Monday 10th September 2007
Walthamstow's Victor Chandler sponsored night on Tuesday was most memorable for many reasons, not least the exciting finish to the Grand Prix Final, but also the rest of the supporting card which made for a great night's racing for the large crowd (mainly due to V.C's generous free entrance and free drink offer). Fear Robben gave it his all in the final for us but agonisingly was caught on the wire by both favourite Foulden Special and gallant runner up Calzaghe Frizby. Congratulations to Derek Knight and connections for their victory. Watching Barnfield On Air stamp his class on a good field including our Eye Onthe Veto was the pick of the night's action - surely the fastest dog in training at the moment. If I had one criticism then the track records of Bubbly Kate and Ebony Ocean were very strange. I remember Star Of Dromin doing a 25.77 sectional on the way to breaking the 835m clock in 52.45 which means Bubbly Kate who did 26.52 for the first lap must have picked up an incredible 11 1/2 lengths on the second lap when stopping the clock at 52.19. No no, a terrific and welcome performance from the Champagne Club's pride and joy but the time? Ebony Ocean, a fair animal, but if you said that it would smash the Queen of Walthamstow's clock then I think think the men in white coats would take you away!
We may have been out of luck in the Grand Prix but we have a few realistic hopes of landing some silverware in the next couple of weeks. Butterbridge Ali has made the final of the £9,000 to the winner Yorkshire St Leger at Doncaster though I must admit winning is going to be extremely hard as this is one of the best six bend races seen for quite a while. Eye Onthe Veto proved a few people wrong when landing his heat of the Champion Stakes at Romford in emphatic style but I must admit to being absolutely baffled by the decision to make Raging Jack a reserve for the 36 runner event! and I also thought Killer Keane looked more than capable of going a long way in the Yarmouth Derby after a confident display in the opening round.
For all those entries in the 5 to follow competition watch out next weekend for the list of new dogs available for the changes starting October 1st.
On Tuesday's finals night at Walthamstow Killer Keane ran a solid race in the Standard 475m when 4th to the impressive Vipar Totti. Raging Jack was made favourite for the V.C Bet Standard Final but got no sort of run and Eye Onthe Veto was beaten for early and couldn't get competitive in the 475m Invitational that Barnfield On Air won impressively. Fear Robben, runner up in last year's Grand Prix Final was looking to go one better in this year's £15,000 final but it was never going to be easy from a poor draw in trap four but to his credit he started very well and at the first bend found himself behind Ted Soppit's Calzaghe Frizby who had rocketed out of the boxes. Showing great middle pace he got his nose in front before the final two bends and for a minute he looked the winner but Calzaghe Frizby came back and then an astonishing finish from Foulden Special which saw the three dogs flash past the post together and although we knew we hadn't won we were delighted with Robben's brave effort. Lode of Yank and Twilight Fantasy both ran respectable races to finish 3rd. Butterbridge Ali was unluckily knocked out of the Grand Prix so was re-routed to Doncaster for the heats of the Tetley Yorkshire St Leger and finished a good 3rd in his heat beaten less than a length on a track that is hard to run first time. Like Hot Cakes acquitted herself well showing good early before succumbing to the late challenge of 25-1 shot Bread Head with the enigmatic Romford Car Two splitting the pair and our other runner Coolanga Flyer last and a nasty little split web to go with it! We returned on Friday for the semi-final and with both of our runners pitched in together a fast start was essential. It's not often said but this time Ali smashed out and looked to have the race in the bag until favourite Westmead Aoifa loomed large off the last bend and racing up the home straight she caught Ali on the line to win by a neck in a good time of 41.39. Like Hot Cakes, although last, looks to have a bright future ahead of her. With the Irish Derby on and numerous other attractions it was a low key start to this year's Champion Stakes at Romford. We were maybe only hopeful that our Eye Onthe Veto, who was made ante-post favourite, would kick off the competition with a win after a hard race on the Tuesday at Walthamstow but greyhounds are there to prove you wrong and when he went to post a 9/4 shot you couldn't give him away in the betting ring but our double Category 1 winner in a few breathtaking strides put the race beyond doubt and raced away to win by 8 lengths in 36.72 (-80). Directors Chair had earlier in the night finished runner up to Blonde Buzz in heat one beaten 1 1/2 lengths in 36.34 (-60) a solid effort. The Yarmouth Derby brings some great memories having trained the winner two years ago with the superb Fear No One and we kicked off this year's event with the first heat winner in the fast Killer Keane who produced a lovely turn of pace to beat Unique Option in 28.16. He was our only runner but he could go a long way in this competition.
A short review this week as unlike the week before we struggled to get many graded winners with Chris Page being particular hard on some of our pups! Ragga Diva when given a chance has the happy knack of taking it and she duly won on Mondays BAGS card in a calc 29.46. On Thursday we never had too much to shout about with the gutsy Ortuna the only winner in the A2 in a time of 29.23 (-10). Runners up Lockdale Lady and Vigorous Whitney both ran well in their respective races. Saturday's graded card was a similar theme with a number of seconds and thirds but no winners to write about!
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACE:- EYE ONTHE VETO
WHATS ON THIS WEEK
The open race action comes thick and fast this week although today I will be off enjoying myself on Tanya Stevenson's charity golf day at Windlesham where I am confidently expecting my team to win the event to get the week off to a good start! Wednesday is the second round of the Yarmouth Derby and our only runner Killer Keane has drawn a tough heat with ante-post favourite and defending champion Geordie Parker in his race. We haven't been to BelleVue too much lately but I will send a strong team there with Fear Robben, Discreet Cat and Raging Jack making the long journey for a crack at £10,000 Totesport Gold Collar over 590m. I urge any open race fans in the north, or anywhere else for that matter, to descend on Doncaster on Friday night to watch the final of the £9,000 Tetley Yorkshire St Leger - a brilliant race featuring the best stayers around apart from those in Tuesdays Grand Prix final. Butterbridge Ali deserves a major title and he will attempt to make every post a winning one! If you're not there then Romford is the place to be as the three semi's of the Champion Stakes promise to be great races and we have strong chances with our two runners Eye Onthe Veto and Directors Chair. Hopefully we will still have Killer Keane in the Yarmouth Derby as the semi's are to be run on Saturday in this gruelling competition.