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We are late on parade this week as I catch up after my annual golfing break with the Calco boys. This year we had a wonderful few days in Cork with the weather absolutely magnificent. To say it was a weekend to remember is an understatement as the golf was sensational and the kennel continued its excellent form with a brilliant 1-2 in the TV Trophy on Friday night at Romford.
After last week's stunning Champion Stakes victory by Aayamza Express we were more hopeful than confident of a Romford back to back double but as soon as our youngster Bumblebee Bullet, highlighted in our recommended bets at 16/1, hit the front off the second bend I knew it would take a massive run from her rivals to catch her. Only a September 17 our youngster showed all round pace to hold a good lead and though the pack closed she always looked in control, indeed it was our veteran Regency winner Aayamza Breeze who summoned a gallant effort to catch ‘the stinger’ and as they crossed the line in the gruelling 925m she only held on by a neck with Graham Holland’s Irish raider and odds on favourite, running a blinder, a further neck behind but it was Bumblebee Bullet’s moment and it was a very rewarding and deserving victory for the Bruiser Boyz syndicate, who had not had the best of luck this year.
I was proud of my team at Imperial Kennels, as it's not easy for me to get away these days with such a busy schedule, and to see the delight in my son Daniel's face as we celebrated the victory was very humbling. Of course it’s a team effort as always and a massive thank you to all ‘Team Wallis’ for a sterling effort and a special mention to our physio Ron Mills for his expertise in making sure the pair were physically spot on for the final.
The excellent 1-2 has scored us huge points towards our effort to retain our Trainer of the Year title and what looked a lost cause in trying to catch our good friend Patrick Janssens only a few weeks ago is now more than possible though we have a full three months to go and I’m sure Patrick will hit back in the coming weeks and the very best of luck to him and his team. To be honest both of us are more looking at having big winners like the last two Fridays than we are about the trainers title, of course it’s still very important to us and the battle looks set to go to the wire!
It’s a busy week ahead as we prepare for the Romford Puppy Cup semi final with Antigua Coral on Friday while the Category 1’s Kent St Leger (Crayford) and Kent Derby (Central Park) start this weekend. At Crayford the 714m event will be red hot and we have a strong entry with our TV Trophy winner and runner up Bumblebee Bullet and Aayamza Breeze both entered as well as the on form Antigua Fire who recorded a superb 37.37 at Monmore on Saturday. He locks horns in the heats with with Stardom in a mouth watering clash, the pair had a tight finish in the Golden Jacket final last February with a whisker between them. Add Bumblebee Bullet and the Monmore Summer Stayers winner Sheldan to the race and it would easily represent a top class final line up. We also have Busters Bullet and Brigadier Bullet entered providing the latter is cleared to run after a nasty incident in a race at Henlow on Sunday. After taking a decisive lead in a 692m race the curtain was pulled across prematurely causing him to go full pelt into it. To say I was frustrated and angry, as were the owners, is an understatement but thankfully he seems to have come off none the worse though he will be checked thoroughly by Ron Mills on Thursday before a final decision is made.
The East Anglian Derby final is this Thursday and unfortunately we just missed out when Antigua Romeo ran well but was around 1/2 length from qualifying in 5th place in his semi final. Roxholme Nidge was impressive again and it will take a good one to beat him though I wouldn’t write off Patrick’s Seaglass Tiger who is a terrific competition dog. We did however have some luck in the supporting events with Coolavanny Messi fastest in the Green King IPA Sprint final with an excellent 16.39 victory in the heats while Avastorm went very well winning her heat comfortably of the Derby Purse over 659m in a fine 40.77. Both should have a good chance of landing these events.
Sad, sad news this week when having a phone call yesterday from Dick Barfoot’s daughter Joanne to say her father had passed away at the weekend. It was so deeply upsetting as Dick was not only a great owner along with his wife Ann but a true gentleman and loved his greyhounds and the sport. We were blessed to have them in our kennel for over 15 years and the Barfoot family have shared so many great moments with us with dogs like Special Deal, Glanmire Lad and Derby finalist Adageo to mention but a few but it was with Adageo Bob that we shared our greatest moment when he won the 2015 Mitch Millward Essex Vase in emotional scenes that brings a tear to me eye as I write. He will be sadly missed and our deepest sympathies go to Ann, and all of his lovely family, sadly missed but truly never forgotten.
Not too much too add from above. Friday at Romford was superb and as well as a brilliant 1-2 in the TV Trophy Final with Bumblebee Bullet
narrowly shading Aayamza Breeze for a famous victory we had supporting open wins with Saleen Again (35.33) and Towstar Zelda (35.38) in Maiden 575’s while our only entry in the Romford Puppy Cup Antigua Coral ran well at a big price to qualify when second in her heat.
On Saturday Antigua Romeo just missed out on a place in the East Anglian Derby final but fine wins for Collavanny Messi (16.39) and Avastorm (40.77). In heats of supporting competitions at Monmore Antigua Fire was ultra impressive in a 630m race winning in a fine 37.37 while Antigua Rum was beaten 3 lengths by the experienced Desperado Dan in another 630m race. Antigua Breeze making his debut ran well in a 480m puppy race when beaten just over a length in 3rd place and is sure to improve.
We should have had a winner at Henlow with Brigadier Bullet on Sunday as said but we did have one with Alien Sea who basically took off in a weak 550m maiden and recorded a smart 33.06.
Just a few runners last week with Chubbys Jenny winning on Monday in 34.66 and Roswell Rainbow (28.82) scoring a debut success on Tuesday.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - BUMBLEBEE BULLET
GRADED - ROSWELL RAINBOW
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
This Thursday we have a few runners at Yarmouth supporting the East Anglian Derby final including Coolavanny Messi in the Green King IPA Sprint final and Avastorm in the Derby Purse final.
On Friday we will see if Antigua Coral can pass a stern test to qualify for the Romford Puppy Cup final and we have a few runners on the card.
On Saturday a hot Kent St Leger at Crayford sees us with five entries and I’m hoping to have runners in the Kent Derby at Central Park on Sunday.
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Bumblebee Bullet's TV Trophy victory gave our supporters another huge pay day following Aayamza Express’s victory the week before in the Champion Stakes. At 16/1 ante post many who hadn’t backed her followed up when she was the same price on the morning of the final (touched 20’s) before going off at 14/1.
So can we follow it up with another ante post winner? Hopefully we can as despite a tough heat on Saturday I’m liking Antigua Fire’s chances in the Kent St Leger over 714m, he was touched off in the Golden Jacket at the beginning of the year by Stardom when trained in Ireland by Brendan Matthew’s but hopefully our in form stayer can go one better here.
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2.5 pts ew ante post - Kent St Leger - Crayford - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BUMBLEBEE BULLET - 2 pts ew ante post 16/1 - TV Trophy - Romford - WON 16/1
AAYAMZA BREEZE - 2.5 pts ew ante post 7/2 - TV Trophy - Romford - 2ND 7/2