6th October 2020
Despite the world pandemic and loads of logistic problems it causes, the Irish raiders came over and took the majority of the honours in this year's delayed Greyhound Derby first round. The most impressive winners certainly seemed to come from across the water. I would love to be headlining our own runners but in truth it was a shade disappointing with only two of our five entries qualifying for the second round.
After a brilliant weekend previously it was back down to earth as we struggled to find a winner this weekend. The weather from about Wednesday was awful and I think it virtually rained 24/7 for 5 days solid over Lakenheath which makes it difficult to prepare runners and the dogs simply hate it, no excuses though it simply just didn’t happen. On Friday Antigua Romeo was our first runner in heat 5 and he didn’t quite break as well as he could and found himself in 4th down the back straight, he tried hard to pinch that vital 3rd place but failed to get up by half a length in a race won by Gonzo in a good 29.86.
In heat 6 both our two Antigua Boy and Sober Express drifted out in the betting alarmingly but both ran very well in a scrappy heat. Indeed Antigua Boy looked like he was going to win as he challenged early leader Distant Star but he just couldn’t find a path past as they rounded the last two bends, meanwhile in behind Sober Express was beginning to get into top gear and absolutely flying at the finish he split both the winner Distant Star and Antigua Boy to be beaten by a length in 30.15 but more importantly both qualified for the next round.
On Saturday it was quite possibly the worst weather I’ve seen in a Derby round, obviously we are at risk with the elements being in October and conditions with heavy rain all day and night were terrible but credit where credit is due the groundsman worked wonders to keep the racing going and there didn’t seem any bias on the track. Sadly for us both of our entries bit the dust as Hopes Bullet was unlucky after looking good coming out the traps. Trap 1, the aptly named Notouttheway, moved to the middle just catching the back end of Hopes Bullet turning him sideways and in the wet conditions it was hard to come from behind and his Derby dream was over.
We had big expectations from Amanda and Nic Jeal’s Hopes Doggy after some good workouts over the distance but he’s only a small fella and conditions just didn’t seem to suit and in a tough heat he never really got competitive and finished down the field. I’m sure in time and maybe even next year's Derby he will be much more forward.
So just the two runners for us in the second round this Saturday and Antigua Boy has three Irish raiders to take on in heat 5 but has a lovely draw in trap 1 and if he can come forward a touch has a realistic chance of qualifying. In heat 7 Sober Express has a small matter of trying to beat the impressive Glengar Bale and probably Britain’s best hope Bockos Doomie and again goes from trap 4, it won’t be easy but don’t rule him out!
There’s plenty happening away from the Derby as tonight the Maiden Derby semi finals continue at Henlow after the meeting on Sunday was called off due to a waterlogged track, both Antigua Jet and Hardy Rebel contest the first semi.
Over at Crayford the two Category 1 competitions kicked off and in the Kent St Leger I thought Avastorm looks somewhere near her best when she chased Salacres Pippy home to be beaten just over 2 lengths in a fast 45.28. In the next heat sadly there was drama as Patrick Janssens' Golden Jacket winner Skilful Sandie broke down when taking a clear lead and we wish the connections well after the heartbreak. Glassmoss Sis, who was running well and looking a likely qualifier, took advantage to come through and score at a massive 20/1 though we weren’t celebrating after what happened to Skilful Sandie. Sadly also in the same race Passing Stranger went lame for us and will certainly be off a few weeks at least. In the Gold Collar heats we had mixed results with our entries. Aayamza Lexie couldn’t have started her career with us any better and flew out the traps to lead all the way in her heat scoring by over 5 lengths in a fine 33.74. We looked to have a good chance with Testing and Towstar Zelda but the former missed his break and found traffic problems and was eliminated though Towstar Zelda ran on to qualify. The semi finals take place this Saturday and hopefully we can progress at least one of ours to the finals in both comps.
It’s a busy time but there’s still not the amount of open races at tracks we would like and each week we are digging hard to get our open class dogs some races. Our favourite tracks like Monmore and Hove have no opens planned and of course Towcester were restricted to just one week of opens, if they had another meeting, say on a Saturday, with opens it certainly would solve a few issues. At least Henlow have added supporting opens with the Maiden Derby on a Sunday but once the final has been run they come to an end, it’s frustrating to say the least finding races for these.
We have some lovely pups up on our Energize Kennel's page with two fine litters by Kinloch Brae x Evanta Evita and Superior Product x Saffrons Bonnie who are a couple of months old now. Full details are up and we are getting plenty of interest, well worth a visit and the cost includes purchase, rearing and schooling and transport and free training fees right up until the time they get on the card, terrific value and a payment plan can be sorted.
The Greyhound Derby took centre stage at the weekend but we had plenty of other action Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Just the one winner at Romford on Friday as Aero Madrid took a 400m in 24.21. In the Friday Night 575m Stayers Final Tiffield Maximus was odds on to continue his fine form but a missed break cost him and he was shuffled back to last at the first bend. Our other runner Alien Sea challenged to the last bend but his run petered out and we came away empty handed. Tiffield Blueboy ran well in a 400m when second.
As well as our action at Nottingham, Romford and Crayford we also had Central Park on Sunday with Antigua Bruiser in the Brinkleys Poet at Stud Young Guns Final but he had no answers to the Romford Puppy Cup winner Tenpin who won well and eventually finished 3rd. Antigua Billy looked a bit lost as he attempted 6 bends for the first time while Coolavanny Messi is gradually getting his form back and led to the 4th bend in a good 480m open before running out of gas finishing a close up 5th.
HENLOW & TOWCESTER REVIEW
On Monday Far Froman Angel burst back to form with a good win in an A4 scoring by over 2 lengths in a fine 27.89 and Puckane Taylor just held on to win a good A3 in a very good 27.83.
On Tuesday night we had a couple of winners with Ice Cool Ellis taking an A8 in 28.33. Ripley Guru also followed up with a good win in another A8 in 28.50 while Shazzas Bullet completed a good night winning an S3 in 33.97.
On Sunday at Towcester we came away empty handed with Starshinebandit coming closest when second.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - AYAMZA LEXIE
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
An exciting week with plenty of action.
Tonight the delayed semi finals of the Maiden Derby are on at Henlow with the final and supporting opens on Sunday.
We will have a few runners at Romford on Friday but the main action will be the second round of the Greyhound Derby on Saturday night at Nottingham.
Also on Saturday the semi finals of the Kent St Leger and Gold Collar will provide excellent entertainment for armchair viewers on RPGTV to go along with the Derby.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Unfortunately two of our three Derby recommendations are out at the first round stage and only Antigua Boy flies the flag, let’s hope for a decent run to keep the interest going.
I feel like we missed the boat not putting any up in the Crayford competitions and I thought both Aayamza Lexie and Avastorm have reasonable chances overall. Lexie is way shorter ante post now than when they started but Avastorm has a great chance of qualifying for the final and around the 8/1 mark is worth an interest.
AVASTORM - 2 pts each way ante post 8/1 (1-2-3) - Gold Collar - Crayford - semi finals Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA ROMEO - 2.5 pts each way ante post 80/1 - Greyhound Derby - Nottingham- lost
HOPES DOGGY - 2.5 pts each way ante post 33/1 - Greyhound Derby - Nottingham - lost
ANTIGUA BOY - 1 pt each way ante post 125/1 - Greyhound Derby - Nottingham- 2nd round Saturday