Monday 18th July 2011
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Wow!! what an unbelievable night last Thursday at Sunderland as Mark Currell's superstars Blonde Fletch and Blonde Snapper raced to an incredible double in the William Hill Festival. The scenes of jubilation from myself and Mark immediately afterwards were clear that these victories meant a great deal to the both of us and most definitely the long journey home from the North East seemed remarkably shorter!
There was no doubt that going into the two big finals we had serious chances of landing a double but in this competitive world you just knew it wasn't going to be easy. Some great trainers and greyhounds had surely got their preparation spot on and the pressure was on us to produce results especially after Julie Collier and the Sky cameras had come up to the kennel last Monday to film both our stars as well as going to lunch at the gorgeous Riverside Hotel in Mildenhall for a full interview.
Blonde Fletch was first up in the £15,000 to the winner Grand Prix, going in to the final unbeaten he was just shading favouratism at 7/4. Droopys Hestor for Jimmy Wright led up out wide followed by outsider Melview Ace. Blonde Fletch was not far off the pace but going into the first bends he manoeuvred sweetly inside trap 1 and chief rival in the betting Nyla Fantasy to turn 3r. Itt seemed like ages but by the run in Fletch was all over the leader Droopys Hestor and striking the front the race looked over but an ubelievable burst of pace from the strong Bower Hawk who almost drew alongside Fletch had our hearts in our mouths but thankfully Fletch had enough in reserve to hold on by a head in a good 39.45 to land the spoils from the game Bower Hawk. This was a repeat of the Regency result and though there are plenty of contenders Blonde Fletch now stands as the leading stayer in the country - he now has won the Category 1 William Hill Grand Prix, the Coral Regency and was runner up in the Ladbrokes Monmore Stayers Classic and has also won the Group 3 Queen Mother Stayers Trophy at Sheffield.
There was no time to rest as the next race was the £25,000 to the winner William Hill Classic and as soon as I got Blonde Snapper out the kennel my positive thoughts that a kennel and owner double were on the cards were confirmed as Snapper was a picture of health and absolutely out of his skin. The parade was quickly over and as they went into the traps all I wanted to see was that orange jacket at the front and it was. The race to the first bend as expected was won by Lampard but most importantly Snapper had swept around to loom on the shoulder of the leader coming off the second bend. The pace of Blonde Snapper down the back straight was breathtaking and he shot to the front before the third bend. Despite the runner up Lampard running a tremendous race to keep the winning distance down to only a length Blonde Snapper was never in danger and stopping the clock at a new track record of 26.59 a greyhound who has promised so much had now delivered in the second biggest race of the year.
Indeed the victory of Blonde Snapper was made even more special as he was virtually written off at the start of the year due to a serious wrist injury whilst trialling for the Harolds Cross Puppy Derby last September and his races prior to the Sunderland festival were restricted to just three - a good second at the Trainers Championship meeting was followed by a win at Sittingbourne on Sky and then a disastrous first round exit in the William Hill Derby resulting in him being sore again had put his career under a cloud. Thankfully the work put in by our team and our incredible Physio Ron Mills has paid dividends but one of the most important reasons for his recovery was when Ron Mills' partner Christine, who works for Zamar, lent us one of her Ice machines that was successfully used on the Queen's horse Carlton House, as they say you only get ot what you put in and in Blonde Snapper's case this is certainly true.
Of course winning on nights like these is very special and William Hill, under the bubbly and delightful Kate Miller, make it so brilliant for owners and trainers. Sunderland know how to do a big night and we hope that the Festival continues for many years to come. Sky were as usual superb and the Festival was their first show to be done in HD.
I again thank my staff for all their work and in particular to my head kennelhand Pete Vernon who had made the long trip up to Sunderland for the heats and semi's of the event but unfortunately had a pre-booked holiday two days before the final. Some people thought it was odd that I was on my own but with trials all day at Yarmouth and with Jazz Apollo in the heats of the Sussex Cup at Hove I stepped in as a late reserve for parading duties. Thank god it never went wrong! We are not quite sure on the plans for both Blonde Snapper and Blonde Fletch but a crack at the Select Stakes and Select Stayers are a possibility as is the Kent Derby for Snapper.
Anyone in the game would not begrudge owner Mark Currell his crowning moment. He has put an awful lot into the sport over the years and this made all that time and investment well worthwhile and we hope that he and our kennel, as with all our other owners, will be a force to reckon with for many years to come. If anyone would be interested in being a part of our great set up please don't think it's not possible to join us, we will welcome you with open arms. We shortly will be forming a kennel club that has one main aim and that is to find the next Blonde Fletch or Snapper so give me a call or watch out on this site for further details.
I have to mention the sad sad loss of top sprinter Rotar Wing who tragically was put to sleep after the sprint race. Sometimes there's just nothing you can say on the night but our deepest condolences go out to David Pruhs and his connections. I think I watched this special greyhound run more than twenty times and his pace was a joy to behold, it just don't seem fair sometimes.
In other news L&Q have put in their plans for Walthamstow despite the grilling they received from MP's over the last few weeks. It seems like they are trying to plough on regardless of all the objections from everyone including local residents. Our SOS team are strongly on the case and urge everyone to write in and object to their proposals. You can do this by clicking on the following link http://planning.walthamforest.gov.uk/PlanningExplorer/PLComments.aspx?pk=142737.
Rick and his team are on a mission to get greyhound racing back to Walthamstow and we all should make an effort to help SOS in their work. Please try and get as many people as you can to do the same, thank you.
Mountjoy Comet and Mountjoy Orion are both still going well in the Swindon Produce Stakes which reaches the semi-final stages this Wednesday with the £15,000 to the winner final on Saturday. A bit quick from semi to final which is strange but hopefully Comet who kept his unbeaten tag when winning his second round heat by 3/4 length in a modest 28.81 can handle it and Orion will certainly have no problems. She was well beaten in 3rd place but didn't run too bad considering the winner Mark My Words smashed the clock again. Paul Sallis has got this fast dog, a litter brother to Jazz Apollo, in great nick and is most definitely the one to beat. If we can get one or both to the final we will be stealing a march on our nearest rivals for the Trainers Championship who have not got any entries in this event, talking of which our victories in the William Hill Festival have catapulted us up to the top of the standings and we lead by 100 points but there's a long way to go.
Apart from the euphoria of winning both big races at the William Hill Festival at Sunderland and both Mountjoy Comet and Mountjoy Orion continuing participation in the Swindon Produce Stakes it was a quiet week on the open race front. Catunda Mae ran a good race when 3rd at Mildenhall on Tuesday. Prolific winner Lil Risky missed his break at Romford on Friday when only 4th and our runners at Sittingbourne didn't have much luck in running.
An excellent win from Rookery Pedro on Monday where he slammed Legit Jack by 5 1/4 lengths in a fine 27.93 (+20). Scodan Moet was a good second and Kinda Magical ran well to score by over 4 lengths in 28.06 (+20) in an A2. No luck on Saturday with Kildream Pet an unlucky 3rd and Carden Twilight ran well on his Yarmouth debut when second and Legit Jack was also second again just beaten 3/4 length in a good A1.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Opens at Yarmouth tonight starting their summer season. The semi-finals at Swindon of the Produce Stakes sees both Mountjoy Comet and Mountjoy Orion in action with the finals on Saturday. Plans for the rest of the week are to be decided.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Brilliant wins for Blonde Snapper and Blonde Fletch at Sunderland should have given us a huge profit but not getting back from my trip to Vegas until the day of the heats stopped me recommending both ante-post, I hope a few people backed them blind. At least we had a good bet on Fletch in the final. Sadly no ante-post betting for the Produce Stakes so no bets for Mountjoy Comet. No runners on the Sky card tomorrow at Kinsley and no competitions starting this week so we will wait for a bet until next week.
Dave Wood at Questhouse Kennels has decided to Donate an upcoming pup from the following mating Black Shaw x Little Molly. Molly is litter sister to Little Urge who has already clocked 7 x 100 plus ratings on Data, brother Jog On Barney (Formerly Little Bargain) clocked 28-76 Clonmel as a puppy, the back breeding is straight from the Top Drawer.
He will Rear the pup through to 12 Months whereby it then becomes the responsibility of the winning owner.
The Owner can visit the pup as often as they like and whenever they like and will be kept fully up to date via regular Pics and videos.
Entries are £10 a Ticket and cheques can be made payable to 'Give a bit back' and sent to
Dave Wood... 31 Foulden Bastle... Berwick upon Tweed... TD15 1UL,
if you include your name and address with your cheque I shall post your tickets straight away.
Or you can also pay via Paypal via the following link www.questhousekennels.co.uk/for%20sale/for_sale.html
Remember that one of the receiving charities is the Retired Greyhound Trust,. Please please try and give as much as you can, after all Daren is literally bursting his body up to Give a bit back and we as a sport can show our support by giving as much to his charity drive.
REMEMBER you can buy MORE than 1 Ticket, the more you buy the more chances you have of winning and the more money that goes to help our Retired Greyhounds and Helps Our Heroes.