Monday 16th December 2013
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It's been a turbulent week that's for sure with the race for the Trainer Of The Year title looking set for a dramatic finish. It's so so tight at the top and after the euphoria of landing a 1-2 in the Essex Vase the previous week and an excellent win in the Crayford Rose Bowl last Saturday I felt if we could get to the end of the week with a lead still in tact it would be a major bonus, not so much because we didn't have some decent runners ourselves but our chief rivals Charlie Lister and Paul Young were so strong in the other main action at Belle Vue and Monmore where there were some big points to be scored. As it happens we have managed to slightly increase our lead as it stands today and looking ahead at Thursday's Belle Vue card where the Oaks and Laurels finals take centre stage we will need a healthy lead as both Charlie and Paul are heavily involved in the feature events. I'm also struggling to find any runners for the supporting races so we can only sit back and see what unfolds. Of course I would never wish any ill of any of Charlie's and Paul's runners, that would be outrageous, but I hope a few other trainers can do us a favour and win these big races!
As I say it's been turbulent and earlier in the week owner Peter Bridges, who only last month was savouring a first ever Category 1 success at Nottingham with Bridge Honcho, had the agony of hearing the news that both his star trackers Eclipse hero Bridge Honcho and Brighton Belle winner Bridge Ruth were lame after their races on consecutive days. After a visit to the vet on Wednesday x-rays revealed amazingly that they had both suffered the same injury, a hairline fracture around the tibia bone. Both would have required surgery to race again and with them both in the twilight of their careers the right decision was made to retire them. We are truly gutted for Peter as we still felt they both had more to give and obviously judging on recent performances were running at the top of their games. At least both are fine and even without surgery both will heal properly which in Ruth's case is important as her future lays in the breeding paddocks. I will review both of their careers in the next week or so.
Of course losing these two cracking dogs through injury is a severe blow for Peter has they are extremely hard to replace. For the kennel it has spoilt a great end to the year but we have to go on. The two Category 2 competitions at Henlow the Cesarewitch and Xmas Cracker could prove vital to our Trainer Of The Year standings as we have loaded them up with quality runners and with 5 points for heat and semi-final wins and plenty of points for making the final we could poach an unassailable lead with only two weeks of the season left. Aero Twizzle goes in the National Sprint semi-final tonight and the flying Adageo Bob has a great chance in the Boylesports Golden Muzzle semi-final at Coventry also tonight, both these events are Category 2 events. Really whatever happens at Belle Vue I feel the title is ours to lose now and the fact we are 4/9 with the sponsors Ladbrokes tells us that. This is a position that seemed impossible only a month or so ago when we looked out of it and were pushed out to 25/1!
I know Paul is competitive but Charlie is ultra competitive and his comments in the pre race interview before the Essex Vase final did make me smile when he said he only worked with a team of around 15 or 16 dogs and didn't run anything until March. No disrespect intended as I get on very well with Charlie but the record actually states he has had around 45 individual dogs win opens this year and had racked up around 60 open race winners by the 1st of March mmm not quite right me thinks. We ourselves have vastly cut our operation down this year and for the last six months our strength has been reduced by 40% from what we had at the start of the year, not entirely by choice I might add! As I've said before it's not 'one off' races that win the yearly title as 90% of our points have come from competitions and variety is the key to being top. It really helps if you can have strength over all trips - sprints, four bends, six bends and eight bends as well as an odd hurdler, that way you will always have runners in the various Category 1 and 2 events that score so heavily, talking of which we are really trying hard to rebuild a decent squad to again be challenging for honours in 2014. We have had half a dozen nice pups come in over the last month but I still think we need another 12 top quality pups before the end of February and as soon as we quieten down from our hectic schedule I will put all my efforts into sorting this out. Some of these high quality pups will have shares offered on our website in the coming weeks so keep reading.
The news of the 2014 budget cuts is another massive blow to the industry and Betfair's decision not to pay into the fund is not good. Betfair make decent profits from our sport every day and must be laughing their socks off on how easy they can get away with this. The other bookmakers, who do pay, lay in bed with them as joint sponsors on RPGTV yet nothing is said. One thinks they are too embarrassed to speak about it as the vast majority of profits they make from offshore betting through the channel are kept to themselves. When our GBGB chief Maurice Watkins steps down it's imperative we have the next Chairman who's only interest is in our industry and not a million other distractions and certainly someone who has the ability to deal with the bookmakers.
On Monday the main action was at Monmore in the Lawrence Jones Memorial with four Category 2 events getting underway. In the Puppy 480m Benkaat Boomer qualified in a good heat when second, in the six bend event Hometown Honey is definitelyy back to her best and took the scalp of Leger hero Farloe Tango leading all the way to win in 41.34. An ultra hot 480m saw Bridge Honcho qualify comfortably in second place and all appeared well until he returned back to the kennel and was found to be badly lame. No luck in the 416m competition with Garryglass Rodge just missing out when third after missing his break.
At night Aero Twizzle got back to winning ways when landing his heat of the National Sprint at Nottingham in 17.80. A good night as well with Ayamzaman back to winning ways taking a heat of the Coral On TV Standard at Romford beating Any Dak in 24.08.
At Coventry on Tuesday the heats of the Boylesports Golden Muzzle kicked off and Bridge Ruth despite a well beaten second ran well but how's your luck! she also came back lame with the same injury as her brother from the day before. Adageo Bob these days doesn't know how to run a bad race and a barnstorming finish saw him swoop to a convincing win in a good 29.36.
At Henlow on Thursday the heats of the Category 2 Cesarewitch started well when Jazz Tilly won well in a 33.65 and she should come on for the run. Essex Vase hero Reel Trickyone had a tough heat which proved messy but he qualified safely in second. Performance of the night came from Aayamzamodel who took a decent heat in an excellent 33.34.
At Monmore on Friday afternoon massive implications towards the Championship in the finals of the Lawrence Jones Memorial finals. Both of our finalists gave themselves every chance when both led but Benkaat Boomer had no answer to Paul Young's Jaytee Seville in the Puppy final and just faded back to third while Hometown Honey can hold her head up high as Farloe Tango got a dream run and had her in his sights before the last bend and he powered past her to win by 4 lengths. Overall we only lost 10 pts from our Championship lead which could have been a lot worse.
Back to Romford on Friday night and a great start to the night as Ayamzaman rolled back the years as they say with a gutsy run to land the Coral On TV Standard Final leading at the third bend to win by a couple of lengths in 24.14. Blonde Razor again looked as if his luck had deserted him when impeded on the run up and at the first bend but a superb turn of speed and determination saw him just get up on the line to deny Smiler Jack to take the 575m in 35.84 to complete a great night for the kennel.
On Sunday both our runners Rosealinda and Ilewin Aggen in the Maiden Gold Cup heat over 550 showed up well but just faded out in the closing stages. In the Xmas Cracker heats Garryglass Rodge got tangled up with Maiden Derby winner Savana Nijinsky and mucked each other's chances up when eliminated but Adageo Lad sneaked through in third, Bridge Bandit having his first run for a month ran well when second in his heat and Murlens Chance was also second to Coolavaney Bert. I'm not quite sure how Ilewin Allot got beat having led down the back straight but somehow he did but both he and Skips Special both qualified. In the last heat Benkaat Blue was running well when taken very wide at the last bend finishing a close up 4th.
YARMOUTH AND COVENTRY REVIEW
Hillcross Kansas ran well when second in an A4 at Coventry on Monday and four runners at Yarmouth on Saturday with youngster Benkaat Dolly running very well when second stepped up in grade.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight as said we travel to Nottingham for the National Sprint semis with Aero Twizzle and Coventry for the Golden Muzzle semis with Adageo Bob while in form Hometown Honey goes to Romford for the heats of the Tony Byerley Mercury Trophy over 750m.
It's Henlow Thursday and Sunday for their two events the Cesarewitch and Xmas Cracker as they reach the semi-final stage, and we will be back to Romford on Friday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Jazz Tilly started well in the Cesarewitch at Henlow winning her heat but I didn't see any ante post betting on the event, if any prices come up we will stick with the bet. Ilewin Allott 14/1 ante post qualified for the Xmas Cracker semi's, we will stick to these for this week.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
JAZZ TILLY - 2 pts e.w ante post - Cesarewitch - Henlow - semis Thursday
ILEWIN ALLOT - 2 pts e.w ante post 14/1 - Xmas Cracker - semis Sunday