15th February 2016
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Patchys Kerry marched on to the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket final with another awesome display of front running in Saturday morning's semi finals at Crayford. Her semi looked ultra tough with Droopys Tamera and the highly regarded Diesel Flo in opposition but another good break with scintillating early pace saw her three lengths ahead of her rivals at the turn, that quickly turned into a 6 length lead with a lap to go. Diesel Flo in second place looked dangerous but simply had no answers to Kerry's pace and she stayed on strong enough to record an excellent 45.10 with an incredible 22.94 sectional. She has been a revelation in the £17,500 to the winner event and now trades at a best priced 4/9 to land our second Golden Jacket in three years. It's a bit of a strange one as the final is not until a week Tuesday (to accommodate Sky) but the draw in trap 1 should hold no fears and we look forward to the race with great anticipation.
Before the Golden Jacket final we have the small matter of trying to win the GTA Trainers Championship meeting sponsored by Chelsea Glass at Sittingbourne tomorrow night. These are always great occasions and this year's championship, despite the original top six trainers not all taking part, looks a vintage one and it will take some winning. Last year's victor Kevin Hutton looks to have a great squad and his team have fared well in the draws for the eight races. That said we ourselves have a powerful team and we could well go to the wire just like last year. All the other four trainers seem to have some decent runners but lack the strength and depth of our squads. Here are my thoughts on the races and our chances.
Race 1 - 480m Standard - Div 2
Every trainer will want to get off to a good start and this is a competitive opening leg with bundles of early pace to boot, that's exactly why we picked CLONDOTY ALEX (trap 2) for our team. A born winner (12 from 23), 480m is his maximum and if he can get to the front he is an extremely jealous dog and is ferociously difficult to pass. Key for him and our chances is clearing trap 1 Monty Don who favours a slightly more middle course and has good early, having said that he's 0-4 and Alex can clear him with his best break. Johns Present, Willy Whitesocks and Roxholme Ted all rely on early and Alex will need to rail inside those dogs and hopefully set sail for home down the back straight, trap 6 Ballymac Roundy looks held but might surprise.
Mark's selections ... 2 - 3 - 6
Race 2 - 500m Puppies
I always like the puppy race over the slightly longer four bend trip as it gives the youngsters a bit more room to work with. Again this championship has thrown up some excellent youngsters and looks a race to take into your notebooks for the rest of the year. Kevin Hutton's Dorotas Star looks a bitch on a mission since going to Sittingbourne and after beating our DROOPYS ACHIEVE (trap 4) in a race over track and trip clocked a stunning 29.78 trial, a repeat of that trial would win this race easily. Achieve has been a bit in and out in her 9 races so far and clearly her future lays over six bends being the half sister to Billys Bullet. Though there are likely to be some improving youngsters the form of Droopys Achieve and Dorotas Star should work out.
Mark's selections... 6 - 4 - 2
Race 3 - 260m Sprint
Probably everybody's banker of the night will be Kevin Hutton's Glenanore Ace here. 5 wins from 5 races in this country and more importantly a flying 16.14 trial last week would suggest he is untouchable. There is still some talent to beat including Roxholme Bob who is no slouch. I had a real dilemma here as our two sprinting dogs Ela Ela Genie and Newross Johnny are far too young and inexperienced to be pitched in the deep end here, Evanta Fantasy has the Golden Sprint in her sights and would be too risky in this kind of race so it was a question of dropping Oldfield Lynda or veteran ILEWIN ALLOT (trap 2) down in trip and I went for the latter as he has a good record at Sittingbourne,. This will be his last race before retiring and anything in the first four would be a result for us.
Mark's Selections .... 1 - 5 - 3
Race 4 - 642m Stayers
Another tricky race and although Kevin Hutton's Memphis Mafia looks an exceptional talent in the staying ranks he has a tricky draw to overcome. Roxholme Hottie from 1 is sure to move slightly middle and has serious claims herself, Coronation Cup winner Millwards Master has impressed in trials and has pace to burn but whether he stays this trip is in doubt, the classy Droopys Cottage returns to action and may need the race while the powerful Droopys Jarrow out wide will have some sort of say in the outcome but again has stamina doubts. That leaves our runner GARRYGLASS PIXIE (trap 4). Our lightly raced bitch has impressed open race fans with a serious turn of pace but we have yet to find her ideal trip, she has still won 7 from 19 races and anywhere in the top three here from a poor draw in trap 4 will be acceptable.
Mark's selections ... 1 - 2 - 4
Race 5 - 480m Bitches
I expect to be behind Kevin Hutton and maybe Hayleigh Keightley by the halfway stage so I see this bitches race as a crucial point of the Championship. Kevin Hutton has the in form Forest Sarah while Hayleigh Keightley has the superb Forest Twilight who would have easily been the Bitch if the Year if it wasn't for one Domino Storm, talking of which we have left Domino Storm for the standard race and brought in BALLYMAC SHIRLEY (trap 3). I'm hoping this is telling as she has won seven of her last eight races but this is without doubt a jump up in class.Another smash break is needed to contain the above and hopefully once in front she can score those vital 10 points to keep us bang in with a chance, the other three girls will have to pull out all the stops to get involved.
Mark's selections .. 3 - 6 - 2
Race 6 - 500m Super Standard
Now we are starting to get to the nitty gritty and I'm looking for a power packed finish to try and win the Championship. Kevin Hutton's Jet Stream Sound is a seriously fast dog but erratic out the trap while Seamus Cahill's Ballymac Brogan is a class act as is Hayleigh Keightley's On Alert. We have put a lot of faith in the talented ROSWELL ICEMAN (trap 1) and I felt the longer run to the bend with the 500m will suit him. A great trial over 480m was followed by an average trial over 500m but you can forget that as he completely fluffed his lines at the start possibly because of the change of traps and shorter hare, a decent break and we will see his awesome early hopefully put him in a winning position. Paul Young's Teejays Panther might surprise and run into a place.
Mark's selections .. 1 - 2 - 5
Race 7 - 708 Super Stayers
Certainly one of the stories of the Championship would be seeing BILLYS BULLET (trap 1) win here. Magnificent last year when landing a super hot 642m for us he suffered a well documented serious injury at Hove a few weeks later when without doubt being the best stayer in the country. His career was under threat but he has come back well and has taken his last two races in style. This is still a massive ask and he will need to step up on last week's trial which I'm sure he will and again he faces some tough opposition. If he is back to his best they won't beat him, respect has to go to all the runners especially Swansalona Diva who is a credit to her connections, and Roxholme Magic who will be staying on best of all for sure.
Mark's selections .. 1 - 5 - 4
Race 8 - 480m Standard
As we approach the last race there will be trainers and connections at their wits end if they are still in with a chance of landing the first prize and I sincerely hope we are one of them. Step up Domino Storm, the GBGB Bitch Of The Year, shockingly omitted from my side last year (I'm still regretting that decision!) I'm hoping she can bring the bacon home for 'Team Wallis'. Two problems though, firstly a tough field that will grace most Category 1 finals and secondly trap 5. Her first trials back for the year have been scintillating and I have no doubt she's ready for action but her rails comments should read 'close rails' ! Can she get across from the draw is the question, if she does and she did win a hot Oaks semi final from the orange box then she won't get beat. Respect to all her rivals who are all capable of winning this race, could it come down to who grabs those vital points behind the winner, that's the beauty of this great event.
Mark's selections .. 5 - 2 - 3
Thanks firstly to Rick Holloway and the GTA for organising another superb event and the excellent luncheon last week. This Championship still has a special place in our calendar despite the decline in our industry which Rick highlighted at the lunch. Of course thanks to Len Ponder for his generous sponsorship through Chelsea Glass and to Roger Cearns and his Sittingbourne team for being so accommodating. It promises to be one of the great Championships with a plethora of class greyhounds on view. Sky as usual captures this event with real class and a big armchair audience can be expected. As for the destiny of the title it will be devilishly hard to pinch Kevin Hutton's crown he so dramatically won last year, he has a strong team and was certainly smiling after the draws were made last Wednesday. Both reserves Seamus Cahill and Hayleigh Keightley actually bring strength into the contest and both have squads which could really challenge while Paul Young can't be written off as Sheffield proved a couple of years ago. Dean Child's another reserve has got 2 or 3 excellent chances of nicking a winner and has some reasonable draws as well and could make things interesting if getting some luck. All in all its a magnificent occasion and let's hope all come off safe and sound. We will have over 40 supporters and if we have a bit of luck you will be hearing us, that I can promise!
A brief look at the week, at Towcester on Tuesday Experto Crede was a respectable 3rd in the Puppy Final and Sosaidhs Blue was a good winner of the Dual Distance heats in 39.68.
On Friday at Romford Parkers Poison qualified for the Maiden Stayers final when 3rd and it was great to see Evanta Fantasy bounce back to winning ways in the 400m bitches race in an excellent 24.09. Sadly Blonde Razor just got beaten 1/2 length in the Adageo Bob RPGTV Greyhound Of The Year trophy but all connections were on hand to receive Bob's trophy. Adageo Djongo possibly ran his best race to date when a close up second to Scolari Sound and Ribble Aon was a bit unlucky when 3rd.
Black Francis was very unlucky at Crayford when just missing out on a place in the Golden Jacket final for a second year and Aayamzamodel couldn't quite get a run when also eliminated in the semi final. Step up Patchys Kerry and only one word needed -Awesome!
On Tuesday Sligo Star won a kennel sweepstakes heat in great style in an excellent 28.38 calc. No winners Friday but both Rubbys Razzle (3rd) and the promising Keeperhill Rage (2nd) ran well.
A good night Saturday with the nice puppy Parkers Prince scoring well in 28.87 calc. Mass Megan ran a terrific race and looks a lovely prospect winning by 3 1/2 lengths in 28.53. Benkaat Dolly scored an overdue six bend success in 40.23 and Ela Ela Genie made it four winners on the night with a good 15.44 sprint win in top grade.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A busy Tuesday with the Chelsea Glass sponsored GTA Trainers Championship at Sittingbourne taking centre stage. Towcester has a few opens on their RPGTV card including the Dual Distance Final over 480m with Sosaidhs Blue looking to repeat her six bend win.
Thursday sees the start of the Peter Bussey Memorial at Crayford over 540m and Swift Whirlwind and Aayamzamodel look to gain our 5th consecutive win in this event. We will be at Romford on Friday where the Golden Sprint is starting to loom up on us.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We have to be pleased with ourselves seeing Patchys Kerry as short as 1/3 in some books for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket final as we are all on at 7/2 or bigger, the final is a week Tuesday.
The GTA Trainers Championship is always hard to predict winners and I really think we will have to go some to beat Kevin Hutton. Billys Bullet would be our banker of the night but will surely be priced too short.A bit of value maybe be with Domino Storm as she is likely to be took on from a poor trap 5 draw, she is a bitch in a million and could defy this draw and bring the Championship back to Imperial Kennels.
DOMINO STORM - 5 pts win - 9.08 Sittingbourne - Tuesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
PATCHYS KERRY - 5 pts win ante post 7/2 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - final Tuesday 23rd Feb
AAYAMZAMODEL - 2 pts e.w ante post 16/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - lost