follow competition and details will be up later this week, it's a FREE entry (up to 5 teams) picking 3 dogs and 2 bitches in your team. It's great fun following your selections and your progress on the leaderboard which is updated every week, we have quite a few new intakes that most will not be familiar with so I will write a sentence or two on our feature dogs page to help make your mind up. All entries will have to be in by the 1st July and you will be able to swap any selections on October 1st and I will find some nice prizes for the winners when the competition concludes on December 31st.
I'm still getting plenty of enquiries about our Racing Club and our membership has spaces available. We have three current race dogs and have a couple of pups in Ireland but over the next few weeks and months I'm going to increase the strength up to around 10 race dogs that are either open class or race at Towcester. We have social nights and some terrific fun and it doesn't cost a fortune - to be part of the club it's £500 to join and £30 per month. Regular updates and blogs and the chance to enjoy being part of the champion winning Imperial Kennels.
At Hove on Thursday we saw a terrific battle between our two runners in the 500 Sprint final where Scolari Sound just got the better of Brynoffa Jasmin in a good 16.28.
On Friday we had two winners at Romford as Swift Dartmoor made it four on the spin taking his heat of the Friday Night 500 Standard in an excellent 23.88 and Roswell Romanov getting back to winning ways scoring by 2 1/4 lengths in 35.10.
No luck at Henlow on Sunday with Cotton Pants closest just getting touched off in the 428m race.
Swift Lisetta scored a well deserved success on Tuesday winning in 29.16 while youngster Tangled Upinblue looks a real nice prospect scoring by over 2 lengths in 28.78.
Again not much luck on Saturday morning with Ribble Ghost and Swift Lisetta both coming closest when both second.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN - BRUISERS BULLET
GRADED - TANGLED UPINBLUE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tomorrow we go up to Sheffield for the heats of the Yorkshire Oaks and some supporting competitions. We will have runners at Hove on Thursday and Romford on Friday and most likely our regular trip to Henlow on Sunday but obviously all eyes will be on Saturday's StarSports Greyhound Derby third round at Towcester which is set to be a cracker.
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Another decent week with our nap Scolari Sound winning at Hove and our ante post Derby selection Bruisers Bullet safely in the hat for round three, that will be our focus this week as I can't see anything else to nap.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
SCOLARI SOUND - 5 pts win - Hove - Thursday - WON 1/1
BRUISERS BULLET - 2.5 pts ew ante post 40/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - third round Saturday