Monday 10th December 2012
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READ MARK'S BLOG OF THE EXCITING
DERBY BUILD UP CULMINATING IN BLONDE SNAPPER'S FANTASTIC DERBY FINAL WIN
Again this week our dogs were hitting the headlines on the track with another two brilliant performances from our kennel stars at Monmore on Friday afternoon. The popular Laurence Jones Memorial finals worth £5,000 each to the winners produced some great racing and the Bitches final over 480m, which we were not involved in, was won by Mutual Decision. Blonde Reagan was odds on to land the 684m final after an impressive heat win last Monday but for once our St Leger and TV Trophy hero got it all wrong at the start and after being crowded at the first bend Reagan tamely trailed in last of the six runners. We can forgive him that poor run after a tremendous three months and he seems OK afterwards and will have a lot to look forward to in 2013.
Both our contenders in the Dogs 480m looked to have a stiff task against the likes of Eden Star but Benkaat Blue broke well and raced to the corner with Monmore specialist Newinn Rocket but they slightly crowded each other at this point with Benkaat Blue coming off worst. Meanwhile our Bridge Honcho in trap 5 had paced up well on the outside and off the second bend had loomed large on Newinn Rocket's outside. A great buckle followed and Bridge Honcho's strength told as he pulled away on the run in for a memorable win by 2 1/2l engths in 28.60. Lil Risky had a lot of questions to answer going into the event after a run of form that had not seen our prolific scorer win for nine races but back at happy hunting grounds he won Mondy's heat comfortably and now with his mojo back took care of a good field with a superb burst of early and middle pace beating the high class Loughteen Blanco by 2 1/4 lengths in 24.72. A very enjoyable victory and a big thank you to Laurence Jones' widow Linda for her generous sponsorship.
We are also in the thick of the action in the two main Category 1 events currently running. On Friday the Coral Essex semi-finals took place and in a messy second semi-final Mountjoy Orion reached her first major final when only beaten a head by Brave The Times in 35.96. Champion Stakes hero Smiler Jack had already taken the first semi in a fast 35.30 and all eyes were on our young pretender Planning who faced the defending champ Westmead Maldini. Again a scintillating burst of early pace saw Planning lead up and the result was never in doubt and he scored readily from the running on Westmead Maldini in a brilliant 35.29. With Planning the only wide seed he automatically gets trap 6 and this October 10 son of Kinloch Brae is sure to go well but whatever his fate he is another destined to be a star of 2013. Mountjoy Orion is out in trap 5 and that may be not the worst draw for her as she breaks better away from the rails but she will have to produce a career best performance to land this title.
The William Hill Oaks second round at Wimbledon continued on Saturday and both Ballintine Molly and Ayamzabeauty crashed out though we still hold out high hopes for Bridge Ruth and the young Jazz Tilly who were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Bridge Ruth after a slow start recovered well to only get beat 3 3/4 lengths by Droopys Loner in a fast 28.47 and is still a force in this event. Jazz Tilly needs to trap better if she is to make the final but rule her out at your peril. Also the Swettenham Golden Muzzle at Coventry reached the semi-final stage last night and Castlebride Dan has been a revelation winning his heat last week and last night taking the semi-final in a superb 29.15. The £3000 to the winner final is next Sunday.
Talking of bitches it's with a touch of sadness that this week we announce the retirement of one of our real stars of 2012 Aero Joker. 'Poppy' has won 21 of her 54 races and has been one of the stars on RPGTV which celebrated its first year this week with nearly all her 17 victories in 2012 being on the channel this year. A real character 'Poppy' is off to the breeding paddocks and the Forsdike family should enjoy some top class offspring from her that hopefully we will train in the future.
My newsletter last week calling for changes in our sport certainly provoked plenty of reaction on the forums and such like not least the fact that my main concerns voiced were about open racing which obviously is something that affects our kennel more than anything. There are many issues I would like to have commented about not least on the graded side and I will touch on these subjects in the future. I think one of the main issues that I should have highlighted is what Harry Findlay is trying to do at Coventry and that is a massively reduced tote retention. For years punters have been ripped off at tracks and it's little wonder our attendances have gone down year on year. Lazy promoters are to blame with the GRA the worst culprits and it's high time something was done about it but again we won't hold our breath. Harry and Coventry deserve to succeed and myself and our kennel will support the track as much as we can in the future and I certainly recommend that if you have not visited the easily accessible stadium you should do so, the track is not only punter friendly it is a joy for the greyhounds to run on, keep up the good work Harry!
The GBGB Awards night is fast approaching (January 27th at the London Lancaster) and we are really looking forward to the evening. It's a night to put politics aside and for the industry to get together to celebrate the stars on the track in 2012. All the owners who will be involved are proud of their greyhounds who are nominated for an award and this year and I think there will be some real close calls in certain categories and the GWA, who vote for their idea of the winners, will have some tough decisions to make. We have without a doubt had a stellar year on the track winning so far six Category 1's including the Derby and St Leger as well as a first TV Trophy amongst others and despite a resurgence from the Paul Young kennel we have completely obliterated our challengers for the Trainer Of The Year title. I will on behalf of my hard working staff and loyal owners and fellow professionals be honoured to hold this title for a fourth time.
I would dearly love to see some of our greyhounds honoured as well and I'm confident we can do well. You have to win your Category to have a chance to win the big one the 'Greyhound Of The Year' and I'm sure Blonde Snapper can land the all important Standard distance title first and my reasons why are simple - after a great puppy campaign, where he made three top class finals, his career was in doubt at the end of 2010 after fracturing his wrist in a failed attempt going for the Harolds Cross Puppy Derby in Ireland. Returning to the kennel early in 2011 he looked a pale shadow of his former self but after a few weeks he looked to have recovered but in reality the injury forced him into a stop start year. Dumped out of the Derby in the first round when almost favourite he showed a glimmer of his best form when a brilliant runner up to the Derby champion Taylors Sky in the Henlow Derby in October but again his troublesome wrist was making it hard to race regularly. After a winter's rest and a lot of physio work he returned in 2012 a forgotten dog but we had faith, worked harder this time and against what most people would have imagined we campaigned him mainly at the tight Romford circuit. After landing a small heats and final in March the fairytale really started happening. A month later he captured a high class Golden Sprint to land his first Category 1 title. Two weeks later his Derby adventure began and despite being this time around an 80/1 outsider he defied his critics warming to the task, especially when the quick runs came, winning his semi-final in determined fashion. Still not fancied for the £125,000 final he scorched up to the bend and the way he brilliantly rode a hefty bump at the first bend will be one of the memories I will take to my grave with me. He was simply awesome afterwards striding out to a well deserved Derby success. To say he and Mark Currell deserved this is truly an understatement of the highest proportion! There have been some brilliant Standard performances from many greyhounds all year including the likes of Ballymac Eske, Farloe Warhawk, Bubbly Phoenix, Loughteen Blanco and the popular Mags Gamble amongst others but it will be a travesty of justice if Blonde Snapper doesn't get this highest accolade 'Greyhound Of The Year' to complete the fairytale.
Blonde Reagan after his third in the Grand Prix and brilliant St Leger winning performance in the two highest prize money staying events in the calendar must surely be favourite in the Stayers division while he might also have a chance in the Marathon division after his TV Trophy heroics. This division has lacked star quality all year. Lil Risky despite one small run of poor form has bettered his superb 2011 campaign and this year grabbed his first Category 1 title, the Peterborough Derby. Along with his Monmore titles he has won a stack of races again and he must surely be a contender in the British Bred category. Ayamzaman would also be nudging for this award as well.
Our 'Racing Club' greyhound I Am Titanium this week pleased us with a look around Wimbledon on Saturday night. Though well beaten in a trial by Elizabeth and Rab McNairs Knockbane Nina, he recorded a respectable 29.27 and we might well see our youngster in open class this Saturday at Wimbledon. Our second pup Ollie Blue will have to wait for his first official trial after Yarmouth's Thursday trial session was cancelled due to a frozen track. Contact us if you are interested in joining our value for money Club (full details on the Racing Club page).
A great afternoon at Monmore in the heats of the Laurence Jones Memorial Trophy. Benkaat Blue scored well in a fine 27.97 while Bridge Honcho was touched off in the heats of the Dogs 480m. Blonde Reagan took his heat of the 684m Stayers by over 6 lengths in a fine 41.86 and Lil Risky returned to winning ways in the 416m heats in 24.72.
On Thursday not the most successful night at Henlow with only Risky Trophy of our five runners qualifying from the heats of the Maiden Derby when second and on an horrendous night weather wise Springdale Hawk was second over 550m. On the same night at Hove Swift Lucozade was a good second over 515m in the heats of the Coral Sussex Puppy Trophy and runs from an awful trap 5 slot in next week's final.
At Romford on Friday as said Planning and Mountjoy Orion qualified for Wednesday's Coral Essex Vase final and in other races Glanmire Lad showed what a force he will be next year when destroying his opposition by over lengths in a very fast 23.99 but unluckily win machine Ayamzaman missed his break and stumbled when only 4th looking for his 22nd win of 2012.
At Wimbledon on Saturday Bridge Ruth and Jazz Tilly qualified for the semi-finals of the William Hill Oaks when second and third respectively in the quarter-finals and on Sunday at Coventry Castlebride Dan was superb when landing his semi-final of the Swettenham Golden Muzzle by 1 1/2 lengths in tremendous 29.15, Blonde Fletch added a touch of class to the card and duly landed the 672m Stayers in 41.73.
After getting a few winners last week our seven runners on Saturday were given next to no chance with only Toosey Jenson making the frame when third on debut.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
On Wednesday the penultimate Sky card of 2012 sees the Coral Essex Vase Final and we have a cracking chance of landing the £10,000 to the winner event when John Jeffery's Planning runs from a plot trap 6 draw and Mountjoy Orion is a decent back up in her first major final. The supporting card could see some fireworks from the likes of Ayamzaman and Glanmire Lad.
On Thursday Swift Lucozade takes on decent rivals in the Coral Sussex Puppy Trophy at Hove and Risky Trophy takes her chance in the Henlow Maiden Derby semi-finals.
On Saturday the William Hill Oak semi-finals see both Bridge Ruth and Jazz Tilly drawn together while on Sunday Castlebride Dan could finish the year on a high in the Swettenham Golden Muzzle Final at Coventry.
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Ballintine Molly tried her hardest but just failed to qualify from the Oaks quarter-finals but great news for our supporters who managed to get on Planning to win the Coral Essex Vase at 16/1, he is as short as 6/4 to land his first Category 1 event. Bridge Ruth is in the William Oaks semi-finals but is now trading at a bigger price than when the event started we must have an interest at 8/1.
BRIDGE RUTH - 2 pts e.w ante-post 8/1 - William Hill Oaks - Wimbledon - continues Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BALLINTINE MOLLY - 1.5 pts e.w ante-post 33/1 - William Hill Oaks - Wimbledon - lost
PLANNING - 1 pt e.w ante-post 16/1 - Coral Essex Vase - Romford - final Wednesday