Monday 12th March 2012
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It was nice to get back to concentrating on training dogs this week after the politics of our sport seemed to take over from everything else last weekend, something I will only briefly touch on later.
This week saw another major final, the Arc at Swindon, fall at the hands of Matt Dartnall when his Ballymac Cryan stormed through to land the £8,000 to the winner event. Jazz Apollo for ourselves did his very best and in the end only finished just over a length away in third place. Ultimately his slow start cost him dear but all the same it was a god effort in his first races of 2012. I'm sure Stefan Watson's strapping brindle will be winning plenty of opens in the coming months and will spearhead our Trainers Championship team at Perry Barr a week on Wednesday. Lil Risky has bounced back to form with avengence and landed his third race on the spin when winning the supporting sprint on Sky while Ballintine Molly ran well when runner up to another of Matt Dartnall's stars Ballymac Pet in the 685 Stayers race.
Whilst at Swindon brilliant news came through that Benkaat Blue had overcome yet another tricky draw in trap 5 when winning his semi-final of the Monmore Puppy Derby and now with a much better draw in trap 2 in the £12,500 decider next Thursday our son of former kennel queen Star Of Dromin could have an excellent chance of our first major honours of 2012. With our kennel rattling out the winners on a regular basis a win in a Category 1 final will be well deserving, especially as well for owner Dan Daley who is one of many who has ploughed plenty of money into our sport looking for a champion.
Romford has been a happy hunting ground for our runners this year so far but we did have a bit of a blip last Friday when a few of well fancied runners were turned over. Aero Joker bidding to land an eight timer could not get to the early paced Balmi Blue who returned to his best form and she had to settle for second place and Blonde Snapper looking for a four timer was just beaten over 400m by Keith Allsopp's flying bitch Slick Sian. Aero Majestic did make sure the night was not a complete wash out when showing his class to annihilate a decent field over 575m in a brilliant 35.35 on a track that certainly wasn't fast by any means.
I would dearly like to use both Aero Majestic and Aero Joker in our Trainers Championship team but both seem in between trips with them being over 480m and 660m and will now head towards Monmore for the Ladbrokes Spring Festival over 630m. Benkaat Blue will be in our team in the puppy race and Blonde Snapper will have one more run and should be spot on then to represent us. Lil Risky has had his plans to step back up to 400m put on hold wisely and will be our first choice in the sprint while Dixies Air who has been laid up for what seems ages with a virus has returned with a decent couple of sprints at Romford and Yarmouth and will trial at Perry Barr this Friday over 480m. Ballintine Molly and Mountjoy Orion are in my thinking for the six bend races while we will try the likes of Rookery Pedro and Penskey John for our other places. With the news of Kelly Findlay's withdrawal from the Trainers Championship meeting where she feels she can't field a team of eight runners Dean Childs has now come in as a reserve. Dean's dogs have been firing on all cylinders so far this year and having only lost out by a few points of making the top six he will not disgrace himself. Defending champion Charlie Lister will have a powerful four bend team including Derby Champion Taylors Sky while Nick Savva has been putting a few of his team around the Midlands track over the last two weeks. Sensational news from Seamus Cahill's kennels is that former sprint Champion Jimmy Lollie has come out of retirement and could well line up at Perry Barr. All in all it again can be a tremendous evening and sponsors Betfair can forget the threatened boycott from last week, which had nothing to do with them, and not only enjoy the fact they sponsor some top class racing but can expect their usual enormous turnover on the eight races.
As I said after last week's politics in the sport that led to a threatened boycott of open racing and the Trainers Championship meeting I will only add that a meeting between GOBATA'S team of Martin White, Chris Page, John Coleman and Jim Reynolds acting for ALL trainers took place with fund Chairman Tom Kelly and Margaret Woodruff and from what I gather some sensible dialogue about the plight of the industry's trainers and owners was discusse. A a lot of confidentiality will mean the outcome of the talks will only be made public in the coming weeks. This week in the Racing Post Jim Cremin has blown the industry wide open in his articles about trainers' and owners' struggles in recent times and I'm sure anybody who read them now sees that the drastic action a few have taken was done for the right reasons and we hope the short term rifts between the trainers and Sky and sponsors Betfair will heal quickly. One thing for sure, the representation that trainers and owners have on the board of directors at the GBGB is not right at present and the GBGB should not bury their heads in the sand on this point or they might find they have a larger problem in the coming months. I'm afraid that the current situation will not be tolerated any longer.
On Thursday at Swindon Jazz Apollo could only finish third after a slow start in the final of the Ladbrokes Arc at Swindon while Lil Risky followed up his Sky victory at Wimbledon with another all the way success in the sprint recording 16.31. Ballintine Molly ran a good race in the 685 Stayers when second to Ballymac Pet keeping the winning distance down to 4 1/4 lengths.
Over at Monmore Benkaat Blue did us proud when landing his semi-final of the Puppy Derby in 28.28 and goes into next Thursday's final with a decent chance - there is only a length between all three winners of the semi's.
Our only other open race action of the week was at Romford on Friday and it was a case of 'one of those nights' as it didn't quite happen for us with well fancied Droopys Hiss, Aero Joker and Blonde Snapper all finishing 2nd and Mountjoy Orion leading for four bends in the Tony Williams Marathon final before fading into 5th. Aero Majestic did, however, produce the performance of the night when winning the 575m in scintillating fashion in a fast 35.35.
Only runners on Saturday and a successful night it was with four winners. Improving Swift Freeze scored by over 4 lengths in 28.37 in an A3. Corrig Vincent was an easy winner of an A2 in 28.53 while in the A1's Bellers Bud made a welcome return to the winner's podium scoring by over 2 lengths in 28.40. Swift Tigress was runner up in a tough A1 but most impressive winner of the night was Swift Reagan who won by 6 lengths in a fast 28.02 and looks like he will be a useful addition to the staying ranks in the future.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
On Wednesday the Easter Bunny series at Yarmouth begins and we have three runners - Risky Blue, Steam Machine and Mountjoy Eagle competing for some decent graded money.
On Thursday the feature race of the week will be the Ladbrokes Monmore Puppy Derby final and Dan Daley's Benkaat Blue will be bidding for glory in the £12,500 to the winner prestigious event. We will have some runners in the supporting races including Aero Majestic.
We will have open runners at Henlow on Thursday and Romford on Friday while some of our Trainers Championship team will have trials at Perry Barr on Friday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A successful week which could get better on Thursday when Benkaat Blue lines up in the Monmore Puppy Derby Final with a good chance. Recommended at 8/1 he is now a best priced 3/1 to land the Category 1 final. Jazz Apollo recommended at 14/1 at the outset of the Ladbrokes Arc at Swindon showed us a profit when 3rd and Lil Risky didn't let us down when landing the sprint on the supporting card although the price of 4/5 was a bit skinny.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BENKAAT BLUE - 2.5 pts e.w ante-post 8/1 - Ladbrokes Monmore Puppy Derby - final Thursday
JAZZ APOLLO - 2 pts e.w ante-post 14/1 - Ladbrokes Arc - Swindon - 3RD
LIL RISKY - 3 pts win - Swindon - Thursday - WON 4/5