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Well it had to come to an end sometime! after a run of seven consecutive victories in the Peter Bussey Memorial our defending champion Saleen Ash tried his hardest to make it a magical eight but came up short as Droopys Noodle won well. Despite the competition only being a minor Category 2 event, though a lovely sponsored one, it had got some decent exposure after our winning record, we will be back next year to try and win it again I'm sure.
On a lovely sunny morning at Crayford it was a cracking card and a massive crowd gave it a great atmosphere. The feature event the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket final was a thriller as Heather Dimmock's Stardom just touched off Irish raider Towcester Story (see next paragraph) for Brendan Matthews. On the supporting card as well as Saleen Ash we had a few runners with Parkers Dynamite a touch unlucky when runner up in the hurdles race. Aayamza Breeze made sure we didn't go home empty handed as she took the stamina sapping 1048m race by a wide margin at long odds on, overall the meeting was a great advert for the sport.
Towcester Story runner up in the jacket and a winner on the Night of the Stars card is a fantastic stayer but races and competitions are few and far between across the water and Brendan Matthews and his son Damian (a good friend to our kennel) has agreed to sell this lovely dog to us and I'm grateful to Nic and Amanda Jeal who have stepped up to purchase him. Nic and Amanda have some smashing and talented dogs both here and in Ireland and hopefully Towcester Story will give them plenty of fun in all the major staying races, he's still only an October 16 and only had 16 races in his career so plenty young enough to improve.
Given the fact we are a touch short on real quality open racers with both the fallout of the Towcester debacle and the many unfortunate injuries we suffered last year playing a huge part! I'm pleased that we are sitting second in the early table for the Trainer of the Year standings with Heather Dimmock making a strong move, a close up third after the Golden Jacket victory. My good friend Patrick Janssens is flying at the top with an eight point lead and the strong kennels of the likes of Kevin Hutton, Liz McNair, Seamus Cahill, Angela Harrison andPaul Young just beginning to click into gear. Derek Knight, Phil Simmonds, Kevin Boon and Dave Mullins will push all of us as they chase open race winners all over the country while we can expect bold showings from Chris Akers, Diane Henry and Hayley Keightley with their quality kennel strengths. For us to win an eleventh title we will need dogs like Towcester Story to do well in the Category 1 competitions and he will complement the likes of Brigadier Bullet in the stayer events. We have many new pups coming through the ranks at Henlow, our primary source of income to survive, but it's the open racing and competitions that give you the job satisfaction! One day we will be beaten in the Trainers title but we are trying as hard as we can with the dogs we have available to retain our title. My Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club
has bought a lovely older dog in Cuil King (28.31 Shelbourne) and we are hoping to build up a lovely team for the club as we have some nice ones racing at Henlow and some interesting pups on the ground. I've said many times for affordable ownership our Racing Club is great value and new members automatically are involved in everything we have running.
The weather seems crazy at the moment with temperatures reaching a scorching 18 degrees for the last few days. In all my life I've never seen this in February and this time last year we were wrapped up as we were in the grip of a shocking winter with temperatures dipping to 10 below plus on many days for February/March and a bit of April. Now it's good news that the weather is so mild, as we can get as much racing in as possible, but I've been told the last time the weather was like this in February was in 1976 when we had the longest and hottest summer on record. After last year's long dry spell from late April until September we had huge problems at most of the tracks with a massive spike in injuries. We really suffered more than any trainer as we had all the bad luck going with dogs breaking down and to prevent this happening again I will want to see some action taken by the GBGB, promoters and their track staff. I will not run any Greyhounds if I feel the tracks are not up to scratch and I really don't care what implications this might have. We need to have in place an up to the minute report everyday, from every track on any injuries reported so all trainers are aware of any problems instead of getting news by hearsay! Last year I had a dog break his hock in a pre race trial and then was told by other kennel staff after the trial that there were over six injuries of a similar nature the previous two meetings at this particular track. Had I known this I would have likely not trialled the dog. The GBGB employed the services of a specialist firm to find solutions to the problems the hot weather brings to racing surfaces, I hope lessons are learnt! My other advice would be that before each meeting the groundsman, a senior racing official, the vet in attendance plus two senior trainers walk around the track to inspect it before any dogs race or trial in an effort to make sure we have safe surfaces to run on. Julie Collier's Racing Post column yesterday on having the bends covered by staff at every meeting was interesting reading. I certainly didn't know there was insurance issues on health and safety if track/kennel staff covered bends, what a load of bollocks! this needs looking at. The rare instances where a dog is injured and is stricken on the track it's in everybody's interest to stop the dog from further injury by getting there as quick as possible to attend to the unfortunate dog and if there are adequate people on the bends this would be a major help. Still I don't expect this to change much as somehow it doesn't seem to suit promoters to fund extra staff to be able to get it covered, we will see and well done to Julie for an excellent article, she is unfairly criticised on occasions for some things she says but is a huge asset to our sport with the welfare of our Greyhounds at the centre of her heart.
Talking about welfare I hope everybody likes our new Retirement
page on our website which is dedicated to ex racers that have graced our kennel in the past. We have a mountain of photos to show off the homes where many of our former stars have gone to when their careers have finished, it's so nice seeing these and if there are any owners out there who have pictures of our retired racers feel free to send them to us and we will add them to the gallery. We also have some lovely retired ones currently still in our kennel awaiting rehoming and are available but obviously they can't just be rehomed without going through the proper rehoming channels.
It's a busy week on the open race front with several important competitions getting under way. At Romford on Friday a top class field is expected for the Coral Golden Sprint heats. All Slick Now, a good winner last week, heads a small team we have. On Saturday the prestigious Ladbrokes Puppy Derby kicks off and I was pleased with both our intended entries performances in trial stakes last Saturday. Droopys Cruiser and Flip The Tyre hopefully will both get into the event. On Sunday some welcome competitions start at our home track Henlow. The Maiden Gold Cup over 550m should have some decent potential top stayers entered while the Marathon competition, kindly sponsored by the Greyhound Star, can hopefully attract the required 18 entries. Savana Winner, Goldies Hotspur and our back to form Aayamza Breeze could make for a great competition and I expect the track record to get shaken on more than one occasion! With no runners in the Brighton Winter Derby it's essential we put up a good showing in these events or we will lose valuable ground on our rivals for the Trainer of the Year title, the pressure is on but I love it!
A good night on Tuesday at Sheffield with a nice treble. Silva Hill's first look at the track won a sprint well by 3 lengths in 16.12, our nice young stayer No Can Boogie showed the promise of the week before's race when landing a 660m in a good 39.20 and Glory Snake took a hot heat of the Stadium Standard by 3/4 length in 29.21.
At Romford on Friday we just had four runners. Running Senor was 3rd over 400m while All Slick Now
bounced back to form with an excellent 2 1/2 length success in 24.03. In the Maiden Stayers Final Avastorm ran well at a big price when 3rd and in a 750m Maiden Acting School was an unlucky second.
At Monmore on Saturday Droopys Cruiser ran an excellent race when second in a Puppy Derby Trial Stake while I was also pleased with Flip The Tyre who ran on well to only be beaten under 3 lengths. In supporting opens Brigadier Bullet had no easy task in a decent 630m race but handled the track well and led at the 6th bend to score by 3 lengths in 37.84. Kilcree Diamond ran well when 4th in a hot 480m.
On Tuesday night in form Roswell Martian ran well taking an A4 in 27.92 while Sidarian Dino was an unlucky second.
On Thursday Busters Bullet was second on his return with our young Far Froman Angel winning at the second time of asking in 28.53.
No luck on Friday but on Sunday we had wins for Deans Hail Mary in 28.19 and in a good S2 Razldazl Valerie won well by 6 lengths in 33.72. Energize Bobadee took an A8 well in 28.38.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ALL SLICK NOW
GRADED - ENERGIZE BOBADEE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A busy week starting with Sheffield tonight and Glory Snake in the Stadium Standard Final.
The Coral Golden Sprint kicks off on Friday at Romford while the Ladbrokes Monmore Puppy Derby starts on Saturday and we will also be back at Sheffield on Saturday
We will be looking forward to some open racing at Henlow on Sunday with the Maiden Gold Cup and Greyhound Star Marathon events starting.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Saleen Ash gave his all in the defence of his Peter Bussey Memorial Final but it wasn’t to be. We have plenty of events starting this week. My selection for the Golden Sprint All Slick Now will need some luck but he was last year beating some good Romford type dogs and his back to form win lastweekr might see him be worth a small stake at a decent price.
At Monmore I was more than pleased with Droopys Cruiser's performance and if he progresses he could have a lively chance of outright honours. In the Maiden Stayers Gold Cup we are hoping to have a strong entry in the shape of Glory Snake who looks ideal for track and trip and in the marathon Aayamza Breeze has still got plenty to offer.
ALL SLICK NOW - 1pt each way ante post - Coral Golden Sprint - Romford - starts Friday
DROOPYS CRUISER - 2 pts ew ante post - Ladbrokes Puppy Derby - Monmore - starts Saturday
GLORY SNAKE - 2.5 pts each way ante post - Maiden Gold Cup - Henlow - starts Sunday
AAYAMZA BREEZE - 2 pts each way ante post - Greyhound Star Marathon - Henlow - starts Sunday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
SALEEN ASH - 2 pts each way ante post 12/1 - Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy - Crayford - Saturday - lost