27th March 2017
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Another excellent week for the kennel especially at Romford on Friday where we had a six timer which is great news as we head into the GTA Trainers Championship meeting at Towcester tomorrow night. It was also a sad week for the sport as Wimbledon, the last remaining greyhound track in London, closed its gates for the last time. I think I've said enough over the last few months about the whole thing and basically nothing's changed and I still think the GRA should hang their heads in shame, and not just on this Wimbledon debacle, they have sold the sport down the river for decades. Anyway I wanted to be there for the last night as we have had some great memories over the last few years especially winning two Greyhound Derby's and four St Leger's and many more races on Sky etc. We took three runners and all three were second but ran really well especially our Golden Sprint winner Clondoty Alex who ran in the last ever open to be seen at Plough Lane, Alex was caught on the run in by the strong Droopys Acrobat. Hundreds of people were turned away as the place was rammed and though many true greyhound fans wanted to enjoy the old stadium for the last time it felt to me more like a wake than a celebration. I thanked all the staff that had looked after us so well over the years, the likes of of Racing Manager Gary with Owen, Dan and Bradley in the paddock are true stars of our game. RIP Wimbledon.
So on to the big night at Towcester tomorrow and I must say the Luncheon held at the Racecourse on Thursday was fantastic. We were all looked after brilliantly by Lord Hesketh and his team, they really do know how to do it properly. We have what I feel is a decent and competitive team and what looks the most wide opening Championship I can remember all trainers and connections will feel they can win the title. Here's a run down of my team and the races :-
Leg 1 - 500m Standard Div C
Typical of the night's racing and the overall championship where all six sets of connections in this opener will fancy their chances of landing this race. Glenkeel (trap 4) and Ballymac Lyster (6) are fast dogs when they get it right while Jimmy Wright's Slippery Amigo on the rails is strong and will punish any mistakes up front. ROSWELL ICEMAN comes in as a late replacement for the legend Calco Flyer (off colour) and is a Towcester specialist, he has one chance and one chance only and that is to get a lead and try and hold on as he will barely get this 500m especially coming off a rest and some moderate form of late, he can be special on his day so let's hope it's in this race.
Leg 2 - 270m Sprint
Well we know what these races are about and that's breaking out those traps. Again anything in this race can win this though I think John Mullin's My Mate Max is not a natural sprinter and might get caught out for a yard of toe to the bend, with everything moving across to the rails it doesn't mean he can't get amongst the points. ELA ELA GENIE has the draw to die for in trap 1 but this will only be of use if he comes out, if he does then nothing should pinch that rails of him. Am I confident? no not really but he has the talent to bring the bacon home, for us to win the overall championship it is essential that Genie scores heavily.
Leg 3 - 500m Puppy
If there's not some future stars and Category 1 winners in this race then I will give the game up. What a race to introduce KINGDOM LEGEND an unraced pup who has shone brightly in his qualifying trials and he looks something special, can he win here? Trap 2 Madabout Eoghan set the fastest ever time for 500m in a puppy event last week beating the talented Droopys Wildcat of Kevin Hutton's who himself has a great chance if he can clear Puppy Derby finalist Bridgehouse Boy in trap 4, don't rule out Droopys River (3) or Droopys Argento (6) who both look smart. Anywhere in the first three for us and I will be extremely happy.
Leg 4 - 655m Stayers
A cracking six bend event where I feel a win for us is crucial to our title bid. Step in RUBYS RASCAL who can bounce back from a shattering defeat at the hands of superstar Roxholme Magic in the big match race 10 days ago. Don't read too much into that as he can escape the poor trap 4 draw by cracking out. I expect Menphis Mafia to boss the rails from trap 1 and Rascal will need to be at his best to get past this rival but I'm confident he can before the 5th bend and go on and score well. Droopys Dart (5) is a fast dog for Paul Young and could be danger to all while Coconut Corker (2) is interesting stepping up in trip.
Leg 5 - 500m Standard Div B
Brinkleys Boy with a plot draw in trap 6 is sure to be all the rage here and would be essential to Seamus Cahill's chances of winning the championship though he faces some tidy rivals here. ADAGEO GOLD might not be one of our superstars but he's a good honest dog and really loves Towcester, he's strong and we have brought him into the team to score good points and that is something he can do from a lovely draw in trap 1.
Leg 6 - 500m Bitches Standard
A competitive affair as always and Lord Hesketh is delighted to have a runner in the shape of RIBBLE AON. Our Peter Bussey winner has a real chance here as her main rivals have questions to answer - Lowther Stakes winner Crossfield Molly (6) looks out of form but write her off at your peril while impressive Swindon scorer last week Empress Katie (5) for defending champion Kevin Hutton lacks course knowledge, she's still a big danger. The points scored here could set up a big finish for someone.
Leg 7 - 686m Super Stayers
A stunning six bend contest that would grace any Category 1 final. Shellam Delano (6) will carry Jimmy Wright's hopes of winning the title while Hurache Madison (1) looks plotted for a good run, Meadow (3) and Karlow Turbo (4) are capable of upsetting anything. Mustang Golden (2) is useful and we have the 2016 GBGB Stayer of the Year FERRYFORTH FRAN in trap 5. Our fella hasn't been at his imperious best of late but is a dog for the big occasion and can score decent points for the team.
Leg 8 - 500m Standard Div A
Even if the title is already won or there are all six trainers still involved this is a race worth the admission price alone as they say. Arguably the two top four bend dogs in training Bubbly Bluebird (1) and Droopys Buick (3) go head to head here. I really can't see anything to beat these two and we have picked RUBYS RAZZLE purely to try and pick off 3rd place, a tricky trap 4 draw is not ideal but if she gets a run she can do just that and who knows it might be just enough for us to win the Championship!
Well there we go a summary of all the races. I'm sure it will be a great occasion and hopefully every canine star comes off safe and sound. It really is anybody's for the the taking and the twists and turns from each race should set up a grand finale. If you can't get to the track then the action is live on Sky. It's about time we won this event again but will enjoy the night whatever our fate.
In other news it's been announced that two candidates will contest the position of owners' representative at the GBGB. All registered owners will vote for either Bob Boswell or Paul Ephremsen and good luck to both. I was more than surprised when my close friend Paul told me he had applied for the position but I was also delighted for various reasons. Paul has tremendous business knowledge and his passion for the sport is incredible, as he has stated it's not so much about the politics of the game but he would love to bring about change on the commerciality and marketing side of the sport which has been virtually non existent over the last few years. Don't think for one minute that one man can change an industry that is spiralling into severe decline but Paul can at least try and help to turn the tide with some intelligent and easily achievable ideas on a way to bring the sport forward. I wish Bob Boswell luck but will be backing Paul all the way and will pull as many owners as I can to vote for him.
Not a great night at Sheffield on Tuesday as three of our four entries crashed out of the Three Steps To Victory in the 480m heats with only Saffrons Tina qualifying for tomorrow night's semi finals when she was second in her heat. At Towcester Cotton Pants won a 270m well in a decent 15.33 while Ferryforth Fran was second over 655m, Calco Swift ran a blinder when beaten in the 500m Maiden final just 3/4 length in a fast 29.48.
On Wednesday at Swindon the long journey was a tough one where both our runners supporting the Arc final were well beaten but we bounced back with avengance on Friday at Romford with a magnificent six timer. In the first race we were beaten a short head with Sapa Express in a Maiden 400m but quickly followed up with a win for Garryglass Dash who showed good early pace to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 24.19, Muchas Gracias took a heat of the Maiden Stayers competition by 3/4 length in 35.80 and Brynoffa Jasmin won her heat of the Winner of One by 3 1/2 lengths in a fine 23.99. Calco Flyer is a legend that gets better taking a tough 400m by 10 lengths (trouble in behind) in a superb 23.78 and Roswell Romanov was at his best winning a 575m by nearly 8 lengths in a flying 34.73 just six spots off the clock. Ribble Atom also ran really well to win over 750m in a good 47.05 to complete a stunning night for the kennel.
Three runners and three seconds at Wimbledon's farewell meeting on Saturday while at Henlow on Sunday just the one winner from four runners with Swift Dante taking a good class 692m stayers in a fine 42.73.
Gully Foyle opened his account at the second time of asking winning an A8 in 29.19, Airforce Karla was just touched off in the Owners Bonus Series final.
On Saturday no joy in the morning while at night there was a great win for Jazz Jake in his first ever race taking an A8 in 29.22 and the son of former kennel star Jazz Tilly looks a pup to follow. Catunda Daisy was our other winner in an S3 in 40.57.
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A brilliant night's action at Towcester tomorrow as the GTA Trainers Championship meeting will provide all the thrills and spills to match any great greyhound Sky card this year. Kevin Ulla misses the action as he takes one for the team by going up to Sheffield as Saffrons Tina bids to qualify from the 500m stage in the Three Steps To Victory semi finals.
We will be hoping we have another top night at Romford on Friday with both Muchas Gracias and Brynoffa Jasmine running in minor finals and we will hope to get a few runners out at Henlow on Sunday.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - SWIFT DANTE
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Just the one bet put up last week at Romford and Garryglass Dash obliged at a lovely 9/2. Let's hope that form continues at Towcester tomorrow where the best policy for me would be to back us at 11/4 to win the GTA Trainers Championship meeting though it is very competitive to say the least.
MARK WALLIS - 5 pts win 11/4 - GTA Trainers Championship - Towcester - Tuesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
GARRYGLASS DASH - 3 pts win - Romford - Friday - WON 9/2