Monday 14th March 2011
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A fantastic article in yesterday's Racing Post on Daren Johnson's forthcoming iconic run from John O Groats to Lands End. The picture of himself with his friend Rob Long, who lost his eyesight in Afghanistan, and a stunning pose from Derby champion Kinda Ready should alone make us all want to find a few quid to donate in what is a challenge of a lifetime in a bid to raise £100,000 for both the retired greyhounds and Help For Heroes. I caught up with Daren last Friday at the magnificent London Golf club near Brands Hatch where Daren is a member and of course he knows how tough his challenge is going to be but the more you talk to him the more you can sense the determination he feels to complete the task. We are only two weeks away from the start and I appeal to everyone who reads our site to make a donation even if it is only a small one. I have left the paragraph up at the bottom of this newsletter with all the details of Daren's run and where you can make donations.
One thing for sure over the next two weeks both his Derby winner Kinda Ready and his St Leger winner Kinda Easy can give Daren some more inspiration as both are leading players in our Betfair Trainers Championship side. The event at Wimbledon is now only eight days away and Kinda Ready warms up for his race with the small matter of trying to win the Betfred.com Standard Trophy at Nottingham tonight. He again faces 2010 Derby champion Bandicoot Topiki as well as some other useful opponents and has got to cope with trap 5 as well, not easy but with this being his third run back from a winter's break he looks like he's starting to peak. Win or lose tonight the main priority is that he comes off safely and can head to next Tuesday's showpiece in good order. Kinda Easy pleased us with his comeback race at Sittingbourne last Thursday over 642m in which he led till the run in before being caught and passed by the decent Cagey Joe. One more race probably at Sittingbourne again this Thursday should see him spot on for the Trainers Championship meeting. Whilst at Sittingbourne two of our Wimbledon team Eye Onthe Tempo and Destroy The Camp also scored nicely and will only have trials this week for their preparation.
The main news concerning our team this week has to be the sensational trial of the returning Blonde Snapper at Wimbledon last Wednesday over 480m. With a number of leading stars having workouts Blonde Snapper stopped the clock at a superb fastest of the day 28.47 (4.78 sec!) and looks to have come out of the trial in good order. We will be giving him a warm up trial at Romford tomorrow and although a bit of a gamble we will make Snapper's first race back since September his leg of our four bend team. I feel he will go well fresh but again most certainly the Derby in which he has been trimmed back to 33/1 from 50's is his main goal this year. Blonde Fletch, who has taken the step up to a galloping six bends very well in the last two weeks with easy victories at both Monmore and Sittingbourne, faces another stiff test tomorrow over 660m at Sheffield while Mountjoy Moon who runs for us in the puppy race came out of a sprint trial at Yarmouth in good shape will be having a 480m trial at Wimbledon on Wednesday along with Destroy The Camp.
The only difficult decision we have to make is who to use for the sprint race. Risky Wand is a consistent sort and will be kept fresh if we use him. Last year's brilliant winner of the sprint Directors Wit has had problems but we will see how he runs at Sheffield tomorrow and Wimbledon specialist Goldcrest Lord will trial at Romford tomorrow so we will make a decision on Thursday when we have to name our teams. All in all I have to say I'm very pleased with the way it's all shaping up but the next 3 or 4 days are crucial to our chances of retaining the title we brilliantly won last year at Doncaster. Next week I will analyse the races individually and give you my thoughts on our chances.
Also on the Betfair Trainers Championship meeting, which is fast becoming only second to the Greyhound Derby Final, Bob Betts one of our sports leading journalists and life president GWA for many years has worked brilliantly to organise a 'Night of the Living Legends' where former Trainers Championship winners are invited as guests of honour. My mother in law and former boss Linda Jones is one of many ex trainers and current trainers who have achieved this great honour of winning the title and will add to what will be a special occasion. Also there will be John Honeysett, Ernie Gaskin, Linda Mullins, John McGee, Nick Savva, John Coleman and Brian Clemenson.
In other news, this week sees the final of the Category 1 Ladbrokes Monmore Puppy Derby and disappointing as it was for our kennel not to be involved it's sure to be a great race with Sky presenter Gary Newbon owning the favourite Droopys Greg. The first all aged Category 1 event over four bends kicks off today at Swindon as the 'Arc' begins with eight first round heats which can be watched in the betting shops today. We have two entries Droopys Elbow who seems fine after his tumble at Sittingbourne on Thursday and Dalcash Scolari who is amongst the favourites for the event. 'Bluey' would have been in our Trainers Championship team but hopefully we have made the right decision to leave him for this event, time will tell!
Daren Johnson, our Derby winning owner, has announced his intention to do an almost impossible task of running from John O'Groats to Lands End all in one month for charity. This would mean running a marathon a day to complete the near 1000 miles. We are appealing to everyone to make a contribution to Daren's efforts. He will attempt this unbelievable feat in April and he hopes to raise many thousands for both the RGT and Help For Heroes, two worthy causes for sure. Iff you go to www.giveabitback.net you can read all about his desire to give something back. It is hoped that during the run we can get a few celebrities from the greyhound world to show some support and take time out to run alongside Daren at some stage even if it's only for a few hundred yards! (that's for me!) or a few miles. Sky have kindly offered to cover Daren's run on their programmes in April and Betfair were the first to dip their hands in their pockets donating £1,000 to his cause. More details will be available as the time gets nearer and all of us at Imperial Kennels would like to wish Daren the best of luck not only on the run but in his intensive training so please visit the website and make a donation.
On Monday Kinda Ready still looked in need of a run or two when only second in his heat of the Betfred.com Standard Trophy over 500m at Nottingham beaten 3/4 length in 30.28 and in supporting races over the sprint Scodan Parker was second beaten 2 lengths in 18.06 and Risky Wand was 3rd behind Brooklyn Bandit beaten 4 lengths in 18.02.
In opens at Sittingbourne on Thursday Eye onthe Tempo got the night off to a good start comfortably landing the odds over 480m scoring by 3 3/4 lengths in 29.40 (-20). Aero Bolt got into all kind of trouble over the hurdles and could only finish 4th. It looked like we were going to have the 1/2 in the 642m race when Aldataro Lass and Kinda Easy were first and second respectively down the back straight but Tony Collett's Cagey Joe had different ideas and passed both of our runners to beat Kinda Easy 1 1/2 enlgths in 40.62 (-30) with Aldataro Lass back a length away in 3rd. Droopys Elbow took a tumble when running well to the first bend in the 500m race but seems OK before a battling performance from Destroy The Camp who was led up but showed great back straight pace to lead at the 3rd bend and go on and win by 2 lengths in 29.46.
Our other open race action of the week was at Romford on Friday and of our six runners Bellers Bud showed his liking for the track with a nice win over 400m by a length in 24.21. Stormbeam who has been running well with out too much luck found the gaps open for a change in a 575m Maiden and duly won by nearly 6 lengths in 35.77.
Blonde Rascal came closest of our 5 runners on Monday when second in an A6 beaten a length in 29.03 and his turn looks just around the corner. On Saturday Blonde Eagle was 3rd beaten in a three way photo, Kinda Dashing and Kildream Monster did well to finish 3rd in their races while our only winner was an impressive one from Aoifes Candy who defied an upgrade without winning in her previous race to land an A4 in a good 28.48 (-20)
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Today at Swindon the 'Arc' kicks off and Droopys Elbow and the powerful Dalcash Scolari bid for glory in the first major Cat 1 event of the year. Also tonight Kinda Ready runs in the final of the Betfred.com Standard Trophy over 500m at Nottingham with Bim Bam Boozle and Scodan Parker in supporting sprints while at Romford Bourne Masons, Catunda Mae and Goldies Destiny look for silverware in the Coral TV Stayers heats.
At Sheffield tomorrow Blonde Fletch looks to continue his good form when he runs in a Queen Mother Memorial Trial Stake over 660m with Directors Wit looking to regain some winning form in a sprint and Risky Rosaleen in action over 500m.
An important trial session at Wimbledon on Wednesday featuring some of our Trainers Championship squad.
Opens are pencilled in for Thursday at Sittingbourne and Friday at Romford and on Saturday the second round of the Arc continues at Swindon.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Kinda Ready just failed to land the odds at Nottingham last week but Destroy The Camp did win at Sittingbourne albeit at a skinny price. Plenty of betting opportunities this week - Blonde Fletch is worth keeping on our side and I think Directors Wit could bounce back to form, both run at Sheffield tomorrow night but the best bet of the week has to be an ante-post bet on Dalcash Scolari in the Arc at Swindon. Not sure if the 16/1 offered by Hills is still available but there's plenty of 14's.
DALCASH SCOLARI - 2.5 pts e.w ante-post 16/1 - Arc - Swindon - starts today
BLONDE FLETCH - 3 pts win - Sheffield - Tuesday
DIRECTORS WIT - 2 pts win - Sheffield - Tuesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
KINDA READY - 4 pts win - Nottingham - Monday - lost
DESTROY THE CAMP - 3 pts win - Sittingbourne - Thursday - WON 8/11