18th October 2016
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Another excellent week for the kennel where our flying Rubys Rascal took another title when landing the Great North Run at Newcastle on a fantastic Sky card on Wednesday. Surprisingly our current superstar stayer led out the traps and turned in front in the 670m final and most thought that was that but a gallant run from the runner up Shellam Maeby kept the distance to 1/4 length. Rascal's time of 40.58 was very good, our veteran star Billys Bullet was always chasing hard and wasn't beaten too far at the end in 3rd place. On the supporting card our other star stayer Ferryforth Fran ran well enough when 3rd over the same trip and despite the defeat he will join Rubys Rascal, Billys Bullet and also Ribble Atom in this Thursday's William Hill St Leger heats at Wimbledon. Ferryforth Fran made the final last year and has improved since then though Rubys Rascal will be a warm favourite. Sadly this is likely to be the last ever St Leger at Wimbledon after the news that the track will close for good next March, a bitter blow for the sport but one that was certainly expected.
It was a mixed night at Newcastle as Domino Storm was defeated in the Angel of the North Oaks final. To be fair to our little superstar she had no chance as the middle running and early paced Some Woman turned right into Meryl as the traps opened and moved middle on the run up giving her no room, they say draws win races but in this case it was clearly a draw that cost her dearly. Ela Ela Genie didn't quite get it right in a hot sprint when beaten by the brilliant Walshes Hill who now has been retired after a tremendous career for Jimmy Wright.
As the week went on we had reason to be cheerful as Roswell Romanov showed us what he is really capable of when smashing out the traps in the Friday 500m Stayers final at Romford. Galloping to a fluent victory by over 7 lengths he stopped the clock 35.07, the fastest run over 575m for quite a while and if he continues in that mood he will be a major player in next month's Coral Essex Vase.
On Sunday a very good quality RPGTV Henlow Derby saw both our entries win well. Clondoty Alex and California took the promise of last week's excellent trial stakes victories into the event and showing superb early pace they dominated their races though California was made to work hard by the talented Thirteen Bags. They both have tough semi finals but we are hopeful of making the big final a week Sunday.
News of Wimbledon's impending closure has certainly got people talking of where the 2017 Derby will be now held and that small matter of who's sponsoring it. To me it's a simple no brainer, you have to hold it at a galloping track that has the great facilities and can accommodate a large crowd (that has certainly not been possible since Wimbledon switched sides). Step in Towcester, run it over 500m as this has a long run to the bend, sweeping bends and a home straight that you need stamina to get home, the Derby class runners will do around 29.20 which is perfect and tests every aspect of what you need to be to be called a Derby Champion. The track is safe and possibly only needs a couple of minor adjustments (possible slight banking) and as for the facilities for the public without a shadow of doubt they are the best in greyhound racing by some way, atmosphere? well you get 5 or 6 thousand greyhound people on one night with great racing and there will be atmosphere I can assure you.
To me this is a great opportunity for both Towcester and greyhound racing to hold a Derby Festival which will showcase our sport to the full. Towcester's location is superb and easy to get to, bar the last couple of miles, and is accessible from all the major road networks from London or Birmingham. The many acres of ground they have around the two magnificent and modern grandstands are Ideal for a festival. Imagine after the previous Saturday night's Derby semi final from about the Tuesday you could come from far and wide bring your camper van or tent and stay there until Sunday. As well as having a multitude of activities for people to do with trade stalls in the day time the centre stage would be a top class meeting each evening (Tues/Weds/Thurs/Fri and Derby final night Saturday) as well as a couple of morning meetings that can be held. From the semi final night and the following Tuesday meeting you could hold a decent heats and final over every distance for the open racers with top prize money, the possibility of an Anglo/Irish event is there as well as some decent kennel stakes for local runners and possibly even a mini Bags style Championship to involve all the other tracks. If each main bookmaker could all commit individually to sponsoring a competition or a decent race and the smaller bookmakers could sponsor some of the lesser ones it wouldn't be too much to ask. Of course the Derby itself needs a sponsor but if this festival had proper exposure then it would surely be worth it. After racing, on hopefully a warm summer's evening each night you could do a Newmarket style concert in front of the Grace Stand to the right of the greyhound track and attract the odd star name or group as well as maybe a festival type music stage at the back of the stand with smaller type groups playing in the day time, you must have a huge kids area, retired dogs section, loads of food outlets etc etc it could be the best thing to happen in many years for the sport. Now tell me we shouldn't have the Derby at Towcester!
One sad piece of news to report today was that we learnt of the death of John Pearman who owned Double J Feeds. John was widely known throughout the industry and was a good friend to our kennel. He was helpful and an absolute workaholic who's knowledge of greyhound racing was second to none. We always shared a good bit of banter with him on his regular visits to our kennel and he will be sadly missed, our condolences go out to his family ..RIP John
Calco Flyer qualified on Monday in the heats of the Breeders Stakes at Nottingham. Our long trip to Newcastle on Tuesday gave us a nice winner with Rubys Rascal in the Great North Run. On Friday Roswell Romanov took the Stayers final at Romford in great fashion while Evanta Fantasy won her heat of the Friday 500 Bitches recording her 29th win at the track, remarkable!
On Sunday two excellent wins in the RPGTV Henlow Derby heats with Clondoty Alex (27.65) & California (27.69) on going rated 30 slow while Roxwell Roxanne was third time lucky over 550m scoring well in a very good 33.62 (-30).
A handful of graded runners on Tuesday and Friday saw a win for Vangaal (28.62) in a good A2 at a juicy 10/1. On Friday no winners with three seconds, Saffrons Honey and both Lagile Vic and Micky TheButcher going down by the shortest of short heads.
A better night on Saturday with 3 winners from 8 runners. Tread Lightly easily won an A7 in a career best 28.79 (calc), Sovereign King's good middle pace saw him win his heat of a kennel sweepstake in 28.78 (calc) while Swift Bravo was most impressive scoring by over 3 lengths in an A2 in a fine 28.12 (calc)
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Nottingham last night with Calco Flyer in the British Breeders semi final. We have a visit to Sheffield tonight with three runners and on Thursday a big night for the kennel as we go to Wimbledon for the first round of the William Hill St Leger with a strong hand and also we go to Hove for the Brighton Belle where Airforce Duchess defends her crown.
We are back to Romford Friday with veteran Evanta Fantasy in the Friday 500 Bitches final and on Sunday the semi finals of the RPGTV Henlow Derby take centre stage.
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Well what a start for our two in the RPGTV Henlow Derby, California and Clondoty Alex both have excellent chances of making the final this Sunday.
The William Hill St Leger kicks off on Thursday and Rubys Rascal will take all the beating and it would be silly to oppose but I wouldn't expect a big price.
RUBYS RASCAL - 5 pts win ante post - William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon - starts Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
CLONDOTY ALEX - 2 pts ew ante post 12/1 - RPGTV Henlow Derby - semi final Sunday
CALIFORNIA - 2 pts ew ante post 10/1 - RPGTV Henlow Derby - semi final Sunday