Monday 26th September 2011
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Another roller coaster week in the battle for the Trainers Championship, one that by the end of the week has seen us slightly reduce the lead held by Chris Allsopp. With such difficult times in our sport at the moment mostly down to the economic gloom, the Trainers Championship gives us something to really focus on and I must admit I'm enjoying the friendly rivalry at the top of the table between ourselves and Chris Allsopp's kennel. Although there is no pot of gold at the end of the Championship I would still dearly love to win a fourth title and a sixth one for Imperial Kennels since 2001 as the prestige is very important. It's very tight at the top and over the next three months every winner and every competition win could prove vital in the quest for the top spot. Of course you can not discount Charlie Lister, despite being nearly 100 points behind ourselves and Chris. He has some top class four bend dogs and there is still plenty of Category 1 competitions left which carry 50 points for winning but it's beginning to look like being a battle between the two of us.
We scored good points this week with Directors Wit, our only runner on Harlow's Sky card, winning and Munster Champ who landed a Category 3 heats and final on Friday at Romford. The fact that you get 5 points for heats and second round victories of Cat 1 events Blonde Fletch's defeat and elimination in Friday's St Leger was a major blow but Aero Majestic has come to the fore in the stayers' division in recent months and his victory in the last heat in the fastest time of the night gives us a massive hope of still landing the classic. You also get 5 points for winning heats and semi's of Cat 2 events and it was very pleasing to see Dalcash Scolari back to his very best when winning his semi-final of the Henlow Silver Salver on Thursday and with All That Noise qualifying as well for next Thursday's £3,000 to the winner final there are valuable points at stake.
There is also a huge battle for the other top six places with several trainers all in with a chance of making the frame. Again I say it, the rewards for the trainers at the top that are running all over the country in search of a top 6 place are very poor and I feel this issue has to addressed in the future. When you see the Championship standings, which also gets massive media attention, on the GBGB website it looks like a league table precisely in some kind of way what a proposed Premier League will incorporate, oh and yes the Premier League can and will put proper prize money in place for our sport's dwindling owners and trainers! Incredibly the greyhound trainers now only number 950ish compared to nearly 1500 in 2006 and when you see excellent trainers like Lorraine Sams moving over to the other side of the fence when she takes up her new role as Area Stipendary Steward you have to ask questions like is it really worth being a trainer anymore? I would also ask, have other parts of our industry reduced its work force by the same margin?
There are some things in our sport that are very uplifting. The welfare side is now completely without fault and a tremendous amount of money and time has gone into making us proud of the way our greyhounds are looked after when they have been retired from the track. Although I couldn't attend I hear the recent annual Great Greyhound Gathering at Nottingham was again a great success and I was very pleased to hear that one of our former stars Eye Onthe Brave was one of the winners on the day. Talking of retirements my wife Sarah's little bitch Mint Bulb had her last race (was very unlucky) on Saturday at a packed Yarmouth. She has been a great little graded bitch for us over the last couple of years winning many times and is a very good advert for our kennel. She will soon be sitting next to us on our sofa at home with our other retired dog Discreet Cat!
On the track we have in our sport some superstars both on this side of the pond and the other. We at the kennel are fortunate to have dogs like Blonde Fletch and Blonde Snapper but no doubt the talking dogs at the moment are for England Eden Star who, after winning the Wimbledon Puppy Derby, set new standards when demolishing a very good field in the Romford Puppy Cup on Friday and Barry Draper's charge weighing in at nearly 39 kilos looks the real deal. Over in Ireland very few dogs can nearly overshadow an Irish Derby winner but when Mildean Panther scorched around Shelbourne Park in a blistering 28.13 the word 'astonishing' was the only way to describe it. I'm a big boxing fan and it's vary rare to get the two best fighters in the ring together but when they do it's an occasion to savour, even if the build up massively overhypes the event. Now just imagine what it could do for our sport if these two incredible greyhounds were to race against each other before the end of the year, maybe once over here and a return leg at Shelbourne. It would most definitely grab some much needed national media coverage if marketed right.
Our Five to Follow competition reaches the halfway stage and anyone who wishes to change any of their selections may now do so (changeover date is 1st October so please get your changes in as soon as possible via email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a few dogs no longer available and quite a few new ones to choose from (full details on can be found on Pete's Column). You can change as many as you like but must include 2 bitches or more in your team. Martin Johnson's 'Jems Gems 3' leads the way at the moment with 258 points.
You can see on our Syndicates Page a lovely picture of Wednesdaywhacker recently syndicated out for the Wednesday Whackers Golf Society.
This week you will see our advert on the Syndicates Page with your chance to join a small syndicate of 4 people in buying impressive Limerick winner Dixies Air who has been recently bought into the kennel. This young pup looks destined for the top staying races next year and we are currently looking for 4 peole to join the syndicate (see Syndicates Page for full details).
Munster Champ just sneaked through when 3rd in his heat of the Coral On TV Stayers at Romford on Monday. earlier in the morning Jazz Apollo blew his rivals away in the Produce Sakes qualifying trials at Nottingham winning by over 10 lENgths in a fastest of the day 29.97.
Old boy Directors Wit was our only runner on Harlow's Sky card and is rolling back the years at the momen. A good break was followed by a lovely turn of pace to win well in a good 14.77.
At trials at Romford in the morning Blonde Snapper recorded a useful 13.55 after a short rest.
On Thursday at Henlow the semi-finals at Henlow saw Dalcash Scolari back to his best when he led all the way to score by 2 lengths in a fast 33.36. In the second semi-final All That Noise again led til the run in before getting caught by Westmead Palace going down by 2 1/2 lengths in 33.48.
The William Hill St Leger second round on Friday at Wimbledon saw the elimination of our ante-post favourite Blonde Fletch who ran poorly. Aero Majestic saved the day when showing terrific early and middle pace to lead by 5 lengths and although fading close home hung on to score by 1 3/4 lengths in 41.94.
Over at Romford Ballintine Molly just failed to get up in a 575m Maiden Stayers when 2nd beaten a neck in 36.06. In the Coral On TV Stayers Final Munster Champ took advantage of a messy race sweeping round the outside to win by 2 lengths in 36.84 (-20).
A long trip to Newcastle on Saturday proved worthwhile as our two puppies in the Northern Puppy Derby trial stakes ran well. Kinda True ran well when 2nd beaten 1 3/4 in 29.03 and is one to watch out for in the future. New Phase looks a pup going places and ran on very strong to win by 3 lengths in 28.90 and was miles clear at the drop. Risky Rosaleen continued her good work lately and took an Angel Of The North Oaks Trial Stake by a 1 3/4 in 29.91.
Only runners on Saturday and a blank night with Mint Bulb in her retirement race most unlucky when 4th. Aoifes Candy was a well beaten 2nd in an S1 and Risky Blue was a close up 3rd.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A busy week in progress starting tonight where Jazz Apollo runs in the British Produce Stakes opening round at Nottingham. Over at Romford Rockburst Fanta and Goldies Tara run in the heats of the Coral On TV Bitches heats.
Tomorrow the all important William Hill St Leger semi-finals will see Aero Majestic in against Head It On Jason amongst others.
The Henlow Silver Salver Final on Thursday sees Dalcash Scolari run from trap 1 and All That Noise in trap 6 in the £3,000 to the winner event.
We will be back at Romford Friday and on Saturday both the British Produce Stakes continues at Nottingham while the Northern Puppy Derby and the All England Cup begin at Newcastle as well as the Angel Of the North heats.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Due to a four dog race Aero Majestic was a bit short on Friday but won nonetheless and the 25/1 ante-post we advised at the start looks promising. New Phase and Kinda True both look good prospects and are worth including in our ante-post bets for the Northern Puppy Derby.
NEW PHASE - 2 pts e.w ante-post - Northern Puppy Derby - Newcastle - Saturday
KINDA TRUE - 1 pt e.w Northern Puppy Derby - Newcastle - Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AERO MAJESTIC - 3 pts win - Wimbledon - Friday - WON 4/5
AERO MAJESTIC - 1 pt e.w ante-post 25/1 - William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon - semi's tomorrow
BLONDE FLETCH - 2 pts win ante-post 7/2 - William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon - lost