18th April 2016
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The William Hill Greyhound Derby is now less than three weeks away and our team is building up nicely. We sent around a dozen hopefuls for trials at Wimbledon on Wednesday and trial stakes on Thursday, we have another couple going for trials this week and I would imagine our team will be around 12. Roswell Iceman was most impressive on Wednesday clocking a fine 28.55 calc and on Thursday Domino Storm battled to another victory in a fine 28.55 (-10). With some more trial stakes this Thursday and the following Thursday I will then finalise our entrie. I will do a complete review of our runners and their draws two weeks today, I think we may have a couple that will be worth an interest at reasonable odds and at this stage I would say we have a much stronger team than last year, then we had two quarter finalists with our top bitches Evanta Fantasy and Evanta Evita but I will be hoping to go at least a couple of rounds better this year!
Our attention this week will also turn to Hove as Patchys Kerry bids to land her third Category 1 competition on the trot when she lines up in the Coral Regency heats. Last Thursday she faced the sternest of tests in a hot trial stake and for 680m of the 695m she was leading and had burnt off her main danger in Romany Rouge but the scorching pace she set seemed to suit the marathon runner and classy Droopys Cottage who sprinted up the run in to catch and beat her by 1 1/4 lengths in 41.51. Of course we have to remember it's only a trial stake and I'm sure Kerry will come forward for the spin and she has rightly been installed as 7/2 favourite for the event. Her plan for the year was to be aimed at all the major six bend races as well as the Golden Jacket and she has two in the bag. We have the Grand Prix at Sunderland and after the William Hill St Leger as targets but I have no doubt the Regency this week will be the hardest of them all, a short run to the bend followed by a relentless gallop for 41 seconds will stretch her stamina to the limit, there simply is no hiding place at Hove.
The forgotten dog almost is Billys Bullet and we we will make a decision on his participation in the Regency this morning. He badly spiked and bruised a toe in his last race at Sheffield and it flared up after a trial last weekend at Henlow but we are more than hopeful it will be ok for Thursday. He may be a race short of fitness but if he could qualify then who knows the dream of winning the Regency that was painfully cut short last year may be alive again. Ribble Atom, who was second behind Oneco Sky last Thursday in another trial stake will also take her chance as there are no suitable marathon races are available. Ferryforth Fran was well beaten and doesn't seem to like Hove so will miss the event.
Going back to Wimbledon and it has surprised me slightly that the a stay of execution has been announced and that they are on a rolling six month contract. This is great news and I see no reason why something can't be built on this, who knows maybe there is hope that a new greyhound stadium might be built on the site in the future. Perhaps it's greyhound racing's last chance to show that there is a future for our sport in London if the industry as a whole can make Wimbledon seem special - good racing and good service to its many customers who still seem to come through the turnstiles at the weekends would be a start. Maybe the GBGB can help find sponsors for as many smaller competitions as well as the big ones that William Hill support so well, they may need these open races to make sure cards are filled as the graded strength isn't the strongest with all the doubt surrounding its closure. Perhaps something like a weekly intertrack event with the likes of Romford, Hove, Towcester, Crayford and either Sittingbourne, Poole or Swindon filling the other spot taking on one runner from Wimbledon over six races with perhaps runners qualifying with just one recent graded race to their name. If races were £250 and £50 others (£50 to winning trainer and £10 per runner per race) and an overall monthly team prize of say £2,000 to the winning track and £500 others, you could introduce a relegation battle with the bottom track dropping out the league for the next month with say an invite to one of the said tracks above or a midland tracks coming in. The package with six races each week over a month with the monthly prize would be 20k per month, now that seems a lot but if Wimbledon stayed on RPGTV every Thursday then sponsors would get decent exposure, with plenty of betting opportunities surely the RPGTV sponsors including Betfair! might take their turn in sponsoring a month each starting in July after the Derby until the end of the year. Promoted well this might be something everyone can look forward to regularly on a Thursday night and given the success of the Bags Championship format it should work, with trainers from the six tracks taking part they are highly likely to bring other runners for another six supporting opens and then maybe Wimbledon could open on a Friday and a Saturday for graded racing. If they still can't make enough races up for two 12 race cards then put on some decent British Bred competitions every Saturday, you could have heats each week over various distances with supporting opens again for British Breds only. This could be partly supported by the fund through the extra money coming in from streaming, I for one would support these events as much as possible with runners, overall we must all do something to try and keep the Wimbledon dream open even if the GRA don't deserve the drippings off our noses for how they have sold greyhound racing down the river over the years, but I see a vibrant racing plan bringing in good crowds with good turnover for the bookmakers the only chance of seeing Wimbledon surviving. They need to show over that first six month extension what the future could be like if Paschal's plans for a new greyhound era were accepted.
It's been a hectic week again, we've had some highs especially with my Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club having three runners and three winners including a near 9 length win for our Derby hope Saffrons Boxer at Towcester on Tuesday and on Friday the in form Saffrons Anna landed a minor event at Romford. Our Racing Club is buzzing at the moment and we are looking at making another decent purchase after the Derby to run in some of the big events later in the year, please contact us for further details.
Its also been a sad week for my family as we lost our retired dog Discreet Cat who we loved dearly. It's incredible how much you can get attached to these beautiful animals and we are all heartbroken by his loss. Discreet Cat was one of my favourite dogs whilst in training and used to run mainly at Walthamstow. Fourth in a highly competitive Gymcrack at Hall Green he won a few opens here and there and contested the Derby and the St Leger. We have had better race dogs but I doubt you would find a better pet, he had real character, our bitch at home Mint Bulb is missing him as well but we are committed to taking home the lovely Blue Moment when he retires which may well be after one final crack at the Derby in a couple of weeks' time, he is another great character both on and off the track!
At Towcester on Tuesday Mass Megan was a close up 4th in the Towcester Racecourse Puppy 480m Final. We had two nice winners in Saffrons Boxer who destroyed his opposition in a 480m Maiden by nearly 9 lengths in an excellent 28.16. Parkers Poison also scored well in a 655m by 3 1/4 lgenths in 39.74.
As said on Thrsday we sent our potential Regency runners down for trialstakes with Patchys Kerry and Ribble Atom both second. At Wimbledon Domino Storm kicked off the Derby trial stakes with a nice display of pace to win by over 3 lengths in 28.45 calc. Deanridge Madbye was a running on 4th while Calco Flyer ran respectively in a hot race when 3rd.
At Romford on Friday traffic problems meant we missed our first runner while Alice My Angel clearly showed she didn't stay when beaten after leading over 575m. Saffrons Anna was another of our bitches to land a competition as she battled bravely to come back to land the Friday 500 Final beating Swabys Valerie by a short head in 24.25 Swift Whirlwind produced a surprise beating the prolific Fivestar Clipper who was 3rd, he did well to hold off the challenge of Millwards Master to score by a neck in 35.33 calc.
Micky The Butcher scored for the second time in three races in an A7 in 28.99 on Tuesday and Saffrons Champ deservedly took an A6 in 28.77.
No luck on Friday from our five runners with Swift Bravo best when second. On Saturday we had two winners with Famias Hope overturning the result with Macs On Storm from the week before, this time he won well by 3 lengths in a decent 28.29. Rubys Rascal found plenty of trouble in an A2 especially with our other two runners Vandiva and Ginas Lad but ran on strong to be second. Rubys Razzle however bolted out the boxes to win an A5 by over 3 lengths in a fine 28.33 calc and looks like a pup going places.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
The heats of the Coral Regency on Thursday is the feature of the week and Patchys Kerry starts as ante post favourite. We will also have a number of runners in Derby trial stakes on Thursday at Wimbledon and Romford on Friday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Our tip Saffrons Anna obliged at Romford on Friday at lovely odds of 7/2. This week the Coral Regency takes centre stage and Patchys Kerry has been pushed out to 7/2 for outright honours, that we will take as she is exceptional and owes us nothing.
PATCHYS KERRY - 5 pts win ante post 7/2 - Coral Regency - Hove - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
SAFFRONS ANNA - 3 pts win - Romford - Friday - WON 7/2