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An excellent night's racing at Towcester on Saturday where I'm positive some of next year's stars were on show in the heats of the ECC Timber Puppy Derby. Some established youngsters like Headford Kev, Sporting Dave, Wuheida, Russanda Ripley, Prize Fighter and Forest Mike won very well while the likes of Affleck Bolt and Magical Bale properly announced themselves on the big stage and I'm only mentioning the winners. For ourselves Brinkleys Ranger was unlucky when eliminated in the first heat, he does look a nice stayer, Brinkleys Twirl is one of the youngest in the event being only an April 2016 and she ran very well when second to the impressive Headford Kev, both Honest Robber and Kilcree Diamond (on debut) ran really well to qualify behind the very useful Prize Fighter with Honest Robber finishing like a train to go down by just 3/4 length. New intake Brinkleys Rebel was rushed for this event and never got near to the front and was well beaten and was probably unlucky he had to run in the fastest heat of the night when Sporting Dave spreadeagled his field, Rebel is one for the future.
While at Towcester I was hearing news that some hot pots were getting knocked out of the William Hill St Leger second round at Perry Barr. Murrys Act, Swift Hansel, Russelena Reggie and Jaytee Patriot were all high profile casualties so I waited with baited breath to here the result of the last heat and it was a real relief to get the news that Rubys Rascal
had won and now is one step away from making his second St Leger final. His form has been a touch up and down this year but there's no doubting his quality and the dream of winning a 5th St Leger crown is very much on. It would certainly help in our pursuit of winning a record 9th Trainer of the Year crown and he could follow in the footsteps of Kinda Easy, Blonde Reagan, Aero Majestic and of course the superb and thrilling Ferryforth Fran in 2016 - a bargain buy from our website 'For Sale'
page, talking of which there is a nice staying type called Shaman King up for sale at a reasonable price, I'm not saying he's next year's St Leger winner but he could give someone a lot of fun and could be at least top grade at Towcester.
Of course we have to mention Bruisers Bullet and it was a brave decision to send him back to Nottingham last night after a real poor trial two weeks ago. Last Tuesday he clocked a very decent 27.86 at Towcester suggesting all is well and last night he clocked a brilliant 29.41 for the 500m which myself and connections were delighted with. The Betfred Eclipse starts next Monday and it will be Bruisers first race since that blistering run on Derby final night, fingers crossed he is nice and sound today. Roswell Romanov looked in good form beating Pennys Ryan by in 29.73 while youngster Ninja Fortune clocked a respectable 29.98. The Eclipse will be one of the hottest competitions of the year but again it's one we have been lucky enough to win three times with Mumble Swerve, the brilliant Eye Onthe Storm and more recently Bridge Honcho.
There was a great piece in yesterday's Racing Post by Jonathan Kay on the current media rights battle between TRP and SIS. JK explains the situation very clearly, he has obviously only added a couple of his own thoughts but I know JK well and I'd love to read his proper critical version of the whole ridiculous position our sport is in and what kind of welfare problems the amount of racing proposed is going to put on our beloved Greyhounds. The betting industry and promoters need to have a long hard look at themselves and decide there is a need to sit down with all stakeholders and use the word 'crisis'! this in my opinion is the only way forward, we already are struggling to justify our sport to the growing band of antis and there is only one outcome if Greyhounds are asked to race more than they should. As for trainers who will be put under enormous pressure to keep their numbers up by promoters it only has one outcome and it's not a good one!
If there is someone out there who's not afraid to speak his mind then read Paul Ephremsen's current Owners' Blog on the GBGB website. Here's a man who is already being criticised by a few idiots as being part of the so called 'Gravy Train', absolute poppycock! I know Paul very well and there is no one more passionate about our sport than him and he pulls no punches in his assessment of the GBGB after just a few months in his 'unpaid' role as owners rep. I won't lie, he has told me that our man in charge of the GBGB Mark Bird is the right person for the job and agrees with nearly everything Paul says but has a slightly different way of trying to effect change. Paul calls for a better structure in the GBGB with the emphasis on the commercial side without which the GBGB are just regulators and nothing else, if that's all they are content with then they themselves should hang their heads in shame, again the key word is 'crisis' because that's where our industry is at the moment!
A fairly quiet week in quantity but plenty of quality. On Friday at Romford the improving Droopys Dresden ran a blinder to just get up and take the Friday Night 500 Maiden Stayers final, his winning time of 35.76 will be improved upon in the coming weeks. Cotton Pants ran very well after a break finishing second in a hot 400m.
As said above the ECC Timber Puppy Derby saw us have three qualifiers while Rubys Rascal won his heat of the William Hill St Leger in 43.14.
On Tuesday Bombers Bullet got off the mark with a 3 lENgth win in an A5 in a good 28.43, Saleen Story also scored a debut win in an A4 beating kennelmate Swift Windmill by 2 1/2 lengths in 28.47. Razldazl Valiant also scored for the first time coming from off the pace in a good A2 to win in 28.61 and Jazz Jake
ran his best race to date winning an A6 in 28.63 to complete an excellent night for the kennel.
On Saturday morning Ribble Ghost won easily but unfortunately the race was voided in the 'interests of safety' I wasn't happy as the result wasn't affected when the hare was stopped. Tiffield Lad does have a good knack of winning and took an A5 in 28.84 while Calco Swift is another who knows how to win and scored in a decent 28.67 in an A6.
At night the heats of the ECC Timber Puppy Derby took centre stage and later on we had a good win in top grade from Fire Height Josh who beat kennelmate Kiltrea Mike in 41.66 and Tread Lightly showed proper bravery winning a good D1 in 15.46.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - RUBYS RASCAL
GRADED - JAZZ JAKE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Last night as well as trials at Nottingham we had three runners. Our open race action continues on Friday at Romford and then Saturday is a big night for Rubys Rascal at Perry Barr in the William Hill St Leger semi finals while the ECC Timber second round takes place at Towcester.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Brinkleys Ranger was a bit unlucky in the heats of the ECC Timber Puppy Derby. Honest Robber impressed me and looks like he could qualify again and though it's a very warm competition is worth a small interest at this stage. Of course we didn't put up Rubys Rascal in the St Leger and my outside fancy Fire Height Josh was eliminated but promptly came out and won on Saturday at Towcester!
HONEST ROBBER - 1 pt ew ante post - ECC Timber Puppy Derby - Towcester - continues Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRINKLEYS RANGER - 2 pts ew ante post 25/1 - ECC Timber Puppy Derby - Towcester - lost