(Opens to a third party website)
Hopefully we can have a big finish as we move into the last couple of weeks of the year and Christmas just around the corner, more importantly a New Year that promises to see an enormous amount of change in the industry - a media rights battle that nobody knows what the outcome will be, a possible year without Sky coverage that's been around for nearly 20 years, never has the welfare and standards within the sport been scrutinised as much, and rightly so, trainer contracts that are confusing at best and a promoters war that is likely to have casualties with tracks ever increasingly trying to fight for that pound within the leisure industry. Our hierarchy will see number of key positional changes and is now realising that it has to do more than just regulate or there will be no sport to regulate, quite where we will all be this time next year is anybody's guess.
Our allegiance at Towcester, now three years old, is as strong as ever and a new dawn approaches for the Northamptonshire venue with a TRP contract that sees four meetings a week all at the weekend. That alone changes a huge amount for our business as we look to staff this amount of work but at least it should guarantee we don't have our kennel strength sitting around waiting for runs as has been the case for a large part of 2017. The prize money increases are now in line with anything else other tracks can offer and overall Towcester will lead the way in looking after owners in every kind of way. I can only see Towcester going from strength to strength and should ensure our future is safe.
The open racing circuit has always been seen as the icing on the cake for kennels like ours where a contract at a track comes first and then trying to win the biggest prizes in the sport can try to be realised once that firm base has been established. It will be the same again in 2018 and with a ninth Trainer of the Year firmly in the bag and a sixth consecutive victory that is an incredible achievement. We start again on January 1st with a goal to get to double digits, the passion and desire to do this is as strong as ever. I won't lie the last few months has been tough, I've had a sense that certain rumours have tried to unsettle us and at times it's been a battle to get through each week. Nothing is easy and I recently have had a feeling that certain sections of the media are maybe suggesting a moving of the goalposts to see if they can see a different trainer finish at the top as seeing Mark Wallis on top again is maybe a negative for the sport. I'm sure the likes of Phil Taylor or AP McCoy who won multiple title in their spheres had similar feelings but whatever they would like to try I will be up for the fight to stay at the top, I will not settle for anything less though I expect our nearest rivals to be pulling out all the stops to try and beat us next year but I'm confident we have a team of staff, owners and most importantly some exciting Greyhounds that any other kennel would be proud to have as well as the support of the best track in the country by a mile, Towcester. That will make us as competitive as ever and I promise I will not be budged easily, you have been warned!
In the next couple of weeks I will have our full Review of 2017 with our Website Awards ready to read, it's something I really enjoy writing and hope everyone enjoys reading. Our popular 5 To Follow competition is desperately close at the top with 'Kaan4' leading the way.
Our partnership with 'Energize Kennels' is also going from strength to strength and breeder Gary Goulden reports a huge amount of interest in the new litter of pups up for sale from Evanta Evita. I can only see this being a major part of our success in years to come as we now have a great selection of brood bitches like Evanta Evita, Evanta Fantasy (now in season and ready to be mated ), Ribble Aon, Fairest Royal and Saffrons Anna. We will set up great deals for owners to purchase some high class pups.
Don't forget if anyone is looking for a late Christmas present and something slightly different then look at membership to our Racing Club
. A one off £500 fee and then a £30 monthly standing order will get you a membership into the club which currently has four race dogs racing in graded and open class, one pup that's going through qualifying trials and shortly due to run also two pups currently schooling in Ireland which will be ready to race in March/April as well as a brood bitch and another couple of younger ones in the paddocks for later on in 2018. Regular weekly updates and twice yearly social get togethers all paid for in one of Towcester's Executive Suites and nearly everything running can be watched on RPGTV or Towcester's excellent live streaming. We don't have thousands of people in one dog like some clubs and membership is a great way of ownership at an affordable and set price.
Scolari Sound tried his best to qualify for a third straight final of the National Sprint at Nottingham but was only 4th this time in his semi final on Monday.
Bruisers Bullet looked out of the race in the heats of the Coral Olympic, the last major four bend competition of the year, but somehow managed to scramble home in 3rd place and only beaten a length by Crossfield Giles with Bombers Bullet putting in a pleasing effort when splitting the pair. Considering Bruisers Bullet was under prepared due to a cut foot keeping him on the sidelines for a couple of weeks it was a sterling effort, they have both been rewarded with a stunningly difficult semi final this Thursday with a race that would grace any Category 1 final but he should come on a ton for last week's semi.
We had plenty of runners at Romford on Friday but there did seem to be a bias on the outside and a few of our runners did struggle. However in one of the featured races the Friday Night 500 Maiden Stayers final we had a 1-2 as Bonzos Bullet beat kennelmate Homest Robber by a neck in a good 35.37. Rubys Razzle broke that magical 35.00 barrier but was second! while our second winner on the night came courtesy of Boylesports Duke who won by 9 1/2 lengths in 35.03.
On Sunday at Henlow in the meeting that was cancelled from the week before a rare defeat for Shlowdown Sally in the sprint as she missed the kick. Again there did seem to be a bias on the outside but both Cotton Pants (2nd) and Tread Lightly (3rd) qualified for Thursday night's Xmas Mini Final and Roswell Romanov beat the bias with a battling win in the Xmas Midi heats in a 33.37 calculated win.
Tuesday's meeting was called off and on Friday a good night for the kennel. Ballyhi Honey
on debut raised a few eyebrows with a 2 1/2 lengths win in a fast 28.67 which also incurred the wrath of the stewards but it was a fine win. Also on debut Towstar Jess ran really well to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 28.99. Airforce Cluxton gained a last ditch win in a D3 in 15.91 and Tiffield Lad completed a good night winning an A4 in 28.77 (4.09 split.
On Saturday morning a decent card saw some close finishes and we ended up with a double courtesy of Cousin Dupree who won in 29.02 and Energize Jack who took an A6 in a good 28.73. A cold night saw a few of ours run well but the only winner came right at the end when Gully Foyle led all the way to win in 28.86.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - BOYLESPORTS DUKE
GRADED - BALLYHI HONEY
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A big night on Thursday as we travel to Hove for the semi final of the Coral Olympic and Bruisers Bullet and Bombers Bullet face a difficult task in a red hot semi final. In supporting races Scolari Sound hopes to end a fine career when he races for the last time in a sprint.
Over at Henlow Roswell Romanov can sign off a fine year with a win in the Xmas Midi Final while Cotton Pants and Tread Lightly who have equally had a good year compete in the Xmas Mini Final.
We will be at Romford on Friday where Kilcree Diamond takes on decent older dogs in the Friday Night 500 Standard Final.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We have recommended Bruisers Bullet in the Coral Olympic at around 5/1 and he somehow scrambled through to the semi final. He faces a tough semi final and now trades double the price he was at the start so I wouldn't blame anyone for going in again! I still have faith that he can sign off the year with a big race success.
Trying to find a big price winner then have a second look at Tread Lightly on Thursday at Henlow, he's been a revelation from his humble beginnings at Towcester where he was an A8 performer but knows how to pop up at a big price, respect to Cotton Pants and certainly Idle Talker but he's worth a sneaky fiver at least
TREAD LIGHTLY - 2 pts win - Xmas Midi Final - Henlow - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRUISERS BULLET - 4 pts win ante post 5/1 - Coral Olympic - Hove - semi final Thursday