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The mouthwatering clash between Aayamza Royale and Roxholme Kristoff in the heats of the TV Trophy at Hove on Saturday certainly lived up to expectations as the pair treated greyhound fans to a proper spectacle. With no disrespect to the other four runners it looked a match on paper and after two or three strides it was race on. Kristof blasted out the traps and set a phenomenal pace clocking a stunning 28.18 for the first lap, Royale trapped lovely and turned second and she did well to keep her rival in her sights and as they stretched out down the back straight she gradually reduced the 6 length deficit to 2 or 3 lengths by the last couple of turns. Kristof’s stride began to shorten and Royale was now in top gear and switching to the rails she got inside Kristof and hit the front and though both were running on empty she surged to the to score by a couple of lengths clocking a new track record of 57.90. Roxholme Kristoff lost nothing in defeat and the race had everyone who follows open racing drooling for more, and that’s exactly what we have to look forward to in next Saturdays final. To put the run into perspective, the other two heats were won in 58.73 and 59.00, one of those heats was our very own class act and 2019 Kent St Leger winner Antigua Fire who after a sluggish start battled to hit the front off the last bend of the gruelling 945m only to be denied by a very late effort from the 2020 Kent St Leger winner Droopys Bird. Despite all the attention in the final being on Aayamza Royale and Roxholme Kristoff, the other four finalists, including Antigua Fire, warrant enough respect as possible. For the first time in his career, Fire may go off at double figure odds, rule him out at your peril.
Saturday night's card at Hove is a cracker and will be our kennel's last open racing action of 2020. As well as a brilliant Olympic final, where unfortunately our three semi finalists were all eliminated, we have the Brighton Belle final where we were delighted to see Anhid News record her first open win in the heats taking the notable scalp of Droopys Aoife, an improving young bitch who looks a lovely future stayer for Tom Purcell and his father for 2021. Aayamza Lexie looks to shrug off her disappointing Oaks elimination in a cracking 500 bitches open on the card.
Our first lot of open racing will be the Essex Vase kicking off at Romford on January 8th and we may well have a stronger team representing us than the Essex Vase that strangely enough only finished a couple of weeks ago. As well as the likes of Sober Express, Alien Sea, Tiffield Maximus and Ivyhill Skyhigh we should add to that squad with Antigua Romeo, Hopes Doggy, Antigua Boy and perhaps Drumcrow Brent. Interestingly, last year’s Coronation Cup winner Antigua Rum is trialling back well after a long absence from the track with a serious wrist injury, fingers crossed it holds up and we will have another strong runner in the team. Hopefully we can get the campaign off to a good start.
This year's Puppy Derby at Monmore has been brought forward to February and sees a double header with the Winter Derby too. We will look to get our four bend dogs and some interesting new puppies ready for this event, hopefully there will be plenty of open race action at Monmore through January where we can find races to prepare our runners. At this time of the year we are also looking at our potential Ladbrokes Golden Jacket runners and it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that Antigua Fire will attempt his third Golden Jacket tilt, whilst we could possibly see a couple of new stayers on the block with the likes of Bo Shine Bullet and Towstar Luna who will be aimed at this event.
Who would have thought when the pandemic hit us in March that we would virtually still be in the grip of this horrible bug at the start of 2021, worst case predictions seemed to be that it could have lasted for 3-6 months, how wrong they were. Some correctly said that we would not look like getting back to any normality until a vaccine was found, that was the truth but thankfully this week those first vaccines are starting to be administered. The cost to the future economics will be enormous and virtually no one will escape the payback over the next few years but we are a nation that learns to adapt and survive, still, no financial disaster can possibly be worse than the many thousands of lives lost to Covid and the devastating effect it has on families. We must put this into perspective when we have a whinge about a dog who maybe has a bad trap draw or doesn’t get on the card for some reason or accepted for a race. We are lucky we have an industry that is still working despite the restrictions in place, we all will have to take a financial hit but have to adjust and enjoy what can be a fantastic and uplifting sport for all.
On Friday at Romford Innfield Kaci was just denied in the four runner Friday Night 500 Maiden Final when beaten 1/2 length in 24.39. Antigua Romeo was by far the fastest winner in the heats of the Friday Night 500 Stayers when beating kennelmate Tiffield Maximus by 4 lengths in a fast 35.18. Saffrons Xpress won his heat of the Friday Night 500 Standard by 1 3/4 lengths in 24.22.
At Hove on Saturday Aayamza Royale stole the show in her TV Trophy heat. In a messy Olympic semi final both Drumcrow Brent and Hardy Rebel were unlucky not to qualify and Antigua Boy ran well but could only finish 3rd in his heat.
On Thursday morning no winners with Energize Bingo closest when second and on Saturday despite a few running really well we again came away empty handed with Domino Charm again running best.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - AAYAMZA ROYALE
GRADED - DOMINO CHARM
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
As the season draws to a close we hope to go out on a high on Saturday as both Antigua Fire and Aayamza Royale are in the TV Trophy final at Hove. Last year we had a 1-2 with Bumblebee Bullet and Aayamza Breeze, this year the same would go a long way to putting a smile on our faces after a horrible year on and off the track. Anhid News also runs in the supporting Brighton Belle final.
We have plenty of open runners on Friday at Romford and Towcester
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We have both Aayamza Royale and Antigua Fire running for our supporters in the TV Trophy on Saturday at Hove and we will hope our betting season finishes on a high!
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AAYAMZA ROYALE - 5 pts win ante post 7/4 - TV Trophy - Hove - Final Saturday
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2 pts each way ante post 10/1 - TV Trophy - Hove - Final Saturday
DRUMCROW BRENT - 2.5 pts ante post 33/1 - Coral Olympic - Hove - lost