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We could not have asked any more of Antigua Fire in the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers final on Saturday at Monmore. We knew the 630m was way too sharp for him and predictably he was run off his feet by some top class rivals for the first 500m but once he clicked into gear he began to surge past most of the field but just failed to get to the front two, Sheldon and Droopys Live, finishing a very creditable 3rd just over a length off the victorious Sheldon trained by Kevin Boon. Hopefully Antigua Fire can stay in great form as he will have more of a chance to lift a big trophy in trips of 660+ and is key to our team having a good last third of the year.
We had a good night at Romford on Friday with wins from Chubbys Caviar and Tiffield Maximus but it was the performance of Aayamza Express that had a few tongues wagging. After a facile victory the week before in the Maiden Stayers final she was given an ultra tough Champion Stakes trial stake and when she was bundled back through the field at the first bend it looked impossible to win but she is a progressive bitch and she finished with a rattle to pick up the high class duo of Desperado Dan and Sporting Dave in an excellent 35.39.
Romford’s switch around seemed to work well and an excellent card on Friday is hopefully something we can expect over the coming months with all their big competitions coming up. The first one starts this week as the Champion Stakes kicks off and we look to defend our title that Bombers Bullet won so well last year. In Aayamza Express and Chubbys Caviar we have two bitches on fire at Romford itself and another bitch who should go well is Antigua Vows who won well at Monmore on Saturday. Brigadier Bullet, prolific earlier in the year and favourite to win the Essex Vase in December, needs to return to his best form to have a chance and the same can be said of Saleen Ash who was near favourite to win last year's event after some excellent displays in the heats and semi’s.
Romford are also looking to put on some marathons as the TV Trophy also looms large and we are hopeful of a good campaign with the likes of Aayamza Breeze who bows out after this event, and what a magnificent career she has had. The ‘new kid on the block’ could be Bumblebee Bullet who has been waiting for a sterner test of stamina and Tiffield Maximus, a good winner last week, may also get the 925m if he gets fitter.
Antigua Rum ran a great race last night at Nottingham to finish second and qualify for the final of the Puppy Classic, finding trouble all over the place he somehow managed to still be in the hunt at the last bend and used all his power to grab that vital second spot albeit 4 lengths adrift of the winner Roxholme Dolly. It looks an absolute belter of a final with the other two heat winners Ice On Fire and Headford Ranger very impressive. Antigua Rum drew trap 1 in the final and though he’s highly likely to be at the back when they get to the first bend if there’s any jostling up front he will be in a great position to pounce, it looks like a step up in trip is imminent for our September pup and dare I say it, he could be special!
News of some impending closures of tracks in Ireland, namely Lifford and Longford, was not entirely unexpected given the bad publicity the sport has received in the last few months but still it hurts and could cause long term damage to the whole sport with more breeders and trainers likely to pack in. With such a heavy schedule over here for promoters to fulfil their contracts any loss is going to cause some headaches, especially with breeders going to the wall which has to create a shortage of numbers, the question is, are there more closures to come? I think so unfortunately and maybe even over here!
Antigua Rum ran well to beat Roxholme Dolly by 1/2 length in 29.83 in the heats of the Puppy Classic at Nottingham last Monday.
On a great card at Romford on Friday Have A Brandy kicked the night off with a game effort in the Winner of One Standard going down just over a length in a fast 23.96. Chubbys Caviar gave a start and a beating to the useful Leemount Venus in a good 35.32 and as said Aayamza Express
was involved in a thrilling finish winning in 35.39. In the Maiden 750 Tiffield Maximus won well in 47.73 stepping up in trip but unfortunately Calco Cool tore a gracilis off the second bend when favourite for the race.
As well as Antigua Fire at Monmore on Saturday, Antigua Coral made her debut in a decent puppy race and though 5th will come on for the race. We didn’t go home empty handed as Antigua Vows won well in a 630m in a good 37.68.
Not much luck in a few opens at Henlow on Sunday particularly No Can Boogie (2nd) in the 692m but a career best effort from Towstar Zelda winning a 560m Maiden in a good 33.54 beating Kennel mate Alien Sea by 4 lengths.
On Monday Savana Matt won well by 4 lengths in an A6 in 28.06. On Tuesday evening two 550m victories as Glassmoss Queen took an S3 in 34.43 and Nothing But Love won well in an S2 in 34.13.
No winners on Thursday with Bolshy Bullet best of ours when second but a good day on Saturday as Koroleva Queen
returned from injury to take an A5 in 28.13. We saw a debut win from Princess Evita in an A11 in 28.72 and her litter sister Jesses Sister followed her scintillating victory from last week by taking an A6 in a fine 27.97.
Not too much luck in the Kennel Sweepstakes Finals with Busters Bullet 3rd in the 550m and Silva Hill 2nd in the one off 428m race.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - AAYAMZA EXPRESS
GRADED - KOROLEVA QUEEN
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Friday at Romford should be a decent night with the Champion Stakes starting and it’s a competition we have won a few times in the past.
Away from Romford we are only really at Henlow on Sunday but on Monday we have a huge night as Antigua Rum goes in the Category 1 Puppy Classic at Nottingham in what will be one of the races of the year.
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Antigua Fire nearly gave us a decent return in the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers final when a close up 3rd but a small profit nonetheless.
It’s Champion Stakes time in an event that we have done very well in the past including winning last year with Bombers Bullet. We have also won this with a bitch when Patchys Kerry took the title and without stating the obvious our two best chances most likely lay with the on form duo of Aayamza Express and Chubbys Caviar though I think all of our team warrant a second look.
AAYAMZA EXPRESS - 2 pts ew ante post - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford- starts Friday
CHUBBYS CAVIAR - 2 pts ew ante post - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford - starts Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA RUM - 2.5 pts ew ante post 7/1 - Ladbrokes Summer Stayers - Monmore - 3RD 7/1