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Our first two big races of 2018 didn’t quite go our way but overall we have made a sound enough start to our 2018 campaign. On Friday Rubys Rascal looked as if the Category 2 Mitch Milllward Marathon was at his mercy when he led from the boxes and strode out well to take a healthy first lap lead but the race quickly changed as he was passed by firstly the eventual winner Goldies Hotspur and in the end Rascal was only fourth. For me this wasn’t his true running and he definitely eased slightly around the 4th and 5th bends. though take nothing away from the first and second who ran very well, so I wasn’t surprised to see him looking sore later on and the next day. We will know in a few days if he needs to be off any length of time but I would certainly hold any bets on him for next month's Ladbrokes Golden Jacket until he’s given a clean bill of health. We did have two nice winners on the night over 575m in Saleen Ash (35.57) and Roswell Romanov (35.41) scored his 34th career victory from 60 races. In the Friday Night 500 Standard Final both Kilcree Diamond and Cotton Pants got no sort of run when down the field and Ribble Atom ran respectably in a rare 925m.
How a year can change in the sport! this same meeting at Romford in 2017 featuring the Coronation Cup and Mitch Millward Marathon kicked off the year when covered by Sky with a decent crowd and vibrant on course betting market. Last week’s renewal in front of empty stands and not even on RPGTV let alone Sky was a stark reminder that things can easily go wrong. On a positive side Corals should be commended for managing to keep these events with the same level of prize money and there is the added bonus that ‘away’ trainers receive a £15 bonus per runner for travelling to Romford, something I’ve fought hard for over the years.
On Sunday at Henlow Bombers Bullet ran very well in the Maiden Derby worth a nice £2,500. The favourite High Octane in trap 6 missed the break and Bombers Bullet going into the first bend looked in a perfect position to take advantage but he just couldn’t clear the inside runners which saw the eventual winner Bull Run Bolt sweep into the lead. By the time Bombers Bullet extracted himself from the pack the race was over but he lost nothing in defeat going down 3 lengths in 27.84 (-40). After a couple of narrow defeats in recent weeks for Shlowdown Sally
over track and trip normal service was resumed as she strode out for a facile win in a good 16.69.
The big news this week was the announcement that Mildenhall has ceased its Greyhound operation. Little more than 10 minutes from our kennel it’s a track close to our heart as it was a place where both myself and Linda used on a regular basis when it first opened. In Linda’s early days Imperial Kennels flipped our graded strength between Mildenhall and Swaffham and always supported their open race events. I can remember there being regular crowds of nearly a thousand people attending with a betting market that would have put many bigger tracks to shame. We had such fun with the likes of Lonely Mixture, Roselex, Olympic Jim, Chancy Chick, Hymenstown Mac and many more and Linda famously won the first ever Sunday race that they staged at 1 minute past midnight after a long Saturday night with a bitch called If You Wish, the place was buzzing! One of my fondest memories would be one of the great track specialists my dad owned called Some Kick who would beat the travelling dogs from some of the top kennels in the country on a regular basis. Indeed believe it or not before I started working for Linda full time I held a kennelhand licence for a local trainer Don Andrews and in the very first official trial there back in the late eighties I put the first dog (Michaels Mixture I think) into the traps. After working for Linda for just over two years I had a break and held my own Permit Licence for a couple of years before going back to work at Linda’s full time after she got the contract at Romford. I had some lovely winners in that time as a Permit Trainer and was a big asset to my own success having had that experience and with the loss of such a brilliant grass roots track where will maybe another future Champion Trainer come from? Some 30 years later it’s sad to see the place go but with the lack of support and promotion it was inevitable. We were there this time last year supporting a charity meeting where I sponsored a race and we had two very nice open race winners and at the time I did say if they ever decided to do regular competitions say like Romford do then I would defintely support them but the truth was sponsors for these were thin on the ground. I did suggest that the well attended motor sports could support the Greyhound Racing in some way but it was not to be, a sad sad day indeed!
This Sunday coming we look forward to the annual gathering for the GBGB Awards bash this year at the smart Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge in London. I love reading on the forums that this is a big back slapping bonanza for all the fat cats in our industry, yeah right! They couldn’t be more wrong and while it is true, as always, we do have a lot of problems to overcome in our industry 95% of the partygoers in attendance are true ‘doggy’ people who are there for one simple reason and that’s to celebrate what our canine stars on the track have achieved and reward the people who have excelled in their fields. Without this celebration what is the point of having all these high class events through the year and it should give aspirations for all those who would like to achieve the best standards possible, I think it’s a wonderful night and simply can’t wait.
I have covered everything for the week above.
There is no doubt this new schedule is hard but when we have mornings like Saturday it certainly seems all worthwhile. Firstly on Friday night we had three nice winners as Plan Ahead showed great early pace to take an A3 in 28.23, Saffrons Bonnie produced a career best performance winning an S1 by 6 lengths in a very useful 41.43 and Ninja Fortune at last got off the mark winning well in another A3 in 28.28.
An astonishing morning where we sent out 6 winners from 9 runners (the three losers were all in the same races as the winners so really a 6 out of 6). Energize Honey ‘took off’ winning an A6 in 28.76, Saltimbanco, frustrating for most of last year with a succession of small injuries, smashed out in D2 company and held on by a neck in 15.60. Jazz Jake certainly knows where the winning line is and took an A4 in 28.83 and Calco Swift a much underrated bitch came good taking an A4 in a decent 28.46. Zammos Bullet, sold before the race, signed off with a top grade sprint victory by 2 1/2 lengths in a very good 15.32 and to cap a superb morning the versatile Ninja Storm took an S3 in a fine 42.02. I hope someone out there had all these in a multi bet!!!!!
On Saturday night from our 7 runners most ran really well but it was left to Boylesports Duke to keep our winning streak going with a last gasp victory over the very useful Bit View Knight in a hot A2 in 28.43. Just a few runners on Sunday night's RPGTV card and Union Pride scored a thrilling last To first victory in an S2 in 42.22.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - SHLOWDOWN SALLY
GRADED - SAFFRONS BONNIE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A quiet week as we get ready for our annual awards bash on Sunday so just open racing at Romford this week and then next week we will be busy as we prepare for both the Springbok and the Golden Jacket.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We were in my opinion very unlucky with Rubys Rascal as said above but hopefully we will be getting that back and more in the coming weeks We will wait until next week before recommending anything.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
RUBYS RASCAL - 5 pts win - Mitch Millward Marathon Final - Romford - Friday - lost