31st January 2017
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A week to remember for the kennel where on the track John Clarke's Rubys Razzle lit up Hall Green with a stunning burst of middle pace to land The Prestige final while on Sunday a magnificent GBGB Awards night saw Domino Storm and Ferryforth Fran win two of the main categories as well as collecting our record breaking 8th Trainer of the Year award.
It's interesting that Sky Sports still supports our industry by showing regular shows featuring the majority of our big races throughout the year which is great for the many thousands of armchair viewers and punters who love greyhound racing but let's not forget they don't pay for any of the production costs as both Bags and the BGRF Fund pick up the tab for each show. This can cost around £40,000 per show and one of the only reasons we can get sponsors for theses big events is because it's on Sky, the majority of the races are sponsored by the different bookmaking firms which in itself is a situation that seems like it is on a knife edge and at any time it could come to a sudden end.
The annual GBGB Awards night relies heavily on the coverage from Sky to make it special for everyone and again, at the excellent new venue The Brewery, Darrell Williams and Jonathan Hobbs did an outstanding job compering the evening. The awards presentations were slick and the whole evening was a success. For our part it was brilliant to see Domino Storm win the 'Bitch of the Year' for the second year running, her victory in the Select Stakes was memorable and that played a huge part in her winning the award. The Stayers division was a joy for myself as we had all three nominations and though we all love Billys Bullet and his fantastic comeback to land the Regency, Ferryforth Fran's victory in the St Leger coupled with a win in the Summer Stayers just tipped the scales in Fran's favour. The delight in his owner Alan Morton's face was one of the reasons why our sport and these awards are so special. I have to say I was so nervous picking up my Trainer of the Year award for a record breaking 8th time and my interview on stage was tinged with those nerves, I truly am proud of being the sports champion and I'm hoping it doesn't stop at eight!
Myself and Sarah went down to London the night before and stayed at The Montcalm Hotel and had a lovely time Saturday night. On Sunday morning we went into Oxford and Bond Street for a bit of shopping and came back to the hotel in the afternoon to meet our guests and friends before the awards. As reported a big contingent of very noisy protesters were present and as much as I think the majority have not got a scooby do on anything to do with our sport we can't ignore this fact, we have to make sure our industry is whiter than white. To do this properly a huge injection of funds is needed and year on year this sentiment is echoed in the Chairman's annual speech yet still nothing seems to happen. I'm thankful that we have Towcester showing the rest of the sport the way forward and I'm sure they can make a difference but I still have to question the fact that many kennels and standards are not what they should be. If we had more funding we have enough good people within the industry to put a lot of these matters to right and then we can face these protesters with total unity and put our hand on our heart and tell them that they are wrong to verbally abuse everyone who comes to celebrate our greyhound year.
Overall I think there was not one award that didn't go the way it should and Droopys Buick was a worthy winner of the Greyhound of the Year, well done to Jimmy Wright and his team. The after dinner party was great fun and it was so good to see so many people enjoying themselves. Now for the groan, prices wow! why are drinks and everything in London hotels so expensive! I don't think I've seen so many people disappointed when the bar shut at 1.30 am then being told you can't get another drink either in another bar at the venue or no residents bar in the hotel. I've been to these do's many times and there are always people wanting to celebrate until the very early hours but not this time! this fact alone would mean another venue should be looked at next year.
This week the all important Ladbrokes Golden Jacket kicks off on Saturday at Crayford. Trying to follow up Patchys Kerry's stunning victory last year will be a hard act to follow but I think we have a strong team. Many will fancy Rubys Razzle who was simply awesome when winning the Prestige at Hall Green, all the money leading up to the final was on Irish raider Razldazl Allstar and most were expecting him to turn the tables on Rubys Razzle especially given the fact she had an awkward draw in trap 5 but most didn't realise this was a bitch on fire who could raise her game if needed. That she did despite a moderate break, once she saw a gap on the rails she showed determination to get into position behind the leader Ascomb Ruby and then boom she took off quickly going past the leader off the second bend and then down the back straight opening up like a proper champion. Razldazl Allstar came out of the pack but Rubys Razzle had gone beyond recall to win in an excellent 39.31 (-15). With two Sky meetings in 2017 we have now taken both big finals to give us a great start to the year.
As well as Rubys Razzle for the Golden Jacket we will have the ante post favourite in her brother Rubys Rascal, he will trial today over the full 714m and I'm sure he will improve for last week's spin over 540m. Also trialling will be our 2016 Stayer of the Year Ferryforth Fran, also Blastoff Bonnie, Stellas Vekayee and Roswell Red Kite,. Before that tonight's Sky meeting is at Central Park and four finals grace the card. Clondoty Alex goes in the Silver Salver over 450m while Airforce Duchess and Swift Bravo go in supporting finals.
Rubys Razzle was impressive in the Prestige final Wednesday and on the supporting card Ela Ela Genie grabbed his first Sky sprint of the year just getting up to win by a short head in 15.60. Over at Central Park Swift Bravo took his heat of the Maiden in 29.11. Garryglass Champ just missed out qualifying for the Cearns Memorial final when 3rd in his heat while both Airforce Duchess (Bitches 480m) and Clondoty Alex (Silver Salver) were second in their respective heats
At Romford on Friday a mixed night but there was good wins for Mashmad Eyebrows (23.89) and Ribble Aon beat kennelmate Roswell Roxanne by 1 1/4 lengths in 35.55. Calco Flyer and Swift Dartmoor were unlucky in the Friday Night Standard final with Dartmoor knocked over but ok.
Returning from seasons both Parkers Star (29.16) and Catunda Daisy (29.33) caused surprises when winning on Tuesday. Tiffield Lad now up to A4 ran very well to get up on the line to win in 28.81 and Cotton Pants made it a good night taking a D1 in 15.45.
A few close calls all day Saturday but Swift Cody was the only winner in a messy A7 in 29.41.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Central Park tonight features four finals and a few supporting races.
On Friday we will have a few runners at Romford.
On Saturday the much awaited Golden Jacket heats kick off a have a strong team to try and defend our trophy.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Ela ELa Genie got us some cash winning well in the sprint at Hall Green on Wednesday. For this week concentrating on the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket for a touch of value I think Stellas Vekayee can go well at around 25/1
STELLAS VEKAYEE- 2 pts e.w ante post 25/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ELA ELA GENIE - 2 pts win - Hall Green - Wednesday - WON 10/11