Monday 25th November 2013
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Pic by Steve Nash
Nottingham has been a happy hunting ground for our kennel in recent years and especially the last few weeks. Again on Wednesday that proved the case as Bridge Honcho totally destroyed some high class opposition as he strode out majestically to win the Betfred Eclipse by over 2 lengths in a stunning 29.29 joyously giving his owner Peter Bridges a first Category 1 success in his own right he so richly deserved. Three weeks ago we were savouring the brilliant victory of Adageo Bob in the British Bred Stakes over course and distance and now Bridge Honcho can be added to that long list of top class winners we have enjoyed at the superb Midlands track. Mumble Swerve (1999) and Eye Onthe Storm (2009) have both won the Eclipse before Bridge Honcho while as well as Adageo Bob's recent success we have won the Puppy Classic with Ronnies Champion (2005) Fear Robben (2006) and Eye Onthe Storm (2009). That is some record that we are very proud of. Nottingham like Romford has to be commended for their first class hospitality to final connections and we all enjoyed an excellent night thanks to Rachel Corden and her team.
This time last year Bridge Honcho hit form winning the Lol Jones Memorial 480m at the Monmore Festival and looked one of our leading players for the 2013 Derby but disaster struck in his very next race at Wimbledon where he went lame and X-rays revealed a broken metatarsal. Thanks to the work of vet Stefano Malegori and our physio Ron Mills he came back 6 months later as fast as ever but hasn't really had the luck in some of his races including the first round elimination in the Derby. Before the Betfred Eclipse started 'Gerry' was on a losing run of 12 but that did include making the Category 1 finals of the Sussex Cup and East Anglian Derby so it came as no surprise to us when he won both heats and semi finals of the event in the fastest times but his stunning 29.29 clocking in Wednesday's final was undoubtedly not only the performance of the year so far from one of our kennel stars it ranks, in my opinion, in the top 10 of the 49 Category 1 victories Imperial Kennels has achieved since Honky Tonk Gal landed the first success back in 1999 when I was head kennel hand to my mother in law Linda Jones.
Honky Tonk Gal's win came in the Essex Vase and it would be fitting if we could land that magical 50th victory in this year's renewal. Going into Friday's first round we had both the first and third favourites after the withdrawal of ante post favourite Exocet but overall we came away slightly disappointed with only three of our six strong team qualifying for Wednesday's semi finals and Blonde Razor our well fancied ante post favourite eliminated. Reel Trickyone and Adageo Bob ran very well when qualifying in 2nd in their heats and the highlight was Bridge Ruth who came from behind to land a very competitive heat to win in a fine 35.26 and now is a best priced 9/2 to give her owner Peter Bridges a memorable few weeks.
Bridge Honcho's 50 point haul as pulled us right back into contention for the amazingly tight Trainer Of The Year Title and after the victory we moved up into 3rd place 53 points behind Charlie Lister with Paul Young sandwiched in between us. With six weeks to go we are set for a titanic battle with both Charlie and Paul and though Chris Allsopp as fallen off the pace slightly he can not be written off. Charlie's decision to enter three runners in the Essex Vase again tells us he is giving it his full attention and the fact that all three qualified with two important heat victories has most definitely tipped the scales in his favour. I am convinced in my own mind we have to win this Essex Vase to be able to have any chance of defending our Trainer of the Year Title. The last Category One of the year, the Oaks at Belle Vue, starts next Saturday and unfortunately we will not be represented which strengthens my opinion of how crucial the Essex Vase is to our chances.
Although not by choice our kennel strength is down nearly 30% since the start of the year and like many kennels it's a worrying time with a lack of owners coming into the sport and with many current owners reducing their numbers or dropping out of the sport altogether. I have decided that in 2014 we will concentrate all our efforts on a high quality kennel chasing all the major competitions with a few pups coming through at Yarmouth. To do well in the Trainer Of The Year you do need to have a variety of greyhounds ie sprinters, standard, distance and the odd hurdler so it's getting that balance right. We are buying a number of young talented pups to try and bring through into top class racing and many of these will be available for sale on our 'Dogs for Sale' page. With many people not being able to afford either the purchase price or the monthly kennel fees I will be offering shares in some of these top class pups. The shares will all be £1,000 per share with as little as £10 per week kennel fees.
We currently have a lovely little bitch on our For Sale page Rosealinda and we are offering 4 shares at £1000 and £75 per month kennel fees that cover all costs (all prize money earned will be taken off monthly fee). Rosealinda has two wins from five runs on her card from Ireland including a very good 28.85 at Newbridge and has been brought with the 575m Romford type trips in mind and should be a regular on RPGTV. I have taken a share myself and there are two shares left. Give me a call (07721778297) or email me through the website or direct (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested. Rosealinda clocked a fine 16.91 in her first qualifying trial at Yarmouth last Thursday.
At Coventry on Monday Aayamzamodel was unlucky in a Maiden when 3rd after hitting the rails at the first bend, both Benkaat Blue and Sidaz Dippy disappointed in their races.
On Wednesday at Nottingham marathon star Aayamzabella got held up for 4 bends and could only finish 4th when long odds on over 930m but as said the feature race the Betfred Eclipse was brilliantly won by Bridge Honcho.
On Friday at Romford Skips Special ran well when 2nd in a 400m Maiden before the heats of the Coral Essex Vase. Reel Trickyone ran really well in a tough heat and was just caught on the line by Charlie Lister's Killiford Khali in 35.53. Adageo Bob returned to Romford but got tangled up on the home straight for the first time trying to get to the outside from trap 4 but ran on well to be second to Gripping Stuff beaten a length in 35.53 with Ilewin Frimley last after missing the break. In a tough heat 5 Bridge Ruth escaped first bend trouble to chase early leader Droopys Hope, railing really well off the last two bends she took it up to score by 3 lengths in a fine 35.26 while Jazz Tilly was unlucky stumbling at the second bend when in a good position. In the last heat Blonde Razor slight screwed left out the traps and was just held up slightly at the first two bends but looked like he was going to safely qualify but was just pipped on the line for 3rd place in a race won by Aghaburren Paddy in a fastest of the night 34.97, the fact that Blonde Razor clocked a very respectable 35.47 and got eliminated tells us that he was just very unlucky.
At Crayford on Saturday night in the heats of the Rose Bowl Murlens Crash was 2nd but Aero Twizzle came unstuck when well fancied in his heat, a missed break and trouble on the run up meant he could only finish 4th.
YARMOUTH AND COVENTRY REVIEW
No runners at Yarmouth this week and only two graded runners at Coventry on Monday where both Hillcross Kansas and Hillcross Miami were both 3rd.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight the third and final leg of the Bags Championship at Yarmouth sees six of our runners pitched in against Peterborough with nothing less than an all Yarmouth night of winners giving them any chance at all of overhauling Peterborough's big lead.
On Wednesday the semi finals of the Coral Essex Vase have huge implications on the remainder of the year and Bridge Ruth, Adageo Bob and Reel Trickyone will all need to be at their best to qualify. The rest of the week is yet to be pencilled in.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Bridge Honcho was a brilliant winner for all our supporters taking the final of the Betfred Eclipse on Wednesday in great style and landing a lovely 33/1 touch for us. The Coral Essex Vase hasn't gone quite as well with Blonde Razor and Ilewin Frimley both eliminated at the first stage but Bridge Ruth is down to around 4/1 for outright honours and we can hopefully get her through to the final for a chance of another good pay day.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRIDGE HONCHO - 1 pt e.w ante post 33/1 - Betfred Eclipse - Nottingham - WON profit 41pts
BLONDE RAZOR - 2 pts e.w ante post 10/1 - Coral Essex Vase - Romford - lost
BRIDGE RUTH - 1.5 pts e.w ante post 12/1 - Coral Essex Vase - Romford - semi finals Wednesday
ILEWIN FRIMLEY - 1 pt e.w ante post 66/1 - Coral Essex Vase - Romford - lost