22nd February 2016
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It was a long drive back from Sittingbourne on Tuesday night as we were well beaten in the GTA Trainers Championship generously sponsored by Chelsea Glass. Congratulations to Kevin Hutton and his team on defending their title. To be fair the contest was as good as over after Kevin won the first three races. In the opening 480m leg Clondoty Alex led at the first bend but was caught with a couple of strides to go by Kevin's Willy Whietesocks. In the puppy race Droopys Achieve looked like she was going to pick up good points but was dragged down at the third bend and in the sprint veteran Ilewin Allot never let us down when narrowly beaten for the 3rd spot. Only the draw stopped Garryglass Pixie coming very close to winning the 642m stayers race but she had to settle for 4th.
The performance of the night could well have come from Ballymac Shirley in the bitches race as she had a titanic battle with Forest Twilight before getting the better of her rival in the home straight to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a flying 28.73. For a minute we looked like we could get back in the running for outright honours when Roswell Iceman led up in the 500m race, unlucky for him Ballymac Brogan roared up to the bend to draw alongside Iceman and virtually went under the front of our fella forcing him to check badly, that was the end of not only his race but also our chances for outright victory. It would still have been nice to finish with two winners but Billys Bullet completely missed his break in the 708m and in that class it's hard to make up so much ground, he still ran ok but was 4th. In the last race with the Championship already in the bag for Kevin Hutton the run of Domino Storm summed our night up. Breaking well from trap 5 she failed by an inch to get across to the rails but instead was knocked sideways and again at the third bend was involved in heavy trouble before finishing 5th.
Despite our defeat it was still a great night for greyhound racing and these GTA organised Championships are an important part of the greyhound calendar year. We have to thank Len Ponder for his support in sponsoring the event for the last two years but now it's time it went back on the road and in 2017 a Midland/North venue must be on the agenda, this way it would make it fair for all trainers who qualify to be able to compete.
We normally have eight top class dogs going off to other competitions etc after the Championship but this year we are counting the costs of some rough rides from our team. Garryglass Pixie badly split a webb and will be out of action for up to 4 weeks and both Roswell Iceman and Domino Storm were a touch sore afterwards but hopefully will be fully fit in a week or so. Ilewin Allot has now been retired and what a great servant he has been to connections and our kennel, Billys Bullet still looks a run or two short of full fitness and is in action tomorrow night at Towcester. Clondoty Alex trials at Monmore this week as does Ballymac Shirley although it's disappointing that there is a lack of bitches competitions around at the moment especially as she is in such good form. Droopys Achieve looks like a step up in trip will be on the cards earlier than we would expect but clearly she needs further.
Talking of Ilewin Allot (won 26 from 94 races) being retired, his brother Ilewim Frimley also has been retired (re-homed with owner Dave Cunningham yesterday) we also have Aayamzamodel having her last race at Crayford tomorrow. She also has had a brilliant career and as done connections proud winning 23 of her 74 races all of which have been in high class. She won the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy in 2014 and made the William Hill Grand Prix final also that year as well as many decent Sky wins. Also VanfrenchIe and Fairest Royal (being mated to Adageo Bob), Blonde Razor is coming to his last race or two as well so it's very much a changing of the old guard with the likes of Adageo Bob, Evanta Evita and Aero Babooshka recently retired. Hopefully the new pups we have in like Mass Megan, Rubys Rascal, Experto Crede and Tellhimjohn (all off to Monmore this week for the Puppy Derby) are the kennel's future. Ela Ela Genie and Newross Johnny are two exciting prospects in the sprint division and it will be interesting seeing Droopys Achieve step up in trip.
We of course, in my opinion, have the best stayer in the country currently in the shape of Patchys Kerry and tomorrow night she is a strong favourite for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket over 714m at Crayford. Frankie Taylor's flying bitch is one of the shortest priced favourites of all time for this prestigious race live on Sky Sports. There is no doubt the pressure is on for us and it seems a lifetime since the semi finals took place a week last Saturday, we have kept her ticking over at home and she looks in great shape. Hopefully the track shows no bias to the outside which it often does in cold spells and given a decent break we can land our first major title of 2016. As well as the Golden Jacket we have the chance to land an unprecedented 5th Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy when Swift Whirlwind lines up in trap 5, he also is favourite but only his best break will suffice as he can't come from behind. If we can have a good night then last Tuesday's Trainers Championship will quickly be forgotten.
The Coral Golden Sprint at Romford is just around the corner as well and Evanta Fantasy looks like being our leading hope again this year. She was ante post favourite last year but missed her break in the opening round and was eliminated. She warmed up for the event with a great victory in a tough trial stake on Friday and will again go through her paces this Friday. We tried a couple of other potential runners but they didn't go so good and now will be diverted elsewhere. Sadly Blue Moment suffered a gracilis injury when looking in a great position at the second bend and his career looks in the balance, Calco Flyer will be aimed at the Arc> Despite a defeat for our Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club new recruit Saffrons Boxer he showed some tremendous pace and the Golden Sprint is very much on his agenda.
Talking of the future we still have three very nice puppies up on our For Sale page. Swift Dartmoor and Swift Tresco are both out of Blonde Reagan's mother Swift Babe, Blonde Reagan won both the St Leger and the T.V Trophy for us in 2012 and these pups look like they will turn into decent stayers in time themselves. We also have a lovely little bitch Swift Kaylee who Ian thinks is useful judging by her schooling trials. Call or email me me if anyone is interested in getting involved.
With the Trainers Championship at Sittingbourne on Tuesday taking centre stage Towcester's opens were a bit low key. Tellhimjohn made it four wins from five races when landing a Maiden in 28.75, Newross Johnny ran well when second in a sorint and Aero Harrison continued his good form when winning a six bend Maiden in a career best 39.79. Sosaidhs Blue was only 5th in the Dual Distance final
On Friday at Romford Saffrons Boxer ran a fine debut when second in a maiden 400m and Calco Flyer ran well in a Golden Sprint trial stake. Evanta Fantasy enhanced her excellent reputation when winning a top race in a fine 24.10 on a slow track.
Mostly opens Tuesday and Experto Crede was unlucky in an A4 when 3rd. Just three runners Friday with Swift Bravo unluckily touched off in a P7 in his second race of his career.
A good night Saturday where Parkers Prince won his 4th race from 8 starts taking a P6 in 29.01 calc. There was a kennel 1-2 in the S1 with Aero Harrison continuing his fine form beating Kennel mate Benkaat Dolly by 2 1/2 lengths in 39.97 calc and in a warm A3 we had another 1-2 with this time Vandiva running a fine race to catch the in form Cisberry Geo to score by 1 1/2 lengths in a good 28.32. Ela Ela Genie is getting the hang of sprinting and took a decent top grade in 15.43.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
All eyes on Patchys Kerry tomorrow in her bid for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket title at Crayford live on Sky Sports and Swift Whirlwind'S bid for a fifth kennel victory on the bounce in the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy final, some other interesting supporting opens as well. Opens also at Towcester.
On Thursday we send a team of puppies to Monmore for Puppy Derby trial stakes and on Friday the last week of trial stakes for the Golden Sprint take place at Romford.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Patchys Kerry could give many of our supporters a decent night if she lands the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket title. I must have forgot to include Swift Whirlwind in our bets last week for the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy and his 4/1 ante post is looking like a golden opportunity missed. Domino Storm was so unlucky on Trainers Championship night at Sittingbourne so a winner or two is needed. Tomorrow at Crayford I strongly fancy Ribble Aon to land the 540m bitches race.
RIBBLE AON - 4 pts win - Crayford - Tuesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
PATCHYS KERRY - 5 pts win ante post - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - final tomorrow
DOMINO STORM - 5 pts win - Sittingbourne - Tuesday - lost