Monday 17th March 2008
One of the best nights in the greyhound year has to be the Trainers Championship meeting where the top six trainers from the previous year compete in a series of eight races and this year's renewal on Tuesday at Wimbledon live on Sky Sports promises to be one of the best ever as all the trainers are using their best dogs available. We are fielding quite possibly our strongest side to date and although we are second favourites in the bookmakers ante-post lists behind Charlie Lister's team I do feel we have an excellent chance of regaining the title we so nearly won at Hall Green last year and we can certainly take heart that when the meeting was last staged at Plough Lane two years a go we were victorious even though we started as 10/1 outsiders. Here is a run down of our team for Tuesday:-
460m DIV B:-
EYE ONTHE VETO - Automatic choice for our side after his heroics last year winning three Category 1 races though he needs to step up on recent trials. Our fellow is well and an in form 'Veto' would make his rivals look slow. A win in this first race would see us off to a great start, danger looks to be Barry Draper's pacey Farloe Niall.
OBAFEMI - Not having a natural sprinter in the kennel has given us the most problems for this competition but in this young early-paced Blackjack Tom dog we are hoping he can get a good pitch from his rails draw and at least run into a place to score good points. He won't let us down but a massive task against some top class sprinters.
MISSED A TRAIN - The Championship is now warming up and in an open looking puppy race all connections will feel they can win and in Missed A Train we have a pup that has good all round pace and although it was disappointing to have missed the Monmore Puppy Derby because of a cut foot sustained in the last trial stake we now have a strong chance of winning this race. Forget last week's trial time and back him to gain maximum points for us.
668m STAYERS DIV B
BUTTERBRIDGE ALI - Would have been one of the first dogs on our team sheet at the end of the year as this character was a real star last year winning a stack of good races and was runner up in two Category 1 races, but looks to have gone off the boil and put in a poor run in his last race at the Stow. A change of everything in this dog's training seems to have worked judging on last week's confidence-boosting trial at the Stow and 'Ali' is ready to silence his doubters. Nap nap nap! for us to go into the second half with a lead.
480m DIV B:-
DIRECTORS CHAIR - Brilliant six bend star who I rate as good a stayer as I have put a lead on. Layed off since his desperately unlucky defeat in the Prestige he has to be kept fresh for four bend races and has drawn a tough race but will be spot on to ruffle a few big guns' feathers. Win or lose I can't see him out of the first three.
460m DIV A:-
EYEONTHE FORCE - A strategical choice in Div A, I make this race the key to our chances at this stage of the night as our rivals have good chances in this but 'Blackie' is unbeaten at Wimbledon and possesses good all round pace though the loss of the stripes is a worry.
668m STAYERS DIV A:-
AERO BLACKJACK - To say I was worried was an understatement when this young star was knocked over last Thursday in his warm up race but thankfully he is fine and in my opinion he is going to show why he will be a serious contender for the St Leger later in the year. He has the well drawn trap 1 Big Brett Coal to fear most.
480m DIV A:-
CENTAUR DECREE - As the saying goes 'worth the admission price alone' this tremendous contest is a fitting end to what hopefully will be a glorious night for our kennel and in 'James' what better greyhound would we want to run for us. In form! well! and a great draw could have us in the headlines once again.
These are my thoughts on the Championship and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my staff for their massive efforts not only for this event but for all the hard work in getting us in the top six of the country - something we shouldn't take for granted and even though we have commitments at both Oxford and Walthamstow the night is a testament to all our achievement. Also a big thank you to our owners for letting us use their pride and joys for this special night and well done to Ian Greaves, Michael White (Diarmud Lynch), Jimmy Fenwick, Tom McGrath, Liz Body (Eugene Price) and Tony McCarthy for supplying the dogs to our owners for the team.
While our finished articles are performing on the big stage at Wimbledon it is great to see our future stars trialling at Walthamstow at the moment and a number of promising pups are due to appear both in trials and races. This week four of former kennel superstar Star Of Dromin's pups are having their first trials and by all accounts have schooled well. A litter from a potential top brood bitch Droopys Nectar are now on their last trials and will be on the graded card soon and are ones to watch out for while three Previous (dam of Daisyfeild Seanie) pups look like they have plenty of early. Two exciting pups from Crash x Not So Dark are also due to trial soon and the Centaur syndicate has some decent stock trialling as well including our FiveTo Follow competition winner Centaur Canvey who flew round in her first trial.
Only two weeks to go now to the renewal of 'Harlow Day' kicking off at 11 am with a football match - Walthamstow versus a Harlow Eleven when yours truly will be digging the boots out again. Rumours are plenty that Barry Silkman and Teddy Sheringham may turn out for Harlow! In the afternoon an inter track meeting between Harlow, Walthamstow and Romford with some good class opens will be the order off the day organised by Maurice Newman with a charity auction taking place shortly after the last race. Finally I will be organising a Poker tournament starting at 7 pm, registration from 6 pm which will be a £30 re-buy with 10% of the prize pool going to charity. So if you fancy a top day's action put March 30th in your diaries!
The week started off at Romford with the heats of the Coral TV Marathon over 750m and Genesis Sister was made favourite for her heat but a slight stumble out the traps saw her in big trouble and it was left to kennelmate Eye Onthe Power to lead until the last bend where he was outstayed by Transtown Mul in 48.82 (-60) beaten 1 1/2 lengths with Genesis Sister back in 4th. In the other heat Twilight Fantasy disappointed when eliminated.
Only one entry was accepted for the heats of the Pall Mall at Oxford on Thursday and boy did Seanis Lad make a statement with a flying exit he won the first heat by over 2 lengths in a very fast 26.49 (+20) only 12 spots off the 450m track record. At Walthamstow on the same night Genesis Dream continued her great form in Div 2 of the 640m Stayers blasting out of the traps to lead all the way and win by 2 3/4 lengths in 39.70. Lockdale Diamond looked to have Div 2 of the 475m puppy all wrapped up as he showed good pace to be 3 lengths clear down the back straight but Westmead Diver, a strong running Westmead Hawk pup, collared him close home in 29.16. Elusive Tuesday ran another good race when second in Div 2 of the 475m Maiden beaten 2 1/2 lengths in 29.05. Aero Blackjack took a tumble at the first bend in a warm 640m open but is all OK and Rockburst Mason, who was very unlucky when knocked out of the Monmore Puppy Derby, produced a great performance to catch Barry Silkman's Carlsberg Flash by 3/4 length in a good 28.78. In Div 1 of the 475m Maiden Castlemary Podge produced a scintillating burst of early pace (4.92 sec) when beating a decent field in 29.02. Genesis Jose chased home Hove raider Smooth Boat but was well beaten by over 3 lengths in 40.27.
In the 750m Coral TV Marathon final at Romford on Friday Eye Onthe Power, after a poor break, forced his way to the front during the first lap but had no answers to the chasing pack eventually finished 4th to Ashwood Flyer in 48.31. Our other two runners both ran well Roszwell Zodiac was 3rd in a 400m Standard and Centaur Cappo was runner up in a 750m Maiden when not quite catching leader Ballycahane Fox who held on by 1 1/2 lengths in 48.21.
On going rated a second slow Special Roxi won an A4 in 30.31 by a head after one of her better breaks. Centaur Gemstone was caught out by the going when she led until the run in before ending in 4th place and Fools Ands Horses scored again in a messy race by 1 1/4 lengths in 30.51,.Chilli Blue was well clear at the first bend before a pile up behind allowed him to be slightly flattered by his 7 3/4 length win in 30.51.
Tuesday's graded card had Lews Trickster (3rd), Centaur Elise (2nd) before veteran Eye Onthe Jewel won the S1 by 3/4 length in 40.27. So Said He followed last week's promising return from injury with a bold 3 1/2 length success in 29.08. Treacle Rose had an early paced battle with Arry Olt before the pair were collared close home by Journey Back in 29.26 (-10). Blues Wish for a change managed to get round the first two bends unscathed and promptly ran away from her field to score by over 5 lengths in 40.27 (-15).
Saturday night was a busy night with fifteen on the card and the night started well with Notanothersecond winning the first race by a 1/2 length in 29.77. A tidy A7 was won on merit by 3 3/4 lengths by Centaur Lucky who showed good all round pace in a time of 29.40 (-20). Ingenious (2nd) , Eye Onthe Spirit (3rd), Treacle Drum (2nd), Blackmagic Rose (2nd) and Roswell Gemini (3rd) all ran well and then Discreet Cat returned to winning ways when taking the S1 by 1/2 a length in 40.86(-60). Directors Ruler gained his first win when dropped into graded company for the first time. Leading at the second this big son of Persian Ruler went through the heavy conditions to score by 2 3/4 lengths in 29.73 (-40). Vigorous Whitney was second running on well in the A3 and to round up a good night for the kennels Bell Classic bolted in after catching leader Wheres Your Man at half way to go on and win by 5 lengths in 29.63 (-50).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACE:- SEANIS LAD
GRADED:- CENTAUR LUCKY
WHATS ON THIS WEEK
Tuesday is Trainers Championship night at Wimbledon, while at Oxford the semi-final of the Pall Mall sees Seanis Lad run from an awkward trap 5. A usual array of opens at Walthamstow are on Thursday while the ground-breaking meeting on Good Friday at Romford should give open race fans plenty to savour.
LIKE HOT CAKES The Betdirect Get Involved Trophy 2008, Hall Green
GENESIS ALIX The Freephone Betdirect Trophy 2008, Hall Green
AERO BLACKJACK William Hill Stakes 2008, Wimbledon
EYE ONTHE FORCE Racing Post Stakes 2008, Wimbledon
GENESIS DREAM Stan James Ladies Stakes 2008, Wimbledon
TREACLE ROSE Ladbrokes Arc Heat 8 2008, Walthamstow
AERO BLACKJACK Ladbrokes Puppy Stayers 2008, Walthamstow
CENTAUR DECREE Ladbrokes Arc Final 2008, Walthamstow
GENESIS DREAM Ladbrokes Spring Festival 630 Final, Monmore