Monday 25th March 2013
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Our country's climate defies logic as we approach April and I am struggling to remember it being this cold in late March in my lifetime. Three inches of snow fell Saturday night to add to the problems and we are struggling to get our dogs prepared properly for some important races over the next couple of weeks not least this Wednesday's prestigious Trainers Championship meeting at Yarmouth which is again live on Sky and in all betting shops. Last week the first SIS produced Sky show of the year at Wimbledon, where some superstars of the greyhound world were on show, was met with some criticism but overall the new format worked well and it was great to have greyhound racing back on Sky. My one complaint was that there were too many camera angles shown during the races which made it slightly difficult to focus on. I would just have the one camera on the race like RPGTV and save a couple of the other camera shots for the replays. Apart from that the show was smoothly presented and will obviously get slicker as they go on. I do miss the delightful Julie Collier as well and hope that they reconsider using her, perhaps with at least one feature per week. It was great to have a winner as well with Bridge Ruth impressively taking the Ladies race over 480m. Rick Holloway was emotional as his Westmead Meteor took the Springbok and the feature race the Racing Post Juvenile was turned into a procession by Barrie Draper's Ballymac Eske, surely this has to be one of the all time fastest greyhounds ever to grace our sport.
This week I promised to give a full run down on the GTA Ladbrokes Trainers Championship meeting and after last week's excellent Trainers Luncheon at the Imperial Hotel on Yarmouth's sea front we are really looking forward to the brilliant night the Championship always provides. I think the betting has been very generous to Charlie Lister whose odds against surely won't last. He has a star studded side and his subs bench is almost as strong as his actual team. Paul Young, despite the loss of East Anglian Derby champ Bubbly Pheonix to his team after picking up an injury at Wimbledon, has fielded a good team and should go well. Chris Allsopp has chances in a few races and is no forlorn hope while Seamus Cahill has a couple of decent chances of landing a leg or two but lacks overall strength to win the event and along with Barrie Draper who without the services of Ballymac Eske, Farloe Warhawk and Ballyard Buddy look like they have a mountain to climb to win the event although saying that this championship has a habit of throwing up a surprise or two, just ask Nick Savva from last year or more famously my mother in law Linda Jones who won a few years ago at 100/1.
So can we win with the Championship? It's a big ask but if all our team runs to its best I feel we can lift the trophy we last won so memorably at Doncaster three years ago. Our odds of 13/8 are skinny to say the least and I think they are an over-reaction to our perceived home advantage. We have actually only trialled three of our team at Yarmouth as I felt our other team selections, many of whom started their careers at Yarmouth, are better fresh at the track. I have been brave and stuck to the team I chose over a month ago and it has been a very difficult decision to leave the likes of Glanmire Lad, Jazz Tilly, Sidaz Dippy, Bridge Bandit and Castlebride Dan to name but a few out of the side as they have all been in scintillating form of late. The weather has been a downer as well and most of our kennel should be enjoying a welcome bit of sun on their backs but we still seem to be in the grip of winter and the forecast over the next few days is not great. Anyway let's look at the event race by race.
LEG 1 - 462m PUPPY
The talk is all of Charlie Lister's Golden Wonder, beaten favourite in last week's Monmore Puppy Derby, whose tight railing antics have seen many a discussion in the greyhound world already. With his perfect draw in trap 1 he will be fancied to overturn the eventual Puppy Derby winner Cluxton Free who also has a decent box in trap 6 to work from and is sure to improve considerably on his trial over course and distance. I was pleased with our puppy Garryglass Rodge's trial over track and trip (28.04 calc) and is as tight a railer as Golden Wonder but will find it a struggle to get by that rival unless he absolutely pings and then takes his ground. He will be 4/1 to do that and my concern is can he score points without leading? Paul Young's Underground Paul looks a nice pup as well and could surprise while Seamus Cahill's slow starting Islas Scolari though pacey lacks early and would need trouble up front to get involved and Barrie Draper's Glenpadden Post's only chance is to run past a couple of beaten dogs to score more than one point.
LEG 2 - 462m STANDARD
After a brilliant 27.67 (+20) trial on Thursday Heather George comes into Charlie Lister's team but I'm not sure trap 6 will suit and think he may have trouble clearing Paul Young's Jaytee Hellcat in trap 4. If they do clash on the run up this could play into the hands of both Seamus Cahill's Droopys Reason in trap 3 or our own Benkaat Blue in trap 2 although our fella does have the added hazard of clearing the middle running Daddy Knows Best of Chris Allsopp but if he does he could score good points for us. Barrie Draper's Kowloon Connor is a prolific winner but has it all to do from trap 5. Benkaat Blue has been in fine form during 2013 and is a real battler and won well for us in last years' Premier League meeting though this is significantly tougher.
LEG 3 - 462m BITCHES
Bridge Ruth comes into the race in the best possible form having won so well at Wimbledon last week and trialled reasonably well over course and distance the week previously. What pleased me most last week was the early pace she showed and if trapping as well is fancied to land this leg, indeed she is my nap to score vital points for us. Express Flame for Chris Allsopp is also in form but needs to be lively to avoid a bump from Paul Young's Jaytee Jules on her outside who is no forlorn hope herself. Again Barrie Draper's Glenpadden Lake in trap 2 looks up against it as does Get On Paris for Seamus Cahill in trap 4 and I have a feeling Bridge Ruth will have most to fear from the pacey Silverview Pinky for Charlie Lister in trap 1.
Prediction 3 (nap) -1-6-5-4-2
LEG 4 - 659m STAYERS
Fear Emoski put in a magnificent 40.63 trial on Thursday and looks a stayer of immense promise and if she clears Barrie Draper's Farloe Kyle in trap 2 who possesses decent early pace then it could be race over. Our brilliant St Leger and TV Trophy winner Blonde Reagan has struggled to recapture last year's scintillating form but I'm sure all this fella needs is a bit of sun on his back, sadly we are not getting that at the moment and we will need to find a key to getting him not just to lead but to be clear of his rivals past the third bend. He should have no trouble clearing Seamus Cahill's Avit On Bertha in trap 5. Bubbly Swallow for Paul Young is talented but has an akward draw in trap 4 while Boherna Bridge for Chris Allsopp looks held but could still pick up vital points if the principles falter.
LEG 5 - 277m SPRINT
Some top class runners on show here and our chances of lifting the trophy could well lay with our superstar and prolific Lil Risky who has his box in trap 1. His Yarmouth record is poor by his standards but also he is never far away at the business end. The key to the race is beating trap 2 Farloe Barracuda for Barrie Draper to the bend and railing tightly to forge up the long run in to land the spoils. There should be some good pace up the middle with Charlie Lister's Dreams Of Glory in trap 5 a decent animal. If he clears the fast up Aero Joseph in trap 4 he could well be the fly in the ointment to Lil Risky and if he does beat us that could be game over for us in the overall Championship. Trap 3 Mottos Impact has it all to do for Seamus Cahill as does Chris Allsopp's Drumna Ice to get round all the pace on the inside.
LEG 6 - 659m STAYERS
The second of the Stayers and a bold decision for Charlie Lister to step Farloe Tango up to this stiff 6 bends. An enigmatic performer on his day he could quite simply take this field apart but equally could find this track and trip very tricky, it's not easy to pass and his running style might need him to pass at least two of the now only four rivals as Barrie Draper has no representative. One of those rivals should be our own Planning who comes into the race with a few questions to answer since being stepped up from 575m recently. What I would like to see is Planning have a clear run and hopefully he can lead up from a perfect trap 6 slot with a vacant trap inside him and once clear it will be a question of what Farloe Tango does and one thing for certain he has Paul Young's Aero Rebel to clear on his immediate inside as his first objective. If Farloe Tango does get loose we could see an exhibition run and it will be vital for our team that Planning holds on for second place. Sakara Sky for Seamus Cahill will be plugging on at the end while Goa Girl for Chris Allsopp will do well to beat the principles but is useful on her day.
LEG 7 - 462m DOGS
The race of the night in my opinion with the flying Loughteen Blanco a dual Catergory 1 winner looking to add some notable scalps to his collection. Connections will be very worried that our Ayamzaman is on his immediate inside and a back to form Ayamzaman displayed his scintillating early pace magnificently last Friday at Romford. This could well upset Loughteen Blanco who also has the early paced Ballycowen Dave for Chris Allsopp on his outside as well. Alien Planet was firmly put in his place last Tuesday at Wimbledon by Ballymac Eske but he has a great trap 2 slot for Charlie Lister and if he gets inside any of the four outside runners will surely go on to score. With trap 1 Teejays Bluehawk for Paul Young slow away and Fire Height Spec for Barrie Draper in trap 3 not sure to run the track Alien Planet has every chance to do this. Ayamzaman has won an incredible 30 open races now and 29 of them have been at Romford. His one and only away victory came at Yarmouth in an excellent 27.70, if he could repeat this he will go close. If he gets led up he will do well to beat one home so a lot could be riding on his shoulders. I fancy him to lead up but will be worried if Alien Planet turns close up.
LEG 8 - 462m STANDARD
At this stage last year no less than five Trainers had a chance of winning the Championship going into the last leg and against the odds Nick Savva came out victorious. I have been dreaming it could be us this year and I have put my faith in my own pick for the side Ard To Beat. Still a youngster that has not hit the headlines for our kennel yet but I'm convinced he is a prodigious talent and could well turn out to be our dark horse for this year's Greyhound Derby. Against him is top fitness having had a bit of a cough since he disappointed in his last run at Coventry and a dog that will thrive in warmer conditions so it will be some training feat if we can get him to win on Wednesday and I'm positive only a win will suffice if we are to land the spoils. His opposition is strong and Charlie Lister's Lemon Pluto will be a short price to score, an incredible talent he is one of Charlie's main Derby hopes and looks a real danger to us. Bubbly Lucky for Paul Young is running well and should go well but it's hard to make a case for any of the other three rivals apart from Guiness Dusty who ran the track well last year but was well beaten at Romford on Friday.
My predictions are not over biased and if I'm right the scoring will finish up like this-:
1st - Charlie Lister ...... 68 pts
2nd - Mark Wallis ........ 58 pts
3rd - Paul Young ......... 32 pts
4th - Seamus Cahill .... 26 pts
4th - Chris Allsopp ...... 26 pts
6th - Barrie Draper ..... 15 pts
For us to win we will need all our team to run above themselves and possibly a couple of slips from Charlie's team but whatever our fate it's sure to be a great night and I would like to personally thank Rick Holloway and Chris Page from the GTA as well as Yarmouth Stadium for organising the event and to Ladbrokes for their generous sponsorship.
In other news it was pleasing to see Sidaz Dippy, who was put up for sale last week, sold to stay in the kennel when Ron and Gary Tilbrook stepped in to buy her. Hopefully they will have a lot of fun with this superb young stayer who is still only a May 11 whelp, her first major target will be the Regency at Hove in May.
On Monday an on form Hometown Honey (35.73) took the scalp of Ding Hero at Romford in the Coral On TV Stayers heats and Darian Chief (35.86) won his heat in good style by 4 lengths. On Tuesday Bridge Ruth was our first winner on the new Sky show at Wimbledon taking the 480m Ladies by 2 1/2 lgenths in 28.89. Lil Risky was 2nd in the sprint behind Pat Rosney's Ballymac Jones.
Our only other open race action of the week was at Romford on Friday and in the feature race the Coral On TV Stayers final Ding Hero exacted revenge when beating Darian Chief with Hometown Honey back in 4th. Earlier Extreme Lad was an unlucky 2nd over 400m and Melody Ace was a fast finishing 3rd in a 575m Maiden.
The night got better when Glanmire Lad followed up his encouraging first race of the year the week before when scorching out the traps (3.52 sectional!!) en route to winning in 24.02 and will surely come on as the weeks progress.
Adageo Brae gained a quick fire double for owner Dick and Ann Barfoot when recording a rare victory over 575m in 36.07.
Ayamzaman still has some questions to answer with mixed results of late so what a time to record his career best sectional (3.57) and overall time, a scintillating 23.72, when slamming some useful rivals by 4 1/2 lengths.
On Monday our kennel's good form continued with wins for our 'markwallisgreyhounds' Racing Club dog Ollie Blue, scoring at the fourth time of asking after three seconds by 1 1/2 lengths in 28.89. Roberts Dancer won an A4 by a short head in 28.79 and Risky Lass beat kennel mate Toosey Faye by 3 1/2 lengths in 28.41.
On Saturday Swift Obama was best of our five runners when scoring on debut by 3 lengths in 29.02 a fine effort for a November 11 whelp.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
We travel to Kinsley on Tuesday night with Extreme Lad, Blonde Tango and Middletons Boy for trials for Sunday's forthcoming Gymcrack Puppy heats.
On Wednesday Yarmouth is the place to be for the eagerly awaited Ladbrokes GTA Trainers Championship meeting involving last year's six leading trainers.
On Good Friday the Bags Easter Eggsstravaganza takes place at Monmore and Darian Creek and Swift Lucozade represent us for Yarmouth.
We will be at Romford on Friday night and as well as Kinsley we will be at Coventry on Sunday night.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Bridge Ruth easily landed the odds for us at Wimbledon on Tuesday and Extreme Lad nearly made it an excellent week for followers when desperately unlucky at Romford Friday.
If I was to have one bet at the Ladbrokes GTA Trainers Championship meeting at Yarmouth on Wednesday it would have to be Bridge Ruth. I could also see Ard To Beat running well at a fair price and is worth a small wager.
Kinsley's Gymcrack Puppy heats begin on Sunday and we have a couple of unexposed types in Blonde Tango and Extreme Lad who are worth a small interest.
BRIDGE RUTH - 4 pts win - Ladbrokes GTA Trainers Championship - Yarmouth - Wednesday
ARD TO BEAT - 1 pt win - Ladbrokes GTA trainers Championship - Yarmouth - Wednesday
BLONDE TANGO - 1 pt e.w ante-post - Gymcrack - Kinsley - starts Sunday
EXTREME LAD - 1 pt e.w ante-post - Gymcrack - Kinsley - starts Sunday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRIDGE RUTH - 4 pts win - Wimbledon - Tuesday - WON 5/4
EXTREME LAD - 3 pts win - Romford - Friday - lost