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Last week's heats of the St Leger were lit up by two very special performances, one with our very own Aayamza Royale who galloped to a wide margin victory in a very good 42.93 whilst ante post favourite Roxholme Kristof for Hayley Keightley was even more impressive winning by a country mile in 42.49. This calculated time was inside our own Rubys Rascal’s 42.69 track record and one thing for certain if the track runs anything near normal he could well break that track record. As we all know, it’s not as easy as that and as we reach the semi final stage tomorrow night I was pretty pleased the two are not drawn in the same semi final. Aayamza Royale goes in the second semi final with our other qualifier Avastorm and both need to be first or second to qualify for next week's classic final.
It’s a busy last few weeks of the year for competitions and Sunday night's Kent Derby gave us mixed results. Antigua Jet and Hardy Rebel, both well fancied in their heats, crashed out of the event but Antigua Romeo qualified as did Antigua Boy who recorded a brilliant 28.69 but still didn’t win his heat as he was soundly beaten by an incredible run from Dave Mullins’ Tenpin who was easily the fastest of the night and looks a young dog that is very special. Sunday’s semi finals look ultra competitive and we will be delighted just to get one of our two in the final.
The Essex Vase starts this Friday over 575m and is a competition that we have had huge success in over the years. We go into the event with five entries although the draws for Friday's heats haven’t been too kind for us. We will look to try and qualify some for next week's semis. Possibly our best chance might be Sober Express who at last showed his true potential with a great win in a maiden 575 stayers final last Friday posting an excellent 34.99. It was only last year when Aayamza Express won a maiden 575 competition the week before the Champion Stakes and went on to be victorious in that competition and could possibly Sober Express find a similar path to glory.
Last week's newsletter on my opinions of the owner trainer licence certainly caught the attention of quite a few readers with the Racing Post covering my whole blog in Sunday’s edition. As we said then, there has been a huge reaction in the sport to this decision by the GBGB to stop this licence in 2021 and I’m sure it’s not the last we will hear about this debate.
Who knows where we will be in 2 or 3 months' time with the worldwide pandemic, but whatever our fate may be, the premier event, the greyhound Derby, is looking for a home in possibly May as Nottingham seems unlikely to stage the event again. At this stage, I would say Towcester would be a strong favourite to stage the event again especially after the two successful Derbies staged there in 2017 and 2018; for me it’s a no brainer and a must venue but we can only pray that crowds will be able to return by then and if they do, as I’ve said before, Nathan Corden should be one of the first phone calls Towcester should make to organise the event, as whatever you say about Nottingham, the one person who made their derbies as special as they could was Nathan with his organisational skills.
On Thursday Aayamza Royale showed her class on, although a stiff six bends, not her ideal distance to take her heat of the St Leger stretching away by over 9 lengths and Avastorm also booked her place into the Semi finals when running well to qualify behind Greenhill Dee. Last year's runner up of the competition, Antigua Fire, was unlucky being involved in early bother and missed out on a qualifying spot despite only being beaten a few lengths.
It was a decent night at Romford on Friday taking 5 runners and coming home with 2 winners. Tiffield Blueboy was most impressive showing what he can do when in the red jacket scoring in a smart 23.81. Performance of the night was undoubtedly Sober Express
who took the Friday night 500 Maiden Stayers final in fine style in a fine 34.99.
We supported a rare few opens at Monmore on Saturday night. The newly laid surface was in magnificent condition! Antigua Breeze and Coolavanny Messi, who both have fine records at Monmore, could only finish second in their respective races but we didn’t come away empty handed with Jaxx Purple cruising to victory winning by 8 3/4 lengths in 37.80.
A busy Sunday night and, as said above, at Central Park, Antigua Romeo and Antigua Boy qualified for the semi finals of the Kent Derby and unfortunately we were out of luck in the maiden stayers final when Ivy Hill Skyhigh missed his break and could only finish third. Over at Swindon we took the chance to give a few bitches a spin with the forthcoming Oaks only two weeks away, although our only winner on the night came in the shape of Aayamza Lexie who benefited from last week's looks round scoring in 28.49.
HENLOW AND TOWCESTER REVIEW
On Monday we came away with just the one winner as Domino Charm won well in an A8 in 28.37.
On Tuesday evening we had a great night coming away with 4 winners with Run Free Snowy taking an S2 in 33.90, Elms Bee was impressive when winning an A3 by 7 lengths in a fine 27.62, even more impressive was Shazzas Bullet who won a good S2 in a career best 33.68 and, again, just as impressive was Sligo Lilly who won an A6 in 27.94.
On Saturday, Domino Charm followed up her previous win in an A7 in 28.54 and Longacres Mikey came from well off the pace to win an S2 in 33.87 before the meeting was called off due to the heavy rain.
On Sunday at Towcester we came away without any winners although Towstar Zelda ran well when second.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - SOBER EXPRESS
GRADED - SHAZZAS BULLET
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tomorrow night sees the semi finals of the RPGTV St Leger at Perry Barr where Aayamza Royale and Avastorm bid for a place in the final.
Friday sees the start of the Essex Vase heats where we have five entries and Tiffield Blueboy will try to win the Standard final but has a very poor draw.
On Sunday, the Kent Derby semi finals take centre stage at Central Park and Antigua Romeo and Antigua Boy face tough races. Whilst we will also have quite a few runners at Swindon as we prepare some of our bitches for the Oaks.
On Monday, the Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club star Saffrons Xpress runs in the final of the BGBF BB Midlands Sprint final at Nottingham.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Unfortunately Antigua Fire crashed out in the first round stage of the St Leger but Aayamza Royale won her heat well and still has a great chance of landing the spoils for all our supporters.
We suffered the same fate with our selection in the Kent Derby as Antigua Jet was eliminated in the first round after a missed break and struggled on the going favouring the outside runners.
The Essex Vase kicks off on Friday at Romford and we have some tough draws to overcome with our runners and last week's impressive winner Sober Express will need to ride his luck in his heat but is certainly our best chance of landing the title and is worth an interest.
SOBER EXPRESS - 2 pts each way ante post - Coral Essex Vase - Romford - Starts Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2 pts each way ante post 12/1 - RPGTV St Leger - Perry Barr - lost
AAYAMZA ROYALE - 2 pts each way ante post 10/1 - RPGTV St Leger - Perry Barr - semi finals Saturday
ANTIGUA JET - 2 pts each way ante post 16/1 - Kent Derby - Central Park - lost