Monday 26th November 2012
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READ MARK'S BLOG OF THE EXCITING
DERBY BUILD UP CULMINATING IN BLONDE SNAPPER'S FANTASTIC DERBY FINAL WIN
Blonde Reagan battled bravely to land the William Hill St Leger with a magnificent gutsy run last Thursday making it a dream double for both owner Mark Currell and ourselves. After Blonde Snapper's glorious Greyhound Derby victory at Wimbledon in June Blonde Reagan crossed the line 1 1/2 lengths to the good on a wet and windy night in South West London to lift the Stayers crown repeating the feat that we achieved in 2009 when Kinda Ready and Kinda Easy won the Derby and St Leger for owners Daren Johnson, Gary Crouch, Chris Badger and Lee Jordan. Add to this the fact that Blonde Reagan had won the TV Trophy only four weeks previous and you can see why it has become a stellar year for both Imperial Kennels and Mark Currell who will take the 'Owner Of The Year' title at the awards bash in January by a landslide.
Blonde Reagan has been a revelation since stepping up into open class and his third place in the Grand Prix Final at Sunderland in July as a young stayer gave us a glimpse of what was to come. The TV Trophy/St Leger double last done by the great Spiridon Louis was always on the cards after he took the first leg at Monmore last month. During the St Leger he has looked completely at home around the Wimbledon circuit. Thursday's final was without doubt a high class event and Blonde Reagan had to do everything right out the boxes to get a vital lead. Many expected kennel companion Blonde Fletch to lead up but our veteran superstar saved his worse break for the final and was always going to struggle to get into the race thereafter but despite finishing last he has had a fine competition and again enhanced his reputation as one of the great stayers in recent years. Meanwhile upfront Reagan and Stuart Mason's Ballyard Buddy were having a ding dong battle with Droopys Xavier and Peggys Style just behind waiting to pounce and rounding the last two bends all four had a chance but again Reagan found more and bravely kicked on to take the title. After being involved in quite a few St Leger finalists and runners that have not won firstly with Linda and then myself I am truly honoured to have won three of the last four Stayers Classic and Blonde Reagan will give me great memories in years to come along with Aero Majestic and Kinda Easy.
The last few weeks has seen our kennel on fire and Reagan's victory has stretched our lead in the Trainers Championship to over 200 points. We might be getting used to winning big races but trust me it is so hard to win these Classics and Category 1 races. You can see how much it means for trainers to win these by their pre-race interviews and one thing I will never do is take it for granted that we will keep winning finals, it takes a lot of hard work from all my staff and a lot of luck and of course the support from our fabulous owners and I thank them all for what I have achieved.
The Trainers Championship is drawing to a close and the battle for that vital sixth place looks to be going right to the wire with Seamus Cahill, Stuart Mason and Matt Dartnall all within a few points of each other and all three will have a lot to play for. Myself and Rick Holloway with the GTA are working hard on helping secure where the GTA Trainers Championship meeting will be held and we are proud to announce that Harry Findlay has agreed to let us hold it at Coventry Stadium with the details and date to be announced soon. Also we are hearing some great news on the horizon that Sky could well be covering this prestigious and brilliant night of greyhound racing and many more meetings from mid March which would help lift some doom and gloom in our sport which with the announcement on Friday that Oxford is to close on December 29th is again at its worse. For me we shouldn't expect anything else from the GRA who are dragging our sport through the gutters again.
It's another huge week on the track for us with the Coral Essex Vase starting on Friday at Romford and the William Hill Oaks kicking off on Saturday at Wimbledon.
Jazz Apollo just missed out on a place in the Betfred Eclipse final when a good third in Friday's semi-final. The final is on Sky this Wednesday and Charlie Lister has four runners who all hold a good chance of winning this high class event which will amazingly give Charlie his first Category 1 winner this year. I'm just sorting out our open race entries and may have a runner or two on the supporting card.
Our first runner for our Markwallisgreyhounds 'Racing Club' I Am Titanium finished a creditable third on his debut last Wednesday at Yarmouth and should benefit greatly from the run. Our second Club greyhound Ollie Blue should have his first workout, a handslip, this Thursday. We are currently looking at a possible third purchase so if you would like to be a part of our club please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
On Monday at Romford Rockburst Lenny led home a kennel 1-2 when beating Carden Twilight by 2 /34 lengths in a good 35.71 in the Coral On TV Stayers Trophy heats.
At Henlow on Thursday Aero Prince showed some good pace to land a 428m race by 7 lengths in 25.92 while Star One Day (3rd) and Swift Freeze (2nd) both ran well. Blonde Reagan was the star of the show over at Wimbledon and it was great to see Benkaat Blue return to form beating a strong field over 480m in a supporting Sky race by 1 1/2 lengths in 28.87. The Ladies 480m was as hot as it can be and both Airforce Diva and Bridge Ruth were well beaten but will come forward as the Oaks progresses.
Another cracking night at Romford where again we were amongst the winners. Planning never looked in trouble when landing a Maiden Stayers by over 9 lengths in a good 35.65. Glanmire Lad again flew the boxes but stumbled after a stride which allowed chief rival Bonamassa Rocks to get on terms with him and to his credit Glanmire Lad did well to keep the defeat down to 1 1/2 lengths. Rockburst Lenny ran a blinder to be second to Champion Stakes winner Smiler Jack in the final of the Coral On TV Stayers trophy final only beaten 3 1/4 lengths in 35.33. Benkaat Boy got us back on the winners podium with a fine win over 400m in 24.25. The much improved Bridge Bandit just held on over 575m by a short head in 35.62 and win machine Ayamzaman did brilliant to ride a bump at the first bend to clock up victory number 21 in 24.04 and give us a fourth winner on the night.
As said Jazz Apollo was third in the semi-final of the Betfred Eclipse while Darian Chief was virtually brought down in his semi but seems none the worse afterwards.
At Coventry on Saturday morning closest of our four runners was Aero Joker who was looking for a four timer and led to the fourth bend but was beaten well by the track champion Holdem Spy.
The Bags Championship home leg for Yarmouth didn't quite go as planned as not one of the six legs went to the home side but surprisingly they are not completely out of the hunt with just the Romford leg to go. Swift Lucozade was a good second in the Puppy race while the banker of the night looked to be Darian Star in the Bitch's race and all was going well as she travelled well going into the third bend looking all over the winner but clipping the heels of the other Yarmouth runner she went down on her face and could not recover and was eventually last. I Am Titanium running for our Racing Club on his debut was a creditable third in an A2.
Four runners on Saturday with Bit View Emma, Darian Marvel and Roberts Dancer all third.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Possible entries on Nottingham's Sky card on Wednesday and also on RPGTV's Thursday Hove and Henlow cards.
The Coral Essex Vase kicks off at Romford on Friday and we expect to have plenty of entries and on Saturday the William Hill Oaks is the feature of the weekend and again we willl be well represented with the likes of Bridge Ruth, Airforce Diva, Ballintine Molly and Aero Joker amongst others.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Another superb ante-post recommendation for all our supporters when Blonde Reagan did the business for us in the St Leger final. With the Essex Vase and the Oaks starting this week we will have to have a play in each. Planning made all and scored well in a Maiden Stayers and could be an unexposed type that could do well in this event while in the Oaks our big guns Airforce Diva and Bridge Ruth should go well but looking at the ante-post prices both Aero Joker and Ballintine Molly are great value and both are capable of making the final.
AERO JOKER - 2 pts e.w ante-post 50/1 - William Hill Oaks - Wimbledon - starts Saturday
BALLINTINE MOLLY - 1.5 pts e.w ante-post - William Hill Oaks - Wimbledon - starts Saturday
PLANNING - 1 pt e.w ante-post - Coral Essex Vase - Romford - starts Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BLONDE REAGAN - 2 pts e.w ante-post 10/1 - William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon - WON 10/1