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Nearly a very good weekend just gone with seven open race winners from 13 runners on Saturday, which is a great tonic for the kennel a week before the Greyhound Derby at Nottingham kicks off, the greatest competition in the Greyhound calendar year. Normally we would have well over 10 entries but with the event being limited to 196 runners and the high quality, many of our borderline entry types have not being entered but overall our six entries, in my opinion, have chances of going deep. Indeed I will say it, in Brinkleys Poet I think we have the best chance of winning the Derby since Blonde Snapper achieved that fete in 2012. Unfortunately we have had to withdraw one of our entries as Alien Sea has come off slightly sore from his race at Sheffield on Saturday and we don't want to take a chance with our promising young prospect, that leaves us with five contenders and here are my thoughts on our runners.
FRIDAY - heats 1-16
Heat 1 - ANTIGUA SANDS
A fantastic Irish card from a bitch who will be making big waves as the year progresses. Very slow to come out of season but trials have improved each week and her 30.07 on the 13th May was more than acceptable. Though narrowly beaten at long odds on in her British debut on Saturday at Sheffield the run would have done her a power of good. Takes on the high class Sporting Dave in heat 1 but can safely qualify if she traps well, will improve and definitely come on for the run.
Heat 9 - ANTIGUA ROMEO
Not the finished article by a long way and caught the eye when beating a decent puppy field at Hove last month in a flying 28.36 just 1/2 length off the track record. Didn't particularly trial so well at Nottingham and missed his break in a hot trial stakes and was well beaten but I've no doubt he's better than this form. Was unlucky at Sheffield on Saturday when just touched off. Clearly has to show us that Nottingham suits but he's only just turned two years old and has plenty of scope for improvement. If he traps in his best fashion he could be value all round, tough heat this one!
Heat 11 - BUSTERS BULLET
Not the best preparation when Ko'd in a trial stake two weeks ago but a flying trial (25.37) at Henlow yesterday tells us all is well. Drawn in trap 4 in this heat is not ideal and yet to show us he's true Derby class but we do have a habit of finding something unexpected with the odd Derby runner and maybe Busters could be that one. He will need to as this is no easy heat with the likes of Irish ace Burgess Bucks to take on, he can qualify I'm sure.
Heat 16 - BRINKLEYS POET
It's a case of save the best until last as we wrap up the first batch of heats on Friday with the mouth watering clash of Brinkleys Poet versus reigning Derby champion Dorotas Wildcat. To add spice to the race Graham Holland's Wolfe is high class and no mistakes can be made by either. Brinkleys Poet has got better each week since his arrival at the kennel and there is no hint of any problems with his wrist injury that forced him to be nearly retired and what a story this could be. Completed his final preparation with a scintillating open race win at Sheffield on Saturday. Without doubt a serious contender for outright honours and a joy to train, all we need is some good luck and that dream can come true!
SATURDAY - Heats 17 - 32
Heat 20 - ANTIGUA VOWS
An interesting young bitch who has started to look like she will be a real star in the future. Only 26 kilos she packs a powerful punch and has great early pace and stays strong as well. A good trial stakes winner two weeks ago in a nice 29.87 (+ 20) she followed up with a victory at Sheffield on Saturday. A tough start to her campaign drawn in with the likes of Badminton Jet, Forest Alan and Droopys Nadal but one I believe she can pass with flying colours. For me an excellent chance to go deep into the Derby and a bet to be the bitch to go farthest in the event. Completes the team for Amanda/Nic Jeal and though it’s nigh on impossible for a bitch to win a Derby, so they say, we have, as a kennel, re-written some scripts over the years and Aayamza Breeze’s victory recently in the Regency shows anything is possible!
So that’s our small but select team and we wish them and their owners the best of luck, as we do with Nottingham who are making a fine effort to show they can put on a proper spectacle for the sports premier Classic.
Away from the Derby we are a touch quiet with a few of our stars resting up for a couple of weeks but with an incredible amount of competitions coming up for the second half of the year it’s a good time to refresh a few batteries. I’ve no doubt we are going to be very strong for the rest of 2019 and of course we still have a busy schedule at Henlow and we have plenty of new pups just coming on the cards, many of whom hopefully can turn into future stars.
Brinkleys Poet (29.60) and Antigua Vows (29.87) produced nice Derby Trial Stakes wins last Monday at Nottingham while we were out of luck at Yarmouth as our three George Ing St Leger semi finalists were all eliminated unfortunately.
On Saturday we travelled back to Yarmouth for the supporting races and saw a rarity with two Marathons on the card. The first one was won well by Glassmoss Sis by nearly 7 lengths in 54.12 and the second one was won by Aayamza Breeze by 6 lengths in a fine 53.45 just 9 spots off the track record with Avastorm back in 3rd. No Can Boogie also took a 659m race well by 4 3/4 lengths in 41.30.
We took a chance by entering some of our Derby team at Sheffield as I was worried that they would be short of match fitness come the Derby next week. Alien Sea gained his first victory on British soil beating kennel mate Antigua Romeo by a short head in 29.30. Antigua Sands also suffered a short head loss to kennelmate Aayamza Bonnie who ran very well in 28.22 over 480m. Brinkleys Poet overcame a tough draw in trap 4 with a fine 5 1/4 length win over 500m in a very good 28.79 and Antigua Vows completed a memorable night for the kennel winning the top bitches 480 division by a couple of lengths in 27.93.
Just a handful of opens at Henlow on Sunday with Kiltrea Mike just touched off in a 550m race while Algo For You was also second in a 460m.
On Tuesday evening from a few runners Towstar Del Boy came closest when 2nd and on Thursday Ballyfinn Jade battled to another win in an S3 in 34.36.
On Friday morning we had a nice treble with Sidarian Dino (28.37), Muxton Belle (28.60) and Calco Cool who ran her best race to date winning an S3 by 6 lengths in a very good 33.62. Just a few graded runners on Sunday and a belated win for Gully Foyle (28.49) and Nothing But Love (28.27).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - BRINKLEYS POET
GRADED - CALCO COOL
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Everything this week builds up to the Greyhound Derby starting at Nottingham in Friday/Saturday and we have five entries trying to achieve Greyhound immortality.
Hopefully some opens will fill this Sunday at Henlow.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Aayamza Breeze was a bit short at 1/2 but won well and this week is all about the Derby. For me we have one main bet to win outright honours and if you have read the above you will know that is Brinkleys Poet, yes there was bigger prices a couple of weeks ago or more but with him coming back from a long absence it would have been wiser to wait to make sure he was sound and actually going to make the first round, that is the case and at 40/1 I still feel that is value. We do have a tough heat to overcome on a Friday but if he was to win I could see his 40/1 being cut in half, a bet on this lovely dog is a must!
For my other main bet which I’ve spoken about is Antigua Vows to be the bitch that goes the furthest in the Derby, I haven’t seen these markets yet but they should be up soon.
BRINKLEYS POET - 2.5 pts each way ante post 40/1 - Greyhound Derby - Nottingham starts Friday
ANTIGUA VOWS - 2.5 pts each way ante post - Bitch to go furthest in the Derby - Nottingham - starts Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AAYAMZA BREEZE - 3 pts win - Yarmouth - Saturday- Won 1/2