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Bruisers Bullet and Bombers Bullet gave their all in the Star Sports Greyhound Derby Final at a packed Towcester on Saturday night but had to settle for 4th and 5th respectively as Dorotas Wildcat gave fellow Towcester trainer Kevin Hutton a deserving first Derby winner. On the night we were beaten by the better dog and though a touch deflated and disappointed that we never landed a third glorious victory, overall I was delighted with our Derby campaign and when we recover from the excitement and sometimes stressful last few weeks we will look back and be proud of our achievement of steering two runners into the showpiece event of the calendar year.
On a brilliant supporting card we had our ups and downs but we have to be happy we had three winners on the night as every race is like being in a major final and gives connections a huge thrill every time you make that podium. Everything about Towcester is on a completely different level to what we had on offer at Wimbledon in its last few dying years and without doubt the Greyhound Derby has a rightful home at the Northamptonshire track. Well over 5,000 people enjoyed a beautiful sunny night where the racing was not only exceptional but safe and it looks like there were no serious injuries, this surely can only take the sport forward at a crucial time in its history. Many people stayed to watch the entertainment after the racing with the star attraction Vernon Kay and I'm hearing stories of some very late nights with the atmosphere being sensational. The whole evening was one of class, passion and superb racing from a track that has really saved the sport over the last three years! Sadly a few in the minority hate to hear all this as it doesn't suit them to say wow! this Towcester is good! well tough Towcester is by a country mile the best home for a Derby festival that befits our great sport!
Our night started in great fashion as ASHAKIRAN blasted to a scintillating 4.01 split to lead in the Star Sports Derby Intertrack and this improving bitch never gave her rivals a look in as she won by over 3 lengths in a fine 28.11.
In the Star Sports Derby Bitches Stakes I made no secret that I fancied NINJA PENNY
when guesting on RPGTV on Thursday and she didn't let us down when battling to a 3/4 length victory in 29.42 at tasty odds of 14/1. For a minute I thought this was going to be one of those really special ones where everything went right but as we approached the Derby final Black Farren was only 3rd in the Star Sports Derby Plate Final, in form Rubys Rascal made a mess of the start in the high class Stayers division A and could never get a blow in when finishing down the field while Saleen Ash was run off his feet in the A race Star Sports Invitational. In the Star Sports Dorando Marathon defending champion Aayamza Breeze couldn’t make it a fairytale comeback as she got too far behind after a slow start and crowding at the first bend, she made a bold move down the back straight for the last time but again was stopped in her tracks at the last bend before finishing 3rd.
Now it was time for the Star Sports Greyhound Derby Final and myself, Sarah and Emily went and found a good spot in the stands with Kat, Justine, Kevin, Roy, Ronnie and a few others. The nerves were now really kicking in, Daniel was parading Bomber and Kiera was parading Bruiser, the atmosphere in the stands was electric and many people wished us luck, it was a very proud moment indeed. As the hare was set in motion the Derby roar was in full volume and I said a little prayer (why I don’t know as I’m hardly a religious person!) not only to make sure the two came off sound but hopefully they would flash out in front. As the traps opened it looked as though Bruisers had broken smartly but after 3 or 4 strides it was the white jacket of Dorotas Wildcat that surged to the front, for me that was race over as Wildcat being in front meant nothing else would win. The next 29 odd seconds flew by and Bruisers and Bombers ran their hearts out but just couldn’t get a blow in to the leaders on a track which really suited the front runners. Bruiser kicked into gear off the last bend to no avail and in the end despite being 4th was only beaten around 3 lengths with the favourite Droopys Verve in second and Wildcat’s litter brother running a stormer for Charlie Lister just in front of us in third and Bombers Bullet was a further length or so away in 5th,. There were huge celebrations as expected for the winner Dorotas Wildcat and I made sure I congratulated Kevin Hutton for his fantastic achievement. Yes we were a little deflated and disappointed that we never won but overall our two stars did us proud.
We still had a few races to go and though it was hard to really get the energy levels back up it was still a great occasion. In the Star Sports Derby Seniors race Boylesports Duke was runner up to an impressive Shaneboy Freddie while in the Star Sports Invitation Div B a well backed Ninja Fortune slightly missed his break but ran solidly to be only beaten a couple of lengths in 3rd. We were now down to the last race on the fantastic card and GARRYGLASS CHAMP
ensured we went home with a smile as he ran a superb race. Turning behind the Newcastle raider Gazily Shay he wore down his opponent and literally got there with a stride or two left to win in 41.44 and give his owner Terry Coveney a second winner on the night.
Thankfully all the dogs came off safe and sound and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the whole occasion. The Derby Lunch on Wednesday was brilliant, an appearance on RPGTV on Thursday got the juices flowing and a busy Friday meant it came round really quick. The messages of support were heart warming and our staff simply superb in everything they did in helping me prepare for the big night. Our seats and food in the Westmead Hawk Pavilion were excellent. If the sport could get a grip and replicate this model we would never be in the position we are but that’s another story.
We have dusted ourselves down and now it’s time to move on. Bruisers Bullet and Bombers Bullet will have a well deserved rest this week but I won’t be leaving them off too long as they are older now and I will want to keep those fitness levels up. Bruisers will, if accepted, go for the Select Stakes at Nottingham at the beginning of July while Bombers will be stepped back up in trip. This Sunday we have the Henlow Mini Derby and we will aim a few of our early paced dogs like Kilcree Diamond, Brinkleys Rosie, Towstar Billy and Rough Star and next Tuesday we have the Category 1 Ladbrokes Gold Collar where Saleen Ash, victorious in the Peter Bussey Memorial over track and trip earlier in the year, could well start favourite, also Black Farren will be a star attraction if he handles the track when he trials this Friday along with Rubys Razzle and Goldsmith Slick.
We will have the details up on our 5 To Follow competition in the next week or so as many people have been asking. We have many changes happening the next couple of weeks with quite a few new dogs coming in and few being retired etc so trying to get the right ones up for people to select is why we are running a touch later than normal with this comp but there will be plenty of opportunities to get your teams in before the competition closes.
On Derby week it was difficult to concentrate on our other action but in a trip to Monmore on Thursday we had a nice winner in the shape of Rough Star who clocked an excellent 28.25 over 480m.
On Friday at Romford Tangled Upinblue looked a natural stepping up in trip for the first time taking a heat of the Maiden Stayers by a wide margin in a very good 35.44. For once we had to play second fiddle in a 575m final as Shotgun Bullet got first run on Roswell Romanov in the Rose Bowl final with Baroness Bullet and Garryglass Teddy both running well in behind.
With the Derby on we only had runners on Friday and Sunday and on Friday we got the weekend off to a great start as Towstar Billy took the excellently sponsored Gain Nutritional Sweepstake Sprint Final showing superb early pace to lead at the first bend and win in a good 15.39 and take the superb £1200 first prize. There was a debut win for Culchieland who beat a running on Koroleva Queen in a P3 in 29.01. We also had another 1-2 in the S1 as Kiltrea Mike beat an unlucky Union Pride by 2 3/4 lengths in 41.97.
On Sunday night another good haul as puppy Aayamzaelseve flew round to beat Ribble Ghost by over 4 lengths in a very good 28.41. Swift Windmill got her act together to win a good A5 just over a length in 28.32 and to finish the night Honest Robber completed another 1-2 when beating Tiffield Lad by 1 1/2 lengths in 28.52 in an A3.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - GARRYGLASS CHAMP
GRADED - AAYAMZA ELSEVE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Plenty of trials at various tracks this week including Henlow, Crayford and Yarmouth while our main open race action will be at Romford on Friday with All Slick Now and Tangled Upinblue in respective finals. Also we will be at Henlow for the Mini Derby on Sunday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Of course plenty been said already but with Bombers Bullet and Bruisers Bullet both making the Star Sports Greyhound Derby Final we showed a healthy profit overall and our Nap on the night Ashakiran also duly obliged albeit at short odds. If there are ante post prices for the Henlow Mini Derby this Sunday I will put up Towstar Billy as a lively outsider to go well.
TOWSTAR BILLY - 2 pts ew ante post - Henlow Mini Derby - Sunday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ASHAKIRAN - 5 pts win - Towcester - Saturday - WON 4-6
BRUISERS BULLET - 2.5 pts ew ante post 20/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - 4th (10 pt profit)
BOMBERS BULLET - 1.5 pts ew ante post 80/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - 5th (28.5 pt profit)