Monday 24th October 2011
JOIN GOBATA NOW
We entered the start of last week with quite a bit of trepidation but after what can only be described as a difficult last few days I can safely say sitting here today we can now look forward to the next few months with optimism and plenty of faith in what we are trying to achieve in our wonderful sport. On Thursday at the GBGB offices in London I faced a Disciplinary Committee over a positive sample found in one of our greyhounds back in April. I can't and won't go into the specifics of the case but after a lengthy and completely fair hearing I was completely exonerated from any wrong doing with no blemish on our incredible record. I must admit I feel like a cloud has lifted from my head. In these inquiries, chaired by an independent board of regulators, reputations and records count for nothing but I had always had faith that justice would prevail. We at Imperial Kennels operate a strict 'no drugs policy' and I deplore the use of drugs in any sport and applaud the GBGB on their stance against the small minority of drug cheats in our industry. We have had nearly 200 Group 1 and Classic finalists all vigorously tested and in exess of 5000 random tests over the last 10 years alone and have never until April had a positive test. We can move on now but I would like to thank (and have done personally) so many people for their support in what was a very stressful time.
One positive this week is the response to the forthcoming Premier League. Of course it will not suit everyone and no doubt we will have a lot of work to do to convince some people of its merits but so many trainers across the country have spoken to us of their intentions to be a part of this new concept wether it be now or later on as we get established. The GOBATA-run event backed by Betdaq sees the first qualifying races on November 16th at Doncaster which will be live on Sky Sports. The five races that make up the qualifiers are now in the new calendar and after nearly two years work in trying to bring a Premier League to our screens I can't wait for it to start and I hope that both Martin White and Chris Page, as well as the GOBATA committee members who have put in an enormous amount of time and effort into getting a Premier League up and running, are rewarded with a bumper entry - the entries for teams close on October 31st.
I have read most of the threads posted on Greyhoundscene's forum about the Premier League and you can see it has most certainly sparked off an enormous amount of of discussion. As well as plenty of people looking forward to this new event there is a lot of criticism from some of the whole idea. One of the main reasons a Premier League was thought about was to recreate the kind of atmosphere the Trainers Championship meetings brought on a more regular basis. We were reliably informed that the Trainers Championship meeting was second only in audience figures and betting turnover to the Derby so there must be an appetite for the formula of six trainers/teams competing on a league type basis. Added to the mix a relegation battle we should be able to bring something new that's exciting and has a strong narrative throughout the year which brings in a vast amount of new betting opportunities to the greyhound fans and possibly a concept that might capture the interests of new sponsors and even new owners coming into the sport. If this doesn't work at least we tried to change the current decline in our sport. I must admit the personal criticism with comments like 'feathering our own interests' or 'only for the big trainers' couldn't be further from the truth. We are simply just trying to bring new ideas that might have a positive effect on greyhound racing and if the fact that suddenly Bags announce a further £150,000 is being put into a Supertrack series of racing a week after the Premier League is announced then we have already succeeded to a certain degree in achieving that. GOBATA's Committee have no self interest and work totally in their own time and at their own expense to try and help get the sport back on its feet. People should remember this when being so scathing in some of their comments.
Contrary to some of the promoters' beliefs, the GOBATA Betdaq Premier League is not trying to be in conflict with Category 1 events or Sky's supporting races. Every effort will be made to work closely with the calendar and Sky. Doncaster's Sky meeting featuring the Premier League qualifying races on November 16th is two days before the Betfred Eclipse starts and I'm sure there will be voices concerning the proximity of the two events but the Premier League will have only two Standard races and it's about being competitive within the teams. For example if I was to draw the Doncaster leg my first thoughts would be which dogs will go in the Eclipse. Jazz Apollo (recent Produce Stakes finalist over track and trip) would probably be my only entry for the Eclipse, Premier League or not. Now I have to find the best two dogs for the Premier League Standard races so I would perhaps go with Dalcash Scolari (good winner at Doncaster last year in the Trainers Championship, but not really a competition dog over four bends) and then maybe pick the most in form four bend dog that I have at my disposal that wouldn't be an entry in the Eclipse. The William Hill Oaks also starts on the Saturday just three days after the Premier League meeting that includes a Bitches race but this will have an entirely different thought process for me. The Oaks is four runs with only £6000 to the winner. Over the last 4 or 5 years the Oaks has attracted on average over 100 entries so to be honest my first thoughts are, with the event being for only 48 bitches, there will be an abundance of talent that does not get selected for the event so there will be plenty of opportunities to find a decent bitch for the Premier League race. In my opinion most Premier League meetings will be staged on Saturday nights and with Sky races mainly being on a Tuesday I see no reason why if a good dog wanted to enter the Premier League race and a Sky supporting race I personally would have no problem with them running Sat/Tues or Tues/Sat. My last point to make on the Premier League is that for once we will not be told how to do things by the promoters and will listen to all the people involved in the venture. This is our Premier League and if it works all practitioners will benefit from any profits.
If anyone ever says that crowds don't turn up even if good class greyhounds are running they would have been proved wrong at Henlow last Thursday. A tremendous card with the semi-finals of the Primus Telecom Henlow Derby being the feature had many people flocking to the Bedfordshire track, it was rammed! The second semi-final would have graced any Category 1 final and we were so pleased with Blonde Snapper who up to the third bend gave the flying Taylors Sky a real race. He was eventually beaten just over 3 lengths but the fact that Taylors Sky smashed the track record gave us plenty of satisfaction. Can we turn the deficit round next week and land the £15,000 to the winner final? we will see. The Sky card looks like being a cracker and we will have a decent squad of dogs to enter in the supporting races that include Lil Risky, Mountjoy Comet, Dalcash Scolari, Rockburst Lenny (RGT Final), Ayamzagirl, Rookery Pedro and Mountjoy Falcon (soon to be renamed as Benkaat Blue after Dan Daley recently purchased this exciting young prospect). The whole night again will be crucial to the outcome of this year's Trainers Championship as Chris Allsopp has Brittons Empire in the final as well. Chris had a great week last week and has closed to within a couple of points of us in the standings.
A brief look at last week saw a double on Monday night for Mountjoy Orion (47.84) and Ayamzagirl (48.01) at Romford in the heats of the Coral on TV Marathon.
At Henlow on Thursday as well as Blonde Snapper, who was 2nd in the second semi-final of the Henlow Derby (Rookery Pedro last), Directors Wit was 2nd in a sprint, Mountjoy Falcon ran well when 4th in a hot puppy race, Rockburst Lenny was 2nd in the heats of the RGT 500 and Munster Champ took an instant likening for the track winning well in 33.53,.
On Friday at Romford no luck for Mountjoy Orion (3rd) and Ayamzagirl (4th) in the Coral on TV Marathon final bur there was a nice double with Kinda Close 24.11 and Mountjoy Osprey 24.32.
On Wednesday Risky Blue was 3rd in the Owners Bonus Series final and Catunda Mae was 3rd before Lil Magic, a late reserve, won well in 28.17 (+10) with Risky Rosaleen 3rd.
On Saturday just four runners with Aldataro Lass winning from behind by a length in 28.56,.Bit View Emma scored a memorable hat trick in top grades with another scintillating display scoring by 2 1/2 lengths in 28.15. Scodan Moet on her first run back from season ran well when 3r.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
All roads lead to Henlow on Thursday with a fabulous Primus Telecom Henlow Derby final in prospect and a great supporting card live on Sky. we will be at Romford on Friday and may have some entries in the opens at the weekend somewhere.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Blonde Snapper flys the flag for our supporters as he lines up in a classic Henlow Derby final. Lil Risky is at the top of his game and trialLed well at Henlow last week and commands a maximum bet in the sprint while Dalcash Scolari returns to the scene of his best successes and is also worth an interest.
LIL RISKY - 5 pts win - Henlow - Thursday
DALCASH SCOLARI - 2 pts win - Henlow - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BLONDE SNAPPER - 4 pts win ante-post 10/1 - Primus Telecom Henlow Derby - Final Thursday