14th November 2016
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It's been a huge three weeks for the kennel since our last newsletter with so much happening and apologies for the delay as holidays etc have made writing updates almost impossible. But let's enjoy saying what we have achieved over this time, most notably winning another classic when Ferryforth Fran brilliantly strode to victory in the William Hill St Leger at Wimbledon last Tuesday. Sadly this sport has a horrible way of finding a low point after such a high and we are all devastated at the loss of one of our star trackers in California last weekend after a freak accident at Shelbourne Park.
In our last newsletter we were eagerly anticipating the final of the RPGTV Henlow Derby having the first and second favourites for the £10,000 to the winner event. Myself and my family were in Orlando with our friends Paul Ephremsen & Zoe Price with their two children. Paul is head of the 'World Syndicate' that owns California who was a hot favourite to win the event after three impressive victories over track and trip while the second favourite was our East Anglian Derby hero Clondoty Alex. But sadly neither had any answers to the impressive Lenson Santi for Tony Collett and we finished a disappointing 3rd and 4th. Still it was great to be involved but we all felt that an opportunity was missed but that's racing!
Earlier in the week our grand servant Calco Flyer finished a creditable 4th place in the British Breeders Stakes final at Nottingham and in a busy week our St Leger second round saw all three of our entries qualify for the semi finals. Our Bags Championship team went well at Monmore with both Macs On Storm and Swift Whirlwind winning well and with plenty of good points scored by the rest of our team. We put Towcester back on top of their group with one leg remaining.
As we hit the beginning of November our three remaining William Hill St Leger hopefuls all found a way of qualifying for the final despite not winning their semi finals. Overall the classic decider looked on paper to be the best St Leger for many a year with last years winner Fizzypop Buddy and Charlie Lister's Derby finalist Cloran Paddy in terrific form. It looked likely all three of our runners Billys Bullet, Rubys Rascal & Ferryforth Fran would face an uphill battle to land the spoils.
With the RPGTV Oaks just around the corner our defending champion and now veteran Domino Storm made the Brighton Belle final but clearly she's not quite in her best form and could only finish 4th. Our open race winners were still clicking over nicely and we had some nice wins with the likes of Roswell Romanov (Romford), Chubbys Oak & Swift Dartmoor (Henlow).
Last week all eyes were on the last ever William Hill St Leger to be staged at Wimbledon and most likely the last Sky meeting at the track before it closes next March. Our night got off to a good start with our top sprinter Ela Ela Genie getting up score for yet another Sky win and he must be a leading contender to take the 'most wins on Sky' title, along with Billys Bullet, Domino Storm, Clondoty Alex & Calco Flyer. After a few near misses with some supporting runners, the six bend classic final was set to go. The fact that all three of our runners had won a category 1 final at some point this year, and none were anywhere near favourites to win the race said a lot about the quality. It looked like the consolation of our kennel guiding three through to the decider which was a major fete in itself would be a comfort. Step up Ferryforth Fran who was well housed in trap 6 and a good break saw him turn in a reasonable position to the early leader and last years winner Fizzypop Buddy. I'm sure 99% of people watching thought it was race over as they crossed the line for the first time and with the four inside runners including our Billys Bullet & Rubys Rascal all involved in heavy crowding, Fizzypop Buddy looked to have the race in the bag. Starting at 20/1 Ferryforth Fran had different ideas and Alan Morton's incredibly underrated superstar reduced the leaders advantage to a length as they went down the back straight and then to the delight of myself and my team Fran passed Fizzypop Buddy like Steve Ovett , Sebastion Coe and Steve Cram did to their rivals in their heydays. Fran stays well and he majestically strode out to land the £25,000 first prize in a memorable victory for Alan and gave the kennel a 4th St Leger title in the last six years.
Ferryforth Fran (tipped on our recommended bets @ 40/1) is the first purchase for Alan and was sold from our 'dogs for sale' page and has been magnificent since making his debut at Towcester early last year. He has improved significantly since he made last years final. He is one of three greyhounds that has won two category 1's this year and is bang in line for being a contender in the stayers category for the awards and maybe even the overall Greyhound of the Year award. I think it depends on how Bubbly Bluebird gets on in the Eclipse final next week, who must be favourite and also with no true staying events left in the calendar, only a drop down to the 575m trip for the Essex Vase would aid Frans cause in that title. I'm certainly considering it as he possesses enough early to be a player. Whatever happens it's been a great year for Ferryforth Fran.
Talking of the Coral Essex Vase, which begins a week Friday, our Roswell Romanov is sure to be one of the leading contenders. Last Friday at Romford he put a good field to the sword romping home by nearly 10 lgths in a very good 35.07. He will lead our kennels charge along with the likes of Roswell Roxanne, who took a Maiden 575m final last week. With six Category 1 titles to our name this year already we will be trying our hardest to match or better our previous best haul of seven which we achieved in 2009. Domino Storm returns to Belle Vue to defend her Oaks title that begins next week. This is likely to be her last ever races in her illustrious career, and we have the likes of Ballymac Shirley, Mashmad Eyebrows, Airforce Duchess & Saffrons Anna to enter as well. We are also set to beat the record 1215 points total in the Trainer of the Year title which we currently lead by an incredible 500 points from our nearest rival Paul Young.
Now, as much as I have painted a glorious picture of our achievements over the last three weeks I would swap all those wins to have one of the most beautiful dogs we have ever trained, California, to still be here in our kennel now. On Saturday our bold move to take on the best of the Irish at Shelbourne Park in the magnificent 'Night of Stars' meeting started disastrously. In a decent 525 yard race California smashed out to a brilliant 1.99 split and he looked set to lead a good field but sadly he collided with trap 2 and in a freak accident he got turned badly, and being off balance his front leg shattered, there was sadly nothing we could do and that awful decision was made very quickly to put him to sleep. It was absolutely gutting for all our staff and connections. I've no doubt California would have gone on to better things and in his short career he gave us all an enormous amount of pleasure. RIP Pat.
The meeting, California apart, was again a huge success and all three of our other runners Billys Bullet (3rd),Ribble Atom (5th) and Rubys Rascal (3rd) ran really well. But to be honest I was just relieved they came home safe and sound.
Over at Towcester the main news was the Saturday morning meetings that began with eight 8 dog races. We had 5 runners on the first meeting without joy, though all seemed to go round ok. The prize money is excellent for this new initiative and we will support whatever Towcester do going forward. It's been a good three weeks of winners overall and on Saturday we had 5 nice winners including three very young pups Cincinnati, Cockney Rebel and Swift Lisetta. All look like they can go on to better things. Tread Lightly deserves a mention for racking up a four timer.
Our website recommended bets have been sensational lately with Ferryforth Fran advised @ 49/1 and both Ckondoty Alex and California showing a small profit at Henlow so that just leaves the performance of the weeks.
ELA ELA GENIE (31st Oct)
FERRYFORTH FRAN (7th Nov)
ROSWELL ROMANOV (14th Nov)
TREAD LIGHTLY (31st Oct)
SOVEREIGN KING (7th Nov)
CINCINNATI (14th Nov)
Well that's a round up of the last three weeks and next week we will get back to our normal updates.