(Opens to a third party website)
Some weeks working in this industry running a busy graded and open race kennel can be challenging, indeed some weeks can be particularly stressful and of course some weeks are the most enjoyable experiences imaginable. Last week we endured, for the most part, the middle of those three with stress being the optimum word. One thing we are renowned for is the welfare of all our dogs in our kennel, we try to give the best care and attention to every one of our Greyhounds whether they be graded, open race or retired, that comes first before any thoughts go towards trying to win as many races as we can, so it came as a total shock to us when we sadly lost one of our lovely graded bitches on Tuesday morning, Muxton Snowy. I don’t want to go through every detail as it’s still distressing to her owners, myself and our staff but basically Snowy raced satisfactorily last Sunday at Henlow, was ok, if a little quiet, on the Monday (normal the day after a race) but quite clearly something was amiss first thing Tuesday morning when we started our daily routine. There was some bad diarrhoea with blood present in her kennel and she looked very quiet, a quick decision to get her to our vets immediately was made but sadly she had slipped away upon arrival. I was taken aback as I genuinely thought it was a case of getting her to the vets to get some antibiotics, I certainly wasn’t expecting to lose her. The GBGB were immediately informed and Dr Richard Payne came over to pick her up within hours for a postmortem, I couldn’t praise Richard enough for his quick action. At the time I could only think that maybe she had ruptured something internally or something similar, when the results came back and Richard informed me she had a sudden and bad kennel sickness virus called Haemorrhagic Enteritis I was shocked. There was nothing we could have done no matter how quickly we had acted. The hardest part for me was to inform the owners who absolutely love their Greyhounds and regularly watch and come up to the kennel to see them, thankfully they fully understand that things like this, though rare, can happen.
With something like a virus my other focus has to be straight to whether we have a problem in our kennel and again I assured Richard we had no sickness or diarrhoea from any of our other dogs, in fact the total opposite, everything seemed in great form. I’m not silly and if we had anything of this nature around then I would have immediately locked the kennel down until we were cleared no matter how much it affected any racing plans or current engagements. Both myself and Richard informed Henlow and promoter Kevin Boothby acted immediately ordering a complete clean through of all the kennels and surrounding areas despite knowing that this looked like a totally isolated case. There have been reports from Henlow and a few other tracks of some sickness on their strengths but not a strain like this one, it is not uncommon to have a bout of sickness at this time of year. If any good has come from this then the fact that all Kennels, including ours, and tracks have a review on everything they do towards the possible spread of any diseases like kennel sickness and you can clearly see warnings have been heeded. I’m deeply saddened by what happened and I again thank my staff for all their efforts this week, I think I’ve aged 10 years in a few days that’s for sure.
While all this was happening on Thursday we had a small matter of a Coral Regency semi final and the comeback race of Brinkley Poet. I’ve had to deal with a certain segment of people who have way too much to say on this subject and a few other distasteful comments from some who should know better but I expect little else when you have been at the top for so many years, our professionalism and integrity will always shine through. The night started well, providing some welcome relief, as Antigua Romeo
absolutely flew out the traps (2.78 sectional!) and never looked in danger in a 490m Puppy race eventually winning by 4 lengths in a fabulous 28.36. Our semi final was hot and both Antigua Fire and Aayamza Breeze looked to have it all to do with moderate exits and when the classy duo of Roxholme Poppy and Affleck Bolt raced clear we were looking down the barrel. Antigua Fire some seven or eight lgths adrift at the the 3rd bend suddenly got into gear and showed an astounding burst of pace and coming off the last bend incredibly challenged Affleck Bolt who was himself a length behind Roxholme Poppy. In this game you need luck and just as he looked like he was going to pinch that all important second spot Affleck Bolt took a step to the right and Antigua Fire collided with him stopping both in their tracks, in the background our marathon runner Aayamza Breeze was also making huge inroads on the leaders and in the blink of an eyelid she swooped to grab that second spot two lengths behind the winner Roxholme Poppy in 41.45, the fastest of the three semi finals, talk about an incident packed race!
Incredibly this will be the third consecutive time Aayamza Breeze has contested the Regency. She was eliminated in last year's semi final and unluckily was knocked over in the 2017 final when a 9/4 favourite. In that time our Dorando Marathon winner has had her ups and downs and recovered from a broken leg. We are hoping she can carry on racing until August for one last tilt at the TV Trophy as Romford is a track she likes and wouldn't it be nice if she was to land this title being a veteran Feb 2015 whelp! but it's as good a Regency final as I can remember and will take some winning!
Brinkleys Poet's comeback race ended a bit prematurely as a missed break cost him dearly, he tried hard to get back into the race but looked ring rusty. The bookies were taking no chances making him a short priced favourite which after a seven months' absence seemed harsh, thankfully he has come off sound and only races will get him fit. We are looking at taking him to Monmore this Saturday as they continue to have regular £500 opens twice a month which is fantastic.
Today is the funeral of Pete Vernon in Leicester and myself, Sid, Kevin and Patrick will pay our last respects. We all worked with Pete for many years and I’m sure it will be a sad occasion but one that everyone who knew him will celebrate and remember a man who had a full and enriched life.
As well as the semi finals of the Regency semi finals at Hove on Thursday and the excellent win for Antigua Romeo our Chubbys Turkana won well in a hot bitches race in 30.30.
On Friday we didn’t have a great night at Romford as all four of our runners suffered reversals when favourites or joint favourites though both Busters Bullet and Glory Snake qualified for the Maiden Stayers Final when second in their respective heats.
On Sunday the Henlow Maiden Derby has been promoted to Category 1 status and we had five entries. As per usual three of ours were pitched together in heat 1 and we were pleased as they all qualified with in form Algo For You (28.10) beating Tommys Storm who was making his debut for us, with Tiffield Lady in 3rd place. Cuil King was eliminated but Flip The Tyre qualified when 3rd in his heat which produced the fastest time of the round 27.55.
We had a couple of winners on Monday as the prolific Swift Lisetta won again in 28.31 while Ballyfinn Jade was gutsy leading all the way in an S3 in 34.12. On Tuesday evening we didn’t find a winner but both Bonitas Bullet and Adageo Zoomer were second.
Again on Thursday we came close a few times but it was left to Kiltrea Mike to make sure we never came away empty handed when he took an S1 in a good 33.63, while on Sunday in a few graded races supporting the opens Shazzas Bullet took off to win in a flying 27.98 in an A6.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ANTIGUA ROMEO
GRADED - SHAZZAS BULLET
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
The Coral Regency Final this Thursday at Hove will take centre stage and veteran Aayamza Breeze struts her stuff. We have a few in supporting opens including the debut of a really nice dog Alien Sea.
The Maiden Stayers Final at Romford on Friday is a warm little race and hopefully Glory Snake and Busters Bullet can go well.
On Sunday the Henlow Maiden Derby semi finals can go well as we look to get one or two in to the Category 1 Final the following week.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
I never put Aayamza Breeze up for the Regency but of course it would be great if she could go on to land the prestigious title. I did put Algo For You up in the Maiden Derby at Henlow though I never saw any ante post betting for the event which is a shame as he won his heat, now if they do some for the semi final stage I will feel I’ve missed the value!
Looking at finding one to bet this week I must admit I like our new intake Alien Sea and he makes his debut this Thursday at Hove in a 515 Maiden and hopefully he can make a winning start
ALIEN SEA - 2 pt win - Hove - Thursday