(Opens to a third party website)
The dust has only just settled and we have moved on since Towcester’s sudden closure but the immediate feelings of disappointment have changed into ones of anger and frustration. My honest thoughts were well written by Jonathan Hobbs and are on the GBGB website
as well as featured in the Racing Post yesterday and are worth a read if anyone has a spare five minutes.
After a torrid few days it’s so good to have some more positive news and our two Coral Champion Stakes semi finalists on Friday at Romford ran superb to qualify for this Friday's £10,000 to the winner final. Saleen Ash
blasted out the traps en route (13.55 sec) to a scintillating 4 length win in a fine 35.07. Bombers Bullet made his 4th consecutive group 1 final when chasing home June Harvey's Clash and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths in 35.34. The other semi final also went to June Harvey when her ante post favourite won in 35.57. For the final we seemed to get the better of the draw with Saleen Ash getting that all important stripes in trap 6 while Bombers Bullet is the only rail seed in trap 1. For me it's a vintage final and Derby apart maybe one of the best finals this year and will take some winning but we have a great chance and will enjoy the night. On another note it's great to see work going on to transform the stadium and to say this would come as welcome relief to a sport that really needs some good news is an understatement.
We began our new venture at Henlow last week as we trialled dogs in and also had a few runners in intertracks which overall have gone well. It certainly helps with a bit of cash flow as obviously since not getting paid at Towcester for July/August is a welcome relief. The staff at Henlow are extremely helpful and the track looks in great condition though the laying of new sand has obviously made the going a touch on the heavy side. We had our first winner as such when Saleen Story obliged in an Intertrack race on Saturday at juicy odds of 12/1 and was quickly followed up by Airforce Cluxton at 4/1, strangely enough both these dogs had previously trialled or raced at Henlow nearly a year or so before. There was an excellent card with open races on Sunday including heats of the Category 2 Bedfordshire Sprint and we were successful with Cotton Pants who recorded the second best time when beating kennel mate Swift Dartmoor by 2 3/4 lengths in 16.69 (-30). All Slick Now looked set to win his heat but the hare broke down and now faces a re run this Thursday. We should have our first official graded dogs at the track this weekend or early next week.
Henlow certainly seems a track on the up with rumours of the Oaks moving to the Bedfordshire track and what a perfect story that would be. I remember some classic Oaks battles when it used to be held over Wimbledon's 460m trip and they had upward of 120 entries for a 72 bitch event. I'm hearing Henlow have a sponsor as well so let's hope Clive Feltham from the GRA does the right thing and agrees to move it there as Belle Vue seems to struggle to get a sponsor these days. Of course people will say I'm only saying that because it's closer but remember we have no problem going to Belle Vue as we have gloriously won it twice there with the fantastic Casheen Maureen and Domino Storm. Henlow is a bit more central and plenty of trainers from the North and South have no problem getting there, indeed why not really buck the trend and make it an open entry like the Derby and if they got more than 72 entries have a qualifying round as well, with Henlow running 5 times a week (maybe 6 soon) then they could easily slot it into a three or four week schedule.
Despite all the goings on at the moment I decided to stick with some pre arranged plans to go over to Ireland last week to visit Dublin and then go across to the west coast just a few miles outside Sligo to visit Gary Goulden at Energize Kennels. There he has many of our former stars such as Evanta Evita, Evanta Fantasy, Ribble Aon, Ribble Atom, Fairest Royal and Saffrons Anna. Even though it’s been a while since they had seen myself, Sarah and Emily they went mad and all look in tremendous condition. Evanta Evita had produced just one pup the week before from Droopys Scolari and was being a good mother, her previous litter of 10 out of Ballymac Vic are coming up to a year old and look fantastic as do the Adageo Bob x Fairest Royal pups of nearly the same age that Dick and Ann Barfoot own. There are two pups out of Saffrons Anna which are around 6 months old which are beasts, I really like the look of those and at last Evanta Fantasy is in season! I would like to thank Gary for his hospitality and I’m sure we will have plenty of success in the future. If anyone ever wants to get involved in future pups we do a lovely deal when a pup is three months old, for around £3,500 a pup will be reared, schooled, delivered and graded on at our kennel before there are any more fees to pay, their space at Imperial Kennels is guaranteed. Gary welcomes visitors and lives in a beautiful part of Ireland less than a mile from the coast, it’s an excellent way of enjoying everything good about Greyhound racing.
Last Monday Good Lad was desperately unlucky not to make the Puppy Classic Final at Nottingham after being badly baulked at the first bend when in a good position.
We didn’t have too much luck at Sheffield on Tuesday in the heats of the Three Steps To Victory but Cotton Pants won well in a supporting sprint in 16.04.
As said on Friday at Romford Saleen Ash and Bombers Bullet both made it through to the Coral Champion Stakes Final while in other races Brigadier Bullet qualified for the supporting Maiden Stayers Final when a close up second, Rough Star caused a small surprise to win his heat of the Standard final in fine style scoring by over 5 lengths in a very good 23.80 while it was excellent to see Aayamza Breeze return to form over 750m powering home to win in 47.57.
As well as the Bedfordshire Sprint at Henlow we had a few other supporting opens on Sunday. Glory Snake got off the mark winning a 460m Maiden in 28.67 (-80), Silva Hill also ran well to win a 460m Standard in 28.98 (-100) first time at Henlow but we also had defeats for the fancied Kilcree Diamond, Roswell Romanov and Garryglass Champ
Our first intertrack runners on Thursday but from our 6six runners just Swift Lisetta was 3rd but as expected some struggled with their first look at the track. On Saturday we had a much better day with Sidarian Dino just touched off but Saleen Story
got our first official graded winner as a Henlow trainer when he won in 28.80 (-30), Airforce Cluxton followed up winning a sprint in 17.26 (-20). Interestingly Sidarian Dino, Saleen Story and Airforce Cluxton had all raced or trialled at Henlow previously though it was quite a while back.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - SALEEN ASH
GRADED - SALEEN STORY
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
At Nottingham last night Brinkleys Rosie qualified from her heat of the Lowther Stakes when second.
Our next action will be Friday as we go into battle in a super tough Champion Stakes Final at Romford with both Saleen Ash and Bombers Bullet, we also have both Brigadier Bullet and Rough Star in supporting finals.
On Sunday the Bedfordshire Sprint continues at Henlow and we should have some more in supporting opens.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We certainly have live chances of landing the money at Romford this week in the Coral Champion Stakes Final, Saleen Ash ante post @ 12/1 is as short as 5/2 to land the big race while Bombers Bullet is now roughly the same price as when the competition started. Brigadier Bullet is in a supporting final and could be a spot of value to turn last week’s form around.
BRIGADIER BULLET - 3 pts win - Romford - Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BOMBERS BULLET - 2.5 pts ew ante post 7/2 - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford - final Friday
SALEEN ASH - 1.5 pts ew ante post 12/1 - Coral Champion Stakes- Romford - final Friday