Monday 17th February 2014
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Hopefully there is a good turnout today at the 'Show Of Passion' at London's City Hall and it helps make a real difference to the plight of Wimbledon Stadium. I thought the closure of Walthamstow in 2008 was a real kick in the teeth to our sport but if we lose Wimbledon then in my opinion the industry will be in terminal decline. If Paschal Taggart's plans to redevelop the stadium into a world class venue become a reality it could have huge implications on our sport's future. For a start it will be a massive boost to the morale of all concerned and it could be the first step towards greyhound racing fighting back from all the negatives over the last few years. A successful stand against the odds will mean we can show everyone that the greyhound industry will no longer be pushed around and I'm sure this will lead to other successful challenges that we all face. There are so many people who deserve huge praise for their attempts to help Wimbledon's cause but Diane McLean's enthusiasm stands out and I hope this is a battle she can win for the good of the sport.
On the track our stunning start to the year is gathering pace and in Hometown Honey we have a major chance in landing our first ever Ladbrokes Golden Jacket at Crayford. Steve and Sarah Cragg's fawn bitch is running at the top of her form and any concerns of her coming into season have subsided and she will be a warm favourite to land the superb £17,500 to the winner event. After some atrocious weather on Friday night it was pleasing to kennel at Crayford in sunshine with the wind slowly calming down. A big crowd came to see some top class action and our kennel started in fine form with Aayamzamodel running a good race to win the opening heat of the Peter Bussey Memorial holding on by a neck in 34.18 (-50). Defending champion Bridge Bandit missed his break but flew up to the bend and missed the trouble which saw Sharies Miller knocked over. Up front Bandit was chasing Castlelyons Sevi and closing fast when the hare was stopped in the interest of safety, whether Bandit would have won or not is debatable but he would certainly have qualified. The decision to re-run the heat tomorrow is not ideal but Bandit looks fine to take his chance.
Murlens Crash returned to the scene of his Rose Bowl victory in a supporting 380m open and a good break saw him clear the field at the first bend to score by 6 lengths in a very fast 23.35 (-30). The semi-finals of the Golden Jacket started with a victory for Lenson Pele in a moderate 46.84 (-70) with the Irish challenger Shaneless Becky coming from out the clouds to grab the vital 2nd spot. In the second semi-final Hometown Honey did what she needed to do and broke well and cleared the early paced Bubbly Swallow, Sidaz Dippy didn't break as well and a bump at the first bend left her with it all to do to qualify. Up front Hometown Honey raced clear and never looked in trouble though Midway Nick kept her honest and she only had 4 lengths to spare at the finish with Sidaz Dippy running a blinder to only miss out for a place in the final by a length in 3rd place, the time was a flying 45.97 (-70), Rick Holloway's Sidarian Jaguar took the final semi in good style in 46.15 (-70) and will be a big danger in the final if he breaks as fast as he did in the semi. The crucial trap draw sees Hometown Honey in trap 6 for next Saturday morning's big final and she is a shade of odds on so the pressure is on this week but she is very reliable these days and we are looking forward to what is always a great occasion.
Overall it was an excellent week on the open race front with 9 winners from 21 runners and there were some good performances from the likes of Jazz Tilly at Hove who flew round in a calculated 29.61 on Thursday and Ilewin Frimley was impressive on Friday night at Romford in poor conditions winning a 575m. At Wimbledon on Saturday Cornamaddy Jumbo was pitched in with his biggest rivals for the Springbok in a hot trial stake and though he ran and jumped well he was soundly beaten by Castlelyons Cofi and Razldazl Butch and will have to find 2 or 3 lengths when the competition gets underway next Saturday which I'm still very hopeful he can.
Sid Huett our head kennel hand is all signed up for Julie Collier's 'Fall For Hounds' Sky dive pencilled in for June and will be looking for sponsors over the next few months. I'm afraid I'm scared of heights and will not be signing up but will be making a massive effort over the next few months to get him well sponsored, click here for his link.
On Thursday at Hove Aero Twizzle got our open race action off to a good start taking a sprint by over 2 lengths in 16.54 (-20). Benkaat Nero on his third comeback run again ran well finishing 3rd over 515m while Jazz Tilly took off in a Ladies open scoring by 4 1/4 lengths in a flying 29.81 (-20).
A busy night at Romford on Friday where gales made it a difficult night though the track held its condition fairly well. On debut for us Black Francis didn't just stumble out the traps in a 575m Maiden Stayers he literally fell over and was some 20 lengths behind at one stage but this April 2012 did remarkably well to only get beaten about 4 lengths and looks a marathon star of the future. Ayamzaman was 2nd to sprint sensation Wee Tiger Tots while a Lightning Zeus showed the promise of the week before and just got up to land a a Maiden Stayers in 36.81 (-100). Ilewin Frimley ran a stormer after early trouble and won by 1 1/2 lengths in 37.14 (-100). Benkaat Boomer ran really well in a hot 400m when 2nd beaten a length and Blonde Razor seemed to get the worst of the deteriorating conditions on the inside when last in a warm 575m.
After Crayford on Saturday morning it was off to Wimbledon at night time and with plenty of trial stakes for the Springbok it was good to see Strawpedo Jet grab his first win over hurdles by 5 1/4 lengths in 30.04. Cornamaddy Jumbo was beaten 2 3/4 lengths in 29.62. In a trial before racing Garryglass Rodge went well beating the highly regarded Chicago in 28.89.
On Sunday at Henlow Benkaat Dolly only an April 12 whelp landed her first open race in a Maiden 550m by 2 lengths in 33.66. Blackstone Marco making his debut for the kennel found himself in all kinds of trouble after a missed break but in the end did well to finish 2nd beaten 2 1/2 lengths in 27.63 and will come on for the run. Adageo Brae ran well when 2nd in a 550m Midi.
No winners from our six runners but a good debut from Reel Slippy who was 4th in an A2 and not beaten far. Adageo Lad, Ollie Blue and Ilewin Aggen all ran well when filling the runners up spots.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Again our open racing starts on Thursday with runners at Hove. We will be at Romford on Friday but all roads lead to Crayford Saturday morning where Hometown Honey bids to land the prestigious Ladbrokes Golden Jacket while Aayamzamodel and hopefully defending champion Bridge Bandit look to win the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy for the third year running for the kennel.
On Saturday night the William Hill Springbok gets underway and Cornamaddy Jumbo and Strawpedo Jet represent the kennel in the Novice hurdle event we last won with Bomber Bailey in 2009.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We can count ourselves a little unlucky not to have a big priced runner in the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket final on Saturday as Sidaz Dippy just missed out by a lENgth in the semis. Sadly we did not put up Hometown Honey on value grounds and she now trades at odds on with all firms. Good news though that Aayamzamodel has made the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy final when winning her heat on Satiurday and she should go close.
I get the feeling Cornamaddy Jumbo will be a backable price in the William Hill Springbok after his defeat last Saturday and I can still see him improving and we should forgive him for that loss and have a decent wager on him to make amends when it really matters.
CORNAMADDY JUMBO - 5 pts win ante post - William Hill Springbok - Wimbledon - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AAYAMZAMODEL - 4 pts win ante post 11/2 - Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy - Crayford - final Saturday
SIDAZ DIPPY - 1 pt e.w ante post 25/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - lost