Monday 19th March 2012
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Going into the first bend at Monmore on Thursday Benkaat Blue looked to have a magnificent chance of landing the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby but in a split second it all went wrong for him. Slightly moving into the middle behind pace setter Newinn Rocket our fella somehow got tangled up with trap 5 Guinness Dusty and checked over the back of Seamus Cahill's runner losing all chance of winning and eventually finishing last behind Pat Rosney's Newinn Rocket. Congratulations to Pat and his team on a well deserved win. It was a bitter blow for both us and owner Dan Daley but I'm sure Benkaat Blue will get plenty more chances of landing a big competition in the coming months. It wasn't the best of nights for the kennel at Monmore with Aero Majestic unable to overcome a difficult draw in trap 6 when a well beaten favourite but at least two of our kennel stars gained confidence boosting wins over at Henlow on the same night namely Lil Risky and Blonde Snapper.
One of the best things about having a decent kennel strength of good class runners is that there is always tomorrow when things don't quite go according to plan and we most certainly have that luxury this week. Both Aero Majestic and Aero Joker return to Monmore for the Ladbroke Spring Festival Stayers today and will have a reasonable chance of winning the two run event worth £5,000 to the winning connections. Most importantly we can all focus on one of the highlights of the greyhound year the Betfair Trainers Championship at Perry Barr this Wednesday. Despite all the politics leading up to the event I'm sure once the action gets underway we can all enjoy the spectacle of seeing some magnificent racing where nerves will be on edge as the six trainers compete for a £10,000 winning prize. Our team was announced on Friday and the draw made at the GBGB offices which I have to say has not been kind to us. From our eight runners five are seeded rails and not one has drawn trap 1 or 2, we have one in trap 3 three in trap 4 and one in trap 5! Overall I'm pleased with our team but realistically we have it all to do to win the Championship we last won at Doncaster in 2010. Here's my review of the races and our team:-
RACE 1 - 480M STANDARD - DIV D - ROOKERY PEDRO
Mottos Blue for Charlie Lister looks unexposed while Nick Savva's Westmead Aouita looks in between trips. Maireads Hawk looks to have lost its form and is drawn poorly in trap 4 for Chris Allsopp. A lot of eyes will be on Droopys Oscar's return for Seamus Cahill though the draw in trap 1 is far from ideal. Dean Childs comes into the event as a late reserve which is very much deserved and has been rewarded with getting one of his leading guns Droopys Loner in this division. If she pings the lids like she did in last week's Arc final at Swindon she might be away and gone. We have Rookery Pedro, third in last year's East Anglian Derby, who has been in good form at Henlow this year. It's a tough ask but being the only seeded runner out wide he could score vital points.
Positives - good draw and very game
Negatives - 480m could really stretch his stamina
RACE 2 - 275M SPRINT - LIL RISKY
Lil Risky has been in scintillating form of late winning his last four sprints and is pinging the lids at the moment and he will need to more than ever drawn awfully in trap 4. Former champion sprinter Jimmy Lollie is making a sensational comeback for this championship and judging by recent trials is chomping at the bit. That said my only problem is that he is drawn inside us which is a real hazard as he definitely is no railer. Added to that we have the National Sprint winner Drumcove Lad in trap 3 so it's a tall order for Lil Risky to win for us. Taylors Ace scorched round Nottingham in 17.72 but this is a big step up in class. Both Westmead Shaw and Leos Options are drawn well but would need all four of the main principles to falter.
Positives - in great form and absolutely pinging the lids Negatives - poor draw and huge ask to try and clear both Drumcove Lad and Jimmy Lollie at the bend
RACE 3 - 480M PUPPY STANDARD - BENKAAT BLUE
I thought initially trap 5 for Benkaat Blue is far from ideal but after the way he has coped with these draws over recent weeks it may not be the worst draw in the world if he came out in his best style. This he will have to do as there is a lot of early pace inside him with the likes of Droopys Stevie, Smart Bid and most likely Charlie Lister's highly rated Farloe Tango all likely to go up fast. Guinness Kev is well drawn on the outside for Seamus Cahill. This could turn out to be a messy race but one Charlie Lister will be banking on.
Positives - very experienced puppy has run well from outside draws
Negatives - first time up and not sure to clear the inside runners
RACE 4 - 660M STAYERS - DIV B - BALLINTINE MOLLY
My first impression is that a few in this race will struggle to get this tough 660m race except our in form Ballintine Molly who, if she can trap in her best style, could well be our best chance of a winner on the night. Ballymac William and Westmead Bolt are the class acts but will be all ou. Charlie Lister's Franks Four is difficult to work out and Droopys Beano for Seamus Cahill has a flying 29.93 win at Nottingham on his card and could well be the one to beat if he stays.
Positives - in form and stays well
Negatives - looks more at home at tighter tracks
RACE 5 - 480M STANDARD - DIV C - DIXIES AIR
Bucks Blade for Charlie Lister has a great record of 11 wins from 15 races and has a plum draw on the fence and will take some beating. Freds Champ for Chris Allsopp looks well suited to the galloping track and should go close while Springbok winner Westmead Melanie is an interesting runner for Nick Savva. Pennys Viking for Dean Childs was a class act last year but may need a run or two before he will be back to his best and Guinness Magic has a lot of early but could be vulnerable. I must admit if we had another week or two with Dixies Air I could really fancy this fella who has real ability. Having been off for a few weeks before Christmas with a cough he returned to bolt up in a puppy race for the Premier League in January at Yarmouth. Sadly he came down with a bad virus again and has been off for 6 weeks, only had a couple of sprints back and a 480m at Perry Barr on Friday (28.72) and is entitled to come on a ton for the spin but this is a huge ask in such a competitive race.
Positives - good draw in trap 3, big strong dog and has all round pace
Negatives - only had one race so far this year and has been ill, might need a run or two to reach full fitness
RACE 6 - 480M STANDARD - DIV B - JAZZ APOLLO
Another poor draw in trap 4 for our fella who could encounter a lot of traffic problems on the run up. It will still be hard to keep him out of the first three as he loves running at a track first time. Some good class runners from the other trainers but Boher Paddy for Charlie Lister looks the biggest certainty on the whole card and has a great draw in trap 2.
Positives - loves it first time up and is in great form Negatives - poor draw and likely to have to pass at least four dogs to win
RACE 7 - 660M STAYERS - DIV A - MOUNTJOY ORION
Without Blonde Fletch in the team we have gone for the dropping down in trip Mountjoy Orion but her draw in trap 4 is far from ideal and she has some early pace to clear on her inside especially from Charlie Lister's Lonely Boy who again has a plot draw in trap 1 while also out wide the strong running Skywalkershearer and Peggys Style could put any chance of scoring well in this race in serious jeopardy. We will need her to smash out to have any chance. Freedom Cache looks an interesting runner for Dean Childs while Bubbly Swallow is hard to catch right.
Positives - can explode from boxes and will stay well if in front Negatives - not a great battler if led and will do well to clear trap 1
RACE 8 - 480M STANDARD - DIV A - BLONDE SNAPPER
As usual this leg is as good as any Category 1 final and again we see some giants of the game. Derby champion Taylors Sky has looked faster than ever in his recent trials and will take all the beating. Respect for Freedom Chief and Sids Dream who are well drawn and Sakara Star and Westmead Maldini will produce power packed finishes. Blonde Snapper renews rivalry with Taylors Sky and has been in great form this term winning three of his four races to date and looks in good nick. He runs a track brilliant first time up and will attempt to lead all the way. Must lead round the first two bends to hold any chance and might prove vulnerable if he doesn't, a race to savour whatever the outcome.
Positives - great first time up and well drawn in trap 4 Negatives - trip will really test him and will struggle if led
It will take a monumental effort from our team to win the title although we definitely have a strong line up. We have too many poor draws to think we can really win but will enjoy the night and hope all our runners come home safe and sound. Ballintine Molly looks our best chance of a winner and sometimes you never know. Charlie Lister has a good team and will have both Boher Paddy and Taylors Sky as cast iron certs, another winner should land him the title. Dean Childs, despite a late call up, should do well on the night and could be in the first three. Perry Barr will be an excellent venue and all the action will as usual be brilliantly covered by Sky Sports.
A quiet week leading up to the Trainers Championship with all eyes on the Ladbrokes Monmore Puppy Derby last Thursday. As said no luck for Benkaat Blue who was a disappointing last while none of the Forsdike syndicates 'Aero' dogs on the card could land a blow in their respective races.
Over at Henlow it was good to see Lil Risky start the night with another explosive start in the sprint en route to winning in 16.56. Penskey John (2nd), Munster Champ (3rd), Confident Ramona (2nd) and Aldataro Lass (2nd) all ran well before Blonde Snapper took a 460m in a good 27.51.
No luck at Romford on Friday with a handful of runners where Clarecastle Dub was best when a well beaten second.
On Wednesday Big Step beat Bit View Emma in an A1 by 2 lengths in a good 28.19. In the Easter Bunny heats Mountjoy Eagle ran very well to just go down by a neck in a fast 28.02 and Risky Blue also qualified for tonight's final when second in his heat. Improving pups Adageo Brae (3rd) and Darian Marvel, who won an A3 in 28.42, both look strong running.
On Saturday Big Step followed up Wednesday's win with another A1 victory in 28.12 with Swift Tigress in third. Planning made a winning debut in an A4 showing good raw pace for a novice landing the spoils by 3 1/4 lengths in 28.83. Brocatsea Celt and Corrig Vincent both ran well when second while Lil Magic scored an overdue win in A3 by 2 3/4 lengths in 28.73 to complete another good night for the kennel.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Today at Monmore the Ladbrokes Spring 630 gets underway with both Aero Majestic and Aero Joker in midfield draws but optimistic of making Friday's decider.
All eyes will be focusSed on Perry Barr on Wednesday as the Betfair Trainers Championship kicks off with eight terrific legs and all the action can be seen live on Sky Sports.
Elsewhere we will be at Hove on Thursday and at Romford on Friday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We have to be gutted that Benkaat Blue lost not only a winning position at the first bend but a place in the first four in the Midland Puppy Derby when finding trouble last Thursday, the 8/1 ante-post was tasty to say the least!
Back to the drawing board this week and the Betfair Trainers Championship meeting at Perry Barr is a starting place. Prices are not out as we speak but I couldn't recommend us for the title given we have so many bad draws but I do fancy a couple of our team, in particular Ballintine Molly has been very unlucky when winning two, yes two! void races. Pitched in Division B of the Stayers I think she has all round pace that can make worth a decent bet but be advised to get the best price available perhaps tomorrow as Im sure she could be shorter on the night. The only other serious prospect of a bet for me has to be Dixies Air though I think he might just be short of a run to be going too mad on.
BALLINTINE MOLLY - 3 pts win - Betfair Trainers Championship - 8.35 Perry Barr - Wednesday
DIXIES AIR - 1 pt win - Betfair Trainers Championship - 8.50 Perry Barr - Wednesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BENKAAT BLUE - 2.5 pts e.w ante-post 8/1 - Ladbrokes Monmore Puppy Derby - lost