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It was good to see us officially top of the Trainer of the Year standings early last week for the first time in 2019, we had around a 20 point lead and we slightly increased it to 29 points at the end of this weekend. As I’ve said many times we don’t set our stall out at the start of the year to win this as our chief ambition is to try and win as many competitions as we can but I’d be lying if being crowned the champion trainer and kennel is a nice feeling. If we can finish the year strong then we can certainly get that good feeling again for an eleventh year since I took over the licence at Imperial Kennels in 2005.
We are on the hunt for two more big competitions with the first round heats of the Yorkshire St Leger at Doncaster proving to be eventful to say the least. A magnificent run from Antigua Fire winning his heat in the fastest time (41.27) got our campaign off to a good start, Brigadier Bullet also qualified when second to Patrick Janssen's evergreen Goldies Hotspur but in heat 3 we had both Aayamza Express and Avastorm but the race had to be stopped at the first bend when Harry Williams' Pond Natalya dived left out the traps where there was a large gap between the traps and the start of the running rail and headed across the middle to try and rejoin the race, this could have been a disaster but thankfully all the runners ended up ok. Then we had some rule debates before it was agreed a rerun would take place on Saturday. Five went to traps for this and Aayamza Express came out triumphant (42.07) and Avastorm sneaked through in 3rd place, it wasn’t ideal as it made us busier than normal having to cover four tracks on Saturday but all was ok in the end.Tonight’s semi finals have seen our four remaining runners split as well as we could hope for (a miracle!!) and hopefully we can get at least one to next week's final.
Antigua Breeze looks an exciting pup and in only his third race he took his heat of the Category 2 Seasons Scaffolding Puppy Trophy at Hove in a good 28.65 with a flying 2.89 break and drew trap 6 in this Thursday's final. It’s a very competitive affair with barely 2 lengths between the six pups and the form could be one that works out well in the coming months and whatever Antigua Breeze’s fate he looks a massive talent for Amanda and Nic Jeal.
Amanda and Nic were delighted on Saturday night as Brinkleys Poet
bounced back to his best form stepped up to a sharp six bends at Crayford winning a Gold Collar trial stake in an excellent 33.39 and the first round starts this Saturday and he will be joined by Chubbys Caviar, veteran Saleen Ash, Alien Sea and Towstar Zelda as we chase another big title at Crayford following our recent 1-2 in the Kent St Leger.
The announcement of an early Derby in 2020 was no surprise as the sport tries not to clash with the European Championship next summer and it may be a lucky omen as the last time we saw a April/May Derby back in 2012 we won it with Blonde Snapper!!
As said we had four qualifiers in the Yorkshire St Leger heats last week at Doncaster with Antigua Fire and Aayamza Express (eventually!) taking their heats and on Thursday as well as Antigua Breeze winning his heat of the puppy competition Antigua Romeo won well in a 490m open in a very good 28.29.
Just three runners at Romford on Friday with the in form Have A Brandy taking his heat of the 400m Standard in good style in 24.04 and on Saturday Brinkleys Poet won well in a Gold Collar trial stake in 33.39 though we were out of luck at Monmore with five runners though I thought they all ran well. We added another open win with Tiffield Blueboy scoring a debut open win at Henlow on Sunday in a good 28.01
On Monday Tiffield Blueboy took an A4 well in a good 27.89 and Garryglass Royal won for new owners Jan and Jim Davis in 28.66.
On Tuesday Passing Stranger got the bit between his teeth and won an A4 in style in a superb 27.59.
From a few runners on Thursday Longacres Mikey won well in an A8 in a good 28.02 while on Saturday Koroleva Queen won well in an S4 in 34.14 and on Sunday Lowgate Mira scored a debut win in 28.34.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - BRINKLEYS POET
GRADED - LONGACRES MIKEY
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight the semi finals of the Yorkshire St Leger take place at Doncaster and tomorrow sees the Category 2 Seasons Scaffolding Puppy final at Hove with the exciting Antigua Breeze lining up.
Have A Brandy runs in the 400m Standard final at Romford on Friday and on Saturday the heats of the Ladbrokes Gold Collar start to give us a real good end to the week.
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Great to see both our selections for the Yorkshire St Leger winning their first round heats in obviously different fashions and both Antigua Fire and Aayamza Express bid to reach the final tonight.
Unfortunately there was no ante post betting in the Seasons Scaffolding Puppy Trophy where Antigua Breeze has a good chance of landing his first big competition but we will have some for the Ladbrokes Gold Collar and I think we have two great chances with Brinkleys Poet and Chubbys Caviar, the latter would have needed the race last week and is capable of improving a great deal.
ANTIGUA BREEZE - 4 pts win - Seasons Scaffolding Puppy Trophy final - Hove - Thursday
BRINKLEYS POET - 2.5 pts ew ante post - Ladbrokes Gold Collar - Crayford - starts Saturday
CHUBBYS CAVIAR - 2 pts ew ante post - Ladbrokes Gold Collar - Crayford - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2.5 pts ew ante post 5/1 - Yorkshire St Leger - Doncaster - semi finals tonight
AAYAMZA EXPRESS - 2 pts ew ante post - Yorkshire St Leger - Doncaster - semi finals tonight