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Both our pups qualified for the semi final of the Romford Puppy Cup on Friday at Romford. Making his debut Antigua Bruiser looked to be in a spot of bother as they paced up to the bend, favourite Our Boy Seamus had a dream run and led on the outside while Antigua Bruiser rode his luck around the opening two bends and eventually chased home the winner albeit 6 lengths adrift in 24.02 and hopefully he will come on for the run. Our Lucky Lee was bashed from pillar to post a week earlier when well beaten in a trial stake and thankfully came off none the worse, this time our promising youngster came out the traps fast and led at the first bend, despite being challenged at the third bend by odds on favourite Tenpin he bravely held onto the lead and pulled away at the finish to win by over 2 lengths in 24.12. Both have been drawn in the same semi final and to be fair seemed to have missed the big guns like Bubbly Magnum, who scored in an impressive 23.62, and we will be hopeful that we can get at least one in next week's final.
We may have not been as strong in the Champion Stakes as previous years and the overall quality of the event not up to its usual standard but it will still take some winning. I thought our best chance lay with Ivy Hill Skyhigh but he was eliminated in a tough heat. We did, however, get two through to the semi finals in the shape of Sober Express and Tiffield Maximus both of whom showed a step up from recent form and if they can improve a touch further then we have a distinct possibility of getting at least one to the final which again is a week Friday.
We are now only a few weeks away from the Derby and our preparations begin with a small team. Antigua Romeo returns from long term injury and is taking the route we used to win the Derby with Blonde Snapper in 2012 by going in a good Romford competition first. Romeo is entered in the Guys & Dolls on Friday and he has returned from injury with some decent trials around the Essex venue, sure the 400m might be a bit sharp for him but there’s nothing like competitive outings to boost race fitness. He will go to Nottingham for a trial stake afterwards. Both Antigua Boy and Hopes Bullet have the Derby firmly set in their plans and both complete their qualifying trials today at Nottingham and will be entered in trial stakes on Monday and will likely be joined by Starshinebandit and Drumcrow Brent. They all need some race fitness and at this stage we will be just looking for them to come off safe and sound as their fitness levels are nowhere near where they will be at the start of October. Amanda and Nic Jeal’s new purchase Surprise Me Now has a good Irish card but it’s certainly going to be a bit of a rush to prepare him but we are more than hopeful he will be ready, he certainly looks like one who might improve considerably as the event goes on. Sadly Antigua Breeze is going to be out of the Derby as he has a problem in a joint near his toe and looks likely to be off for a few weeks. Our other intended runner will be Drumcrow Brent, a beautiful big black dog for Michelle Connelly and Mike Davis, he has improved with every trial and could be anything.
We also have plenty of new dogs still trialling on so with the calendar opening up a bit in the next few weeks we should see plenty of action. It’s still very hard getting the trials you require everywhere but hopefully in a few weeks Team Wallis will be back firing on all cylinders. Good news this week as our prolific Coolavanny Messi, whose career looked over after fracturing a skull and eye socket at the pick up a couple of months ago, has fully recovered and amazingly trials back this Thursday.
It’s amazing to think the football season kicks off again shortly and as you know I’m a massive sports fan. Golf is my passion both watching and when I get a chance playing as well, albeit I’m no champion in that sphere, the US Open is only a week away (I’ve backed Tyrrell Hatton ew at 50/1 early). My other favourite sport is American football and the NFL kicks off in the early hours of Friday morning with the Chiefs playing the Texans and then from Sunday night a full programme of games. Finding the Super Bowl winner next February is never easy as it’s a sport that is very unpredictable but my two against the field are the San Francisco 49ers (around 10/1) and don’t be surprised to see the New York Jets make a splash this season both in their division (8/1) and overall at a massive 80/1. I could be a mile out but it’s always fun having a long term ante post bet.
Our only open racing was at Romford on Friday with Our Lucky Lee winning a heat of the Puppy Cup and Antigua Bruiser qualifying while both Sober Express and Tiffield Maximus qualified for the semi final of the Champion Stakes.
HENLOW AND TOWCESTER REVIEW
On Tuesday at Henlow we had two nice winners as Ice Cool Ellis
finally returned to the winner's podium taking an A9 in 28.26 and Muxton Teddy won well in an A3 in a fine 27.62.
On Thursday Deans Hail Mary took an A4 in 28.21 and Energize Bingo won well in A6 grade in 28.13 and on Saturday we just had the one winner with Puckane Taylor winning an A2 in 27.98.
On Sunday at Towcester Towstar Izzy was our only winner in an A6 in 30.38.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - OUR LUCKY LEE
GRADED - ICE COOL ELLIS
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A big trial session at Nottingham today with some of our Derby potentials as well as Antigua Fire and Aayamza Royale over 6 bends.
Friday night sees the semi finals of both the Champion Stakes and the Puppy Cup at Romford while we also have the heats of the Guys & Dolls.
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Unfortunately Ivy Hill Skyhigh went out at the early stage of the Champion Stakes but our recommendation in the Puppy Cup Antigua Bruiser qualified and looks to have every chance of making the final.
The Guys & Dolls kicks off and we see the return of Antigua Romeo. On his day he is one of the fastest dogs in the country and I feel he could return from injury with a bang and land this competition
ANTIGUA ROMEO - 2 pts each way ante post - Guys & Dolls - Romford - starts Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA BRUISER - 2 pts each way ante post 10/1 - Coral Puppy Cup - Romford - semi finals Friday
IVY HILL SKYHIGH - 2 pts each way ante post - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford - lost