Monday 21st July 2014
(Opens to a third party website)
It's been a while since my last full blog as I only returned from my Las Vegas trip on Tuesday where I certainly celebrated my 50th birthday (a bit early I know as it's the 22nd August) in style! A lot has happened in the greyhound world and I'm pleased to say our kennel has ticked over nicely with plenty of winners while I was away and I thank Sarah and all my staff for all their hard work.
I have done a full blog on my Las Vegas Poker experience which you can read by clicking here.
The main feature while I was away was the William Hill Festival at Sunderland. Clearly our only entry in the £25,000 to the winner Classic, Aero Nemesis, was not suited to the track and bowed out in the first round but we had high hopes in the Grand Prix over 640m and Reel Trickyone won well in the first round with our other three entries all qualifying. The semi's produced a winner in Adageo Bob and he was joined in the final by Aayamzamodel and both Reel Trickyone and Jazz Tilly were eliminated. Unfortunately both Bob and Model never got the clearest of runs after moderate breaks in the final and finished 4th and 6th respectively though neither was beaten far. Congratulations to both Pat Rosney with Mileheight Alba for winning the Classic and Yarmouth based Kevin Boon for winning the Grand Prix with Farloe Rio.
The politics of the sport still wrangle on, even in the last three weeks we have got as far as we got a few years ago, absolutely nowhere! Tom Kelly writes that he didn't realise how bad things were for the majority of trainers, he obviously doesn't believe Rick Holloway and the GTA who have told him so many times and as much as I have tried to stay clear of the politics of the sport it was only a year ago I sent him personally a 4 or 5 page dossier on the costs of running a kennel and what the wider implications of an underfunded sport would be. Thankfully through the hard work of myself and my staff we have turned things round in our kennel over the last year and we are reasonably full with most of our dogs having owners which means simply we are now on a break even target or simply just not losing as much as we were a year ago. I'm not moaning or anything, it's a choice we make, but it still doesn't make it right, it still seems the only ones doing very well thank you out of our industry are the bookmakers and promoters!
The top open racing still carries decent prize money, if you are lucky enough to win, but the costs to owners of trying to achieve this is fast becoming a real problem. Transport costs and poor 'also ran' money in open racing puts a serious question mark on whether it's worth doing the extra miles in search of open race winners. We are again lucky that when we travel it's normally with more than 3 or 4 runners so the costs can be split between the owners. This certainly can't be the case for many smaller sized kennels. I personally think we are only a small matter of time away from cutting down on the travelling and staying more at one track. This will mean we only concentrate on the Category 1 and 2 competitions and if that means we are at a disadvantage in trying to win the Trainer Of The Year award then so be it. The rewards for that title are a joke anyway and it's a good job the honour of being crowned Trainer Of The Year still means a lot to me or I would think long and hard about being an open race trainer. For those that think 'oh that Mark Wallis is ok he's off to Vegas for two weeks' then I can assure you that this is not funded through greyhound racing, my friends and family that are close to me know how hard I work away from the sport in what I do to get any luxuries in life.
The majority of my owners are still with me because I'm still very ambitious to capture the top prizes and the one in particular that has eluded our kennel is the Oaks but this year we might just have the answer as the magnificent Evanta Evita landed a seven timer on Thursday at Hove. She certainly has the right attributes to be an Oaks winner but I will have to be careful in making sure she is not over raced. With the event probably pencilled in for late in the year we also have the problem of a seasonal intervention but that can't be helped. Along with Evanta Evita I like Aero Babooshka, Evanta Fantasy, Domino Storm, Airforce Anna, Aayamzaone and Saffrons Roxsy who could all progress to be Oaks class. Talking of the Trainer Of The Year award earlier I see our lead at the top has been cut into slightly and sponsors Ladbrokes have us at 1/6 to win our 6th title. I do expect this lead to be cut further and it will be interesting if Ladbrokes makes us a backable price at say 1/2 as I might be tempted to play.
Our 5 to Follow competition has started nicely with many winners, some expected and in many lists, some not so. The aptly named team 'Get Em Ready Sid' with McColl Team 1 were our early leaders but I'm sure this can change quickly, thank you to all those that took the time and effort to enter.
As I said our winners have ticked over nicely over the last three weeks. At Hove on their regular Thursday night opens puppy Snappers Lad won well on July 3rd but undoubtably the star of the show has been Evanta Evita who has rattled up a seven timer including winning her last four races at Hove 29.73 being her best time.
Also our regular Friday nights to Romford have yielded plenty of winners. On July 4th both Toosey Fern and Killie Prince got off the mark in 400 and 575m Maiden opens respectively. On July 11th there was another brace of winners with Adageo Brae (575m) and Black Francis (750m) both obliging. Last Friday we again had another brace when Adageo Bob bolted in by an incredible 13 lengths in 35.10 and Huggies Buck, an interesting new recruit to our kennel, got off at the second time of asking over 400m.
Our other open racing has been on Sundays mainly at Sittingbourne but also at Henlow. We had no success until this Sunday where Ilewin Allot landed his second sprint competition at Sittingbourne scoring by just over a length in 16.45. At Henlow last night some of our runners ran well first time up without winning but we can always rely upon win machine Reel Trickyone who won over 460m in the heats of the Lucky 7 Duall Distance Trophy.
A good night on July 5th where litter brothers Toosey Snapper (A2) and Toosey Parker (A4) both obliged and Swift Finn got off the mark winning an A1 in 28.20.
On the July 12th Benkaat Dolly earned a well deserved success in A2 company in 28.33.
Last Wednesday also scoring for the first time was Evanta Nemo in an A2 and Benkaat Boomer made it four A1's on the spin as he won well with Swift FInn a shade unlucky.
On Saturday it was great to see December 12 puppy Saffrons Roxsy get off the mark with a 4 3/4 length win in an A4 in a fine 28.35. Plenty of seconds on the night as well including April Mirth in the heats of the Owners Bonus Series.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tomorrow at Sheffield Aayamzabella prepares for the TV Trophy with a race over 915m.
On Thursday we have some useful runners in the supporting competitions for the Sussex Cup including Evanta Evita and Snappers Lad amongst others.
Back to Romford on Friday and Henlow on Sunday where Reel Trickyone bids to land another competition when he runs in the Lucky 7 Dual Distance final over 550m.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Adageo Bob made the William Hill Grand Prix Final at Sunderland last week but unluckily for our supporters finished out the first four.
It's been a while then so what have we got for a bet this week. Without knowing the draws for Hove Thursday it's difficult to select one of our runners. At Romford on Friday we have a couple of newcomers running in Maidens but again it's difficult to bet blind. One dog who struck me as a bet next time is Black Francis who seems to be getting more consistent with every run and could be value to go one better than last Friday.
BLACK FRANCIS - 4 pts win - Romford - Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ADAGEO BOB - 2.5 pts e.w ante post - William Hill Grand Prix - Sunderland - lost