8th October 2019
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Antigua Fire lit up Crayford on Saturday with a scintillating display of pace and power to win his first major competition of 2019, the Jay & Kay Coach Tours Kent St Leger, which was richly deserved for himself and his proud owners Nic and Amanda Jeal. It was a magical night for the kennel as Brigadier Bullet ran his best race for quite a while to finish runner up land another 1-2 in a Category 1 final, which in turn lifted us to the top of the Trainer of the Year standings for the first time in 2019.
Trap 1 Sheldon was the gamble of the race and deposed Antigua Fire as favourite before the hare was set in motion. We are always proud of getting our runners spot on for the big finals and Antigua Fire exploded out the boxes, he was still outpaced to the bend by trap 6 Roxholme Dolly, as expected, but cleared the other runners comfortably to turn a handy second. The writing was on the wall for Roxholme Dolly and there was only a brief second of worry for Antigua Fire when Sheldon forced her way into contention but her chances were snuffed out quickly and our strong runner burst to the front off the 6th bend, the result was never in danger from then on and he powered to a 4 1/2 length success over kennelmate Brigadier Bullet who ran well to pass a few rivals to chase home Antigua Fire who clocked a very good 44.93.
Antigua Fire added this title to the Derby final night stayers title and his consistency could see him as a strong contender for Stayer of the Year and hopefully he’s not finished his winning streak yet as we try and end the last quarter of the season with a bang! I never mind running our dogs quickly when they are well and in form and both he and Brigadier Bullet are in our strong team heading towards Doncaster this Wednesday for the heats of the Yorkshire St Leger. We also have TV Trophy winner Bumblebee Bullet (trialled well over track and trip last Friday) and new stayer Antigua Rum, who will gain valuable experience in this company, also we have capable performers Avastorm, Busters Bullet and Tiffield Maximus and one very interesting runner in Champion Stakes Winner Aayamza Express who steps up in distance. Judging by her facile two successive victories at Romford since the Champion Stakes final I see no reason why she wouldn’t stay this tough 661m trip and she trialled well over four bends at Doncaster in between her open wins at Romford last month. The draws have worked out reasonably well for the heats and it could be, fingers crossed, a big competition for us and with the St Leger coming up at Perry Barr not too long after this event we have to feel confident about picking up a decent amount of points towards the Trainer of the Year standings. That has seen a remarkable comeback for us where 6 weeks ago we were some 240 points behind Patrick Janssens, who is himself having a fantastic year whatever happens, and he was desperately unlucky to not go back on top on Sunday when his star performer Bockos Doomie was unluckily collared on the line in the Kent Derby final by Seamus Cahill’s (who also is having his best year for a while) Forest Allan at Central Park.
Myself and Sid attended the funeral service for long time owner Dick Barfoot on Thursday and it was sad but a lovely send off for a man who had an incredible and full life. His whole family are lovely and they were proud of all his achievements which certainly took a fair while to list in the service! It goes without saying Adageo Bob's emotional victory in the 2015 Mitch Millward Essex Vase final victory at Romford was Dick and Ann Barfoot's highlight of their greyhound ownership and without doubt it's the race I’ve watched again the most, with the legendary commentary from Darryl Williams, alongside our two Derby victories in 2009 and 2012. RIP Dick.
Our open race weekend started at Romford on Friday and we enjoyed perhaps a couple of unexpected winners and another scorching performance from one of our superstars. Jesses Sister took a heat of the Maiden 400m and our daughter of former kennel star Evanta Evita showed great pace to lead and hold on to score in 24.54. Nothing But Love ran well when 3rd in the Maiden Stayers final and in a hot 400m standard Have A Brandy, stepping up in class, ran his best race to date winning well by 2 1/2 lengths in 24.01 at a juicy 10/1 (nibbles at 14’s). Aayamza Express looked to have a tough draw in a good 575m contest but she showed her class tracking the early leaders before unleashing a lovely turn of pace down the back straight to lead off the final turns and go away to score by over 4 lengths in 35.56.
As well as our brilliant 1-2 in the Kent St Leger final at Crayford on Saturday owners Nic and Amanda Jeal were delighted to see their Brinkleys Poet get back on the podium when stepping up in trip to 540m to take a maiden contest in a respectable 33.92. He should improve and certainly looked like he stayed the trip well which will open up a few avenues for him.
Our good run of form continued on Sunday at Henlow where there was just a few opens. Both Silva Hill (27.86) and Coolavanny Messi (27.85) won 460m races to gain some more valuable points for the team.
No luck on Tuesday morning but we finished with two nice winners in the evening as Muxton Teddy took an A5 in a good 28.10 while the improving Passing Stranger took an A4 in 27.92.
On Friday morning Run Free Snowy picked up his first win taking an A8 in a good 28.18 and on Saturday Glassmoss Queen won well in an A6 in 28.00 and Princess Evita made it an excellent hat trick of wins scoring by a head in an A9 in 28.56.
A couple of graded runners on Sunday with the in form Towstar Billy taking a two grade hike in his stride winning well in an A2 in a superb 27.53.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ANTIGUA FIRE
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
After a magical week gone we try to continue our form as the stayers team travel to Doncaster for the heats of the Category 1 Yorkshire St Leger.
On Thursday we look forward to the exciting talent of Antigua Breeze as he goes in the heats of the Category 2 Seasons Scaffolding Puppy Trophy and will be joined by the future staying star Aayamza Royale who is making her debut.
Jesses Sister runs in the final of the Maiden 400m Standard at Romford on Friday while we hope to have open runners at Monmore and Crayford on Saturday and Henlow on Sunday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Lovely jubbly time for our followers as we bagged another competition ante post win with the on fire Antigua Fire in the Kent St Leger final at Crayford with plenty of 10/1 available before the event kicked off giving us some decent profits for the year already.
Now the question is do we follow him up in the Yorkshire St Leger that starts tomorrow night at Doncaster? I feel we have to follow up with a small percentage of our winnings though I feel he could be a shortish price when they come out later. We have a decent team on show and it’s difficult to pick a couple over some of our runners but I feel we must have a stab and it wouldn’t surprise me to see our Champion Stakes winner Aayamza Express cope with this extra distance and would put her in our bets as well. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off including some of our others in their bets if they see value.
If there’s any ante post prices for the Seadons Scaffolding Puppy Trophy at Hove on Thursday then we have to have a few quid on Antigua Breeze who looks a very above average puppy and he trialled well over course and distance last week.
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2.5 pts ew ante post - Yorkshire St Leger - Doncaster - starts Wednesday
AAYAMZA EXPRESS - 2 pts ew ante post - Yorkshire St Leger - Doncaster - starts Wednesday
ANTIGUA BREEZE - 2.5 pts ew ante post - Seasons Scaffolding Puppy Trophy - Hove - starts Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2.5 pts ew ante post 10/1 - Jay & Kays Coach Tours Kent St Leger - Crayford - final Saturday - WON 10/1