Monday 24th November 2008
Not the best ever week results wise for the kennel and despite what has been an excellent year so far I'm still disappointed not to have any runners in both the Romford Puppy Cup Final next Friday and also the semi-finals of the Essex Vase which we have won the previous two years with Eye Onthe Veto. The good news for us in the Trainers Championship is that we have almost a 200 point lead which looks impossible for our closest rivals to overhaul.
Talking of Eye Onthe Veto, his elimination at the first round stage of the Essex Vase was sadly his final race and myself and owner John Keefe can look back on 'Veto's' fantastic career that reads 77 races (all opens) 36 wins that include an incredible four Category 1 titles - the 2007 Champion Stakes at Romford also the Essex Vase in both 2006 and 2007 at the same track and a brilliant victory in the Emerald Cup Final at Coventry in 2007 stopping the clock in a very fast 29.15. He recorded a stunning 35.25 at Romford and also set the Derby alight with a 28.56 (+10) at Wimbledon in 2007 but it was the manner of his final wins that will live long in the memory for me. Not the easiest greyhound to train it was without doubt an honour and pleasure to be called his trainer. Hopefully he will lead the parade in next week's Essex Vase final shown live on Sky and he will be available at stud but most likely will remain at our kennels to enjoy a well earned retirement.
Watching the Final of the Eclipse on Thursday I was very impressed with Martin White's superb and very agile Wise Thought. For a second he looked in trouble as they approached the first bend but ran the second bend like a dream and once in front it was race over. As much as the Derby is a long way off, this striking black is a worthy favourite and if you remember his brilliant victory on last year's Derby final card he runs Wimbledon very well - an absolute must if you're thinking of having a bet. The rest of the card was interesting to say the least and I'm talking about the incredible offer of a £25,000 a side match race between the connections of Ballyea Honcho to the Champagne Club's superstar Bubbly Totti. At first I thought they must be crazy but looking at this dog's form and style of running don't be to hasty in thinking it would be plain sailing for Bubbly Totti though I still think he would win. One gripe about the Sky card is that every trainer gets a letter to remind them of the dress code for themselves and their staff - dark trousers and shirt but no jeans and trainers. Please, please can they enforce this! if someone has jeans or trainers on they should not be allowed to parade their dogs and a parader will be provided. Trainers - if you can't afford to buy a pair of trousers (the last two Sky final winners) I will happily send you a Debenham's gift voucher for Christmas! Our sport needs to set standards in my opinion and for god's sake leave those mobiles until after the presentation!
Christmas season is soon upon us and I still have tickets available for the Kennelhands bash at Harlow Stadium on the 7th December plus the Retired Greyhounds Party at the Stadium a week later. Also if anyone would like to go to the BGRB/GBGB Awards night on 25th January at the Hilton Metropolitan on Edgeware Road give me a call as this is a night well worth going to if you haven't been before. Tickets are £50 each or tables £500 for 10.
The opens at Harlow on Wednesday didn't quite go according to plan with four good chances and though there was no winners Blues Wish (2nd), Coolanga Flyer (3rd) and Missed A Train (3rd) were all close. At Coventry on the same night Chilli Blue was 3rd in the sprint before
Goldcrest King showed why he is such a fast dog when despite finding trouble on his first look at the track he still came through to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 29.70. Mountjoy Ruby couldn't shake off the attentions of trap 5 Murlens Woods for most of the way round and was eventually 3rd beaten 3 1/2 lengths in 29.66.
A disappointing night at Romford on Friday where the heats of the Essex Vase kicked off and in heat four we had the unfortunate honour of filling the last three places with our three runners including defending champ Eye Onthe Veto. Corrig Vieri had every chance in the next heat but also crashed out and Rhias Beauty ran well enough but finished 5th. In the Puppy Cup semi's Kinda Handy ran a stormer but the 16/1 shot could only finish a brave 4th beaten 3 lengths behind Deanridge Ammo in 24.30 (-30). Congo Invader got no sort of run from trap 5 and did well to finish 3rd behind the impressive Droopys Quinta in 24.29 (-30) but well beaten. In the last race over 750m Genesis Alix took a good early lead but the strong Seamis Gambler loomed large off the last bend but to her credit she made Paul Young's runner pull out all the stops before going down 1/2 length in 48.61 (-60) just about summing our luck on the night.
On Saturday at Wimbledon for a couple of seconds we looked like we were going to land the Puppy Oaks Final with Taboby Legend when she led up but just as she was about to go round in front she was baulked at the 1st and 2nd bends eventually finishing 3rd beaten 2 1/2 lengths in 28.01(+10). At Mildenhall we only had one runner Centaur Simon (5th) before the freezing temperatures brought an early end to the night with the remainder of the meeting abandoned.
On Sunday the heats of the Coventry Bookmakers St Leger kicked off with a great win for the popular Butterbridge Ali, returning to action after over two months on the sidelines, leading all the way to score by 3 1/2 lengths in 44.73. Our other entry Tipp The Breeze, still not quite race
fit after injury, could only finish 4th. On the supporting card Missed A Train scored an overdue victory in the 625m by over 5 lengths in 40.83 whilst Lockdale Duke in the 480m had no answers to former kennelmate Kinda Flashy beaten 5 lengths in 30.11.
Not much to shout about this week - on Wednesday with Imperial Prize the only winner scoring well by 4 lengths in 26.38. On Thursday a better night with wins for Treacle Pearl (26.48 calc) and an easy win by 7 lengths for Centaur Sandi in 38.41 (+20) in the S2 and nice to see Mountjoy Diamond back from season running away to score by over 5 lengths in 26.20 (+10).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - GOLDCREST KING
GRADED - MOUNTJOY DIAMOND
WHAT'S ON THIS WEEK
A quiet week with Trials at Monmore on Monday where Roswell Startrek, Directors Ruler and Reagrove Class will be put through their paces with the Cotswold Scaffolding heats starting the following Monday. We have opens at Coventry, Harlow on Wednesday and Romford on Friday and again at Coventry on Sunday where Butterbridge Ali is in the semi-finals of the Coventry Bookmakers St Leger.