Monday 19th January 2015
(Opens to a third party website)
It was certainly a week that had plenty of talking points both on and off the track for Imperial Kennels. The week started with a full on card at Romford featuring the Coronation Cup Final the first big race of 2015. We of course had high hopes with Adageo Bob and Vanfrenchie and also expected some winners on the supporting card live on a Sky Sports with a few strong entries. In truth it never quite worked out for our team with stars like Blonde Razor (4th), Aayamzaone(2nd) and Vanrooney (3rd) not far away but never looking like they were going to win. There was one bright spot as Evanta Fantasy demolished a strong field of mainly dogs to win in a blistering 23.76 and she looks a bitch well and truly on form. Adageo Bob was an uneasy favourite and I won't lie when I say we have had a couple of injury and preparation issues before and during the competition. No excuses in the final though as I felt he was 95% right. He broke well enough from trap 5 but an electric ping on the outside from Soviet Kenny saw him turn second behind John Mullins' charge. Twice Bob's move was blocked and in the end the winning line came too soon and he was beaten by 1/2 length in a fast 34.90 fair and square. Vanfrenchie never really got into the race but his time will come I'm sure. Yes it would have been nice to see Adageo Bob land a big competition at Romford that he so richly deserves but it wasn't to be and now he will have a month off and we will bring him back for our Trainers Championship team in late March wherever that might take place.
The phone call I was expecting came the next day when we were told Casheen Maureen had been sold and was off to pastures new. She came to us unexpectedly in October and in between then and when she left us on Wednesday we won our first ever Oaks, for that we are deeply grateful and we wish her and the new connections well for the future.
We needed a bit of a lift afterwards and we had that both on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday night at Towcester. Firstly a Trainers meeting on Wednesday with both Kevin Ackerman and Chris Page went well and some good discussions were well listened to on both sides. We are all very pleased with the first six weeks of the new venture and their decision to move racing from a Thursday night to a Sunday afternoon in the future should be a good one. I can see a massive interest in a family afternoon meeting where people don't need to be up early then can enjoy a Sunday lunch watch the racing and arrive home at a decent time. When the weather gets better we could see some large attendances (still free to enter) this could be a huge boost to the track, this of course will be reciprocated back to owners and trainers financially which we would need as Sundays will require extra staff to cover the racing etc. We have already been amazed by the crowds on Saturday nights since the opening two meetings and the amount of children enjoying the evening's entertainment has been surprising.
On the track on Thursday it was another good night for our open racers with wins for Black Francis, Blue Moment, Killmagner Mike and most pleasing Evanta El Greco who took the January £500 Standard final in good style. Greco could be a dog to follow in 2015 as he seems to be improving. I love the track and certainly think it has had some unfair criticism saying it only favours front running railers. Yes in opens at Towcester, as in the case at all tracks, when good class open racers lead they very rarely get beat, simply quality dogs don't come back! In graded races on both Friday and Saturday there were plenty of dogs winning from off the pace and from the wide boxes so there is little justification on that criticism. It's a safe track and the eight dog racing has been a revelation. The facilities are first class with the excellent restaurant which has been very busy and executive boxes which can be hired for reasonable deals offering brilliant viewing. To me it's the best move our kennel could have possibly made and gives our kennel a secure future.
A decent weekend with our graded strength all running well including a belated win for Poodle Star owned by a certain Lord Hesketh which was nice. We can now look forward to our week ahead. On the track our only entry in the Partex Marking Sytems Prestige heats at Hall Green on Wednesday is Billys Bullet who trialled well over the 645m trip on Friday when recording a decent 39.52, opens at Towcester on Thursday include a competitive 686m final where the in form Black Francis should go well.
Off the track we head to the London Lancaster at the weekend for the annual GBGB Greyhound Of The Year awards night and as usual the Black Tie affair should be a night to savour. I will be a proud man picking our sixth 'Trainer Of The Year' award for Imperial Kennels and all eyes will be on who wins the coveted Greyhound Of The Year award which surely must be one of the most open for as many years as I can remember. Cornamaddy Jumbo, who sustained a small gracillis injury in a trial last week and is likely to be out of action for up to 6 weeks, is a live contender and there will be plenty of champagne flowing if his name comes out the envelope. Whatever the result we will enjoy the night.
Just two nights open race action last week with Romford mentioned above and on Thursday at Towcester we had a great night. Killmagner Mike stepping up to 480m used his good early pace to his advantage and held on gamely to win by 1/2 length in 28.46 calc. What A Laugh should have won the Puppy open after leading but ran extraordinarily wide at the 3rd bend allowing Honest John to beat him by 1 1/2 lengths in a moderate 28.94.
Black Francis was again impressive in the heats of the January £500 Super Stayers winning by a length in 39.85. It was good to see Blue Moment win again when taking a good 480m in 28.64, he could well have a very decent 2015.
Aclamon Josie ran well enough making her six bend debut over 655m when runner up. In the feature race of the night the January £500 Standard final we had to withdraw on the day Vanfrankie who has a small tendon injury which left Calco Flyer and Evanta El Greco as our kennel runners and both broke well but Greco chopped Calco Flyer off both at the first bend and again at the 3rd bend and kicked on to land the final by 3 1/4 lengths in 28.66.
On Friday from our five runners Swift Gust in her third ever start took advantage of an easier race to lead at the final bend and pull away to win well by 6 1/4 lengths in 28.94. Kid Charlemagne & Brocatsea Bhoy both found trouble when at the back in an A6. Vanbasten led an eight dog B4 right up to the line before getting beat a neck in a good 28.68 with Darian Star back in 6th.
On Saturday in front of a decent crowd our first runner Vanmaestro, having only his third ever race, flew from the traps and won well in an A5 by 3 1/4 lengths in a fine 28.61. Poodle Star has had a mixed start in his first four races for owner Lord Hesketh but a flying break (4.05 sec) saw him clear in a P5 and despite coming back to the field he hung on to win by 3/4 length in 28.82. Roswell De Niro was second beaten 4 1/2 lengths in a fast run A2. In a good A1 Domino Storm was 3rd and ran well and Aero Gerry was also 3rd in an A2.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
On Wednesday the Partex Marking Systems Prestige heats kick off on Hall Green's Bags card and Billys Bullet flies the flag for the kennel.
An open race card at Towcester on Thursday features the final of the January £500 Super Stayers with Black Francis in good form.
We will be at Romford on Friday with a few runners.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Adageo Bob was a brave second in the Coronation Cup on Tuesday while Vanrooney ran well but could only finish a close up 3rd in a 750m. This week the Partex Marking Systems Prestige kicks off and we only have one runner in the shape of Billys Bullet, he does have a tough draw in the first round but if he can qualify he could go close.
BILLYS BULLET - 2 pts e.w ante post - Partex Marking Systems Prestige - Hall Green - starts Wednesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ADAGEO BOB - 5 pts win ante post 9/4 - Coral Coronation Cup - Romford - lost
VANROONEY - 2 pts win - Romford - Tuesday - lost