Monday 29th March 2010
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Tuesday's dramatic last ditch victory for Imperial Kennels and TEAM WALLIS in the Trainers Championship meeting at Doncaster will go down as one of the best highlights of our kennel's history. As Eye Onthe Storm crossed the line 2 3/4 lengths to the good with Charlie Lister's gallant Tyrur Speedy back in 4th the title was back with us signalling the start of some huge celebrations both at the Yorkshire venue and across the country with our huge army of supporters who had backed us to land the prestigious event.
To say the night swung back and forth like a demented pendulum is an understatement. One thing for sure is that only after the event did we realise what scintillating and compulsive television the night had produced giving sponsors Betfair something you could only write in a script. Even today people are saying how brilliant the racing was and how our proud team of greyhounds and staff performed in lifting the trophy we last held in 2006 when the meeting was staged at Wimbledon. That year we won consecutive races with Roswell Spaceman, Star Of Dromin, Blackmagic Guy and January Tiger and the title was in the bag with two races still to be run. As we approached the final leg this time five points behind Charlie Lister we remembered what happened in the 2007 Hall Green event when we held the lead going into the final race only for Charlie Lister to snatch it agonisingly away when Zigzag Dutchman produced a stunning win to leave us in a state of shock at having the title snatched away. Could we do a repeat to our strongest rival, yes we could and to the legend that is Charlie Lister! as Daren Johnson would say it's stuff dreams are made of and boy are we 'delighted'.
The build up to this year's Championship had been bigger and better than ever before. The Betfair luncheon at the plush Langham Hotel in London was attended by a who's who of our industry and the tension was there to be seen between all the trainers. With new boys 'Allsop and Childs' sharing the unbelievable atmosphere for the first time I promise they will look back on their first Championship with pride. Barrie Draper's team with their local knowledge had a squad that in any other year would have been a strong favourite. The greyhound writers all seemed to think Seamus Cahill was the value to repeat his Wimbledon 2008 victory with some big race performers on show but at the end of the day you had to shudder at the sheer strength of reigning champion Charlie Lister's pool of dogs that included 'Greyhound Of The Year' Fear Zafonic, Bandicoot Tipoki, Jordansoilutions and future staying sensation Droopys Belletti. Thankfully after I told everyone last year we were going to beat Charlie's team at Sheffield only to see us completely annihilated, this time I kept quiet only saying our team was ready to do itself justice. No doubt though, our burning ambition to conquer our biggest rival on the track has been there since the humbling Sheffield defeat and yes we wanted it big time! Our team was picked way back before Christmas with just the Puppy Race and Sprint left to nearer the time. Some of our team's first part of the year was built around the Championship but as usual the best thought out ideas never go to plan. Certainties for the team like Droopys Zach was clearly not going to be ready in time for the event after not recovering from injury. Dramatically, and most disappointingly, our Greyhound Derby winner Kinda Ready, who had come back from a winter rest in tip top condition, injured a toe at the Doncaster venue in a preparation trial exactly a week before the big night ruling him out not only of the Championship but also throwing his defence of the Derby crown in doubt. Even so we were still confident with our final team that it could win the Championship and the experience of Kinda Ready's Derby win and Eye Onthe Storm's emphatic wins over Charlie's dogs at Nottingham meant we had every right to feel that way.
A few days before the Championship the track had been re-laid with tons of extra sand but with some adverse weather conditions on the Saturday resulting in going allowances of -150 for the 483m trip all six trainers expressed their concerns of running their top class hounds. Thankfully Johnny Haynes went up on the Sunday with a team of ground staff which by the first race of the meeting on Tuesday had produced an immaculate surface with no bias and going rated about -10, a great effort, we were then all set to begin.
RACE 1- The Puppy race was a scrappy affair but favourite Farley Blitz came through at the end to win by a length for Barry Draper in 29.70 and Dean Childs Swift Planet scored good points when 2nd. A disastrous start for us as reserve Aero Bolt broke well but lost his footing after a stride, then after showing good pace to the bend he got tangled up with trap 4 Ballymac Rumble taking a crashing fall. Picking himself up he thankfully finished the course to give us a point.
Scores - Draper 10, Childs 6, Allsopp 4.
RACE 2 - A perfect response in the Sprint race as Directors Wit produced an astonishing display of sprinting. Breaking well his awesome pace took him clear of his rivals coming home 5 lengths to the good in a cracking 16.74 (-5) with Officer Donagh finishing second for Chris Allsopp. Sprinter of the Year Jimmy Lollie totally missed the break and trailed in last.
Scores - Draper 13, Wallis 11, Allsop 9.
RACE 3 - Division 4 of the Standard saw Jordansoilutions get Charlie Lister off the mark when overcoming trap 5 to lead at the second bend. Thereafter the result was never in doubt, going away to score by 4 lengths from Barry Draper's Eden Rocket in 29.55 (-10). Eye Onthe Flash missed his break but ran well to grab 3rd and 4 valuable points.
Scores - Draper 19, Lister 16, Wallis 15.
RACE 4 - Droopys Belletti was different class in the first of the two Stayers. Leading at the 5th bend he comfortably held the challenge of Go Big Hitter to win by 4 lengths in 41.69 giving Charlie Lister a lead at the half way stage. Corrig Vieri was crowded at the first bend but ran on well to finish 4th only a length away from 2nd.
Scores - Lister 26, Draper 23, Wallis 18.
RACE 5 - In Division 3 of the Standard a fantastic break from Dalcash Scolari took him to the front of affairs, a position he would not relinquish. With Greyhound of the Year Fear Zafonic in trouble Dalcash Scolari bowled along in front to score by a magnificent 4 1/4 lengths in 29.52 (-10) and more importantly getting the team 10 vital points. The victory of 'Bluey' was one of the highlights of the night.
Scores - Lister 29, Wallis 28, Draper 24.
RACE 6 - In Division 2 of the Standard the race looked between Bandicoot Topiki and Eye Eye Pickle and so it proved. With Eye Eye Pickle breaking better he led around the first bend from Bandicoot Topiki who, despite showing serious pace, could never get to our runner who held on gamely by half a length in 29.51 (-10) giving us a healthy lead with two races left to go.
Scores - Wallis 38, Lister 34, Draper 27.
RACE 7 - With the winning line in front of us and St Leger hero Kinda Easy our next runner in Division 1 of the Stayers my thoughts were of picking up the trophy but there was to be a dramatic turn of events as the traps opened. Kinda Easy missed it slightly and with the short run to the bend he got badly crowded and was shuffled back to last. Ahead the unfancied Charlie Lister runner Carbarns Tom was bowling along in front and this is how they stayed with Carbarns Tom winning by 4 1/2 lengths in 41.48 (-15) and ecstasy had turned to despair as we trailed Charlie now by 5 points going into the last leg.
Scores - Lister 44, Wallis 39, Draper 29.
RACE 8 - The final leg of an enthralling night's action and now not only did our superstar Eye Onthe Storm have to win the race but Charlie Lister's runner Tyrur Speedy had to be out of the first two for us to win the title. The tension was unbearable as the hare came round to the traps and even worse 'Frankie' slightly missed the kick but, as with all champions, his determination to get to the front along with his sheer class somehow Eye Onthe Storm was not only in front but clear of the chasing pack. With our thoughts now turning to where Tyrur Speedy was it was joy for us and agony for Charlie when his runner was impeded at the second bend knocking him back to 4th place and despite a gallant effort that's where he stayed. For the record Eye Onthe Storm won by 2 3/4 lengths in 29.49 (-10) underlying why he is a worthy ante-post favourite for this year's Greyhound Derby.
FINAL SCORES :-
MARK WALLIS 49 points
CHARLIE LISTER 47
BARRY DRAPER 30
DEAN CHILDS 28
CHRIS ALLSOPP 27
SEAMUS CAHILL 27
As we made our way to the podium, not only for Eye Onthe Storm's victory but to lift the Trainers Championship trophy, I don't think anyone was more delighted than Eye Onthe Storm's owner John Keefe who three years earlier had seen his Eye Onthe Veto get beat in the last leg at Hall Green which meant victory for Charlie Lister. This time the sheer delight was there for all to see. Sarah and I would personally like to thank all our hard working full time staff - Patrick my brilliant assistant, Pete, Sid, Cheryl, Tom as well as our part time staff - Sandra, Steph, Mel and Melissa for their dedication to our kennel. It goes without saying thanks to my mother in law Linda Jones and especially to our hard working physio Ron Mills who all make it possible for us to achieve these fantastic results. A big thank you to our loyal owners for their continued support and thanks to Betfair for their magnificent sponsorship of the Trainers Championship.
See the Guest Column for more memories of a wonderful night's racing!
It's incredible to think that Imperial Kennels now holds not only both Trainer titles but the Derby, St Leger and William Hill Classic crowns. How we can ever top this I don't know but it will be fun trying!
In other news the week was topped off by an excellent win for Andy Pelley's Goldies Destiny in the Coral Stayers final at Romford on Friday when he romped home by over 6 lengths in 35.65.
This Friday sees the start of the Category 1 Blue Riband at Hall Green and our Trainers Championship winners Eye Onthe Storm, Dalcash Scolari and Eye Eye Pickle as well as last year's beaten favourite Jogadusc Ace and also All That Noise, Foulden Vieri and Adageo will be aimed at this event rather than the gruelling Scottish Derby.
A very brief look at last week's highlights which included a win for the improving All That Noise in the heats of the Guineas at Nottingham in a good 30.10. Earlier in the day only Directors Ruler qualified from the heats of the Spring Festival meeting at Hall Grren.
No luck at Harlow on Wednesday where Risky Sensation was only 3rd in the Monkey Stayers final or at Sittingbourne Thursday with our one runner Rockburst Mason (3rd) but on Friday at Romford there were good wins for Risky Wand (13.57) in the sprint and Aldataro Lass (36.18) in a Maiden Stayers as well as Goldies Destiny in the Final.
Only runners on Saturday with wins from Legit Jack over six bends in a good 38.04 and later on Genesis Fuzzums produced another win in 26.22.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACE - EYE ONTHE STORM
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
All that Noise has a good chance of landing the Guineas final at Nottingham tonight. Opens at Harlow on Wednesday and possibly Sittingbourne Thursday while the main feature of the week is the heats of the Blue Riband on Friday at Hall Green.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Well what can we say, our maximum bet was landed as we lifted the Trainers Championship meeting title and I hope everyone was on at 100/30 with William Hills.
This week sees the start of the Blue Riband at Hall Green and we have some strong entries that include track record holder Eye Onthe Storm who is sure to go off a short priced ante-post favourite. It would be silly not to recommend him but I don't think he will be any price but you never know. Dalcash Scolari loves Hall Green and must be put in our ante-post picks but as much as I don't like to leave the likes of Jogadusc Ace ( loves the track) and the brilliant Eye Eye Pickle out you can't pick them all.
EYE ONTHE STORM - 4 pts win ante-post - Blue Riband - Hall Green - starts Friday
DALCASH SCOLARI - 2 pts e.w ante-post - Blue Riband - Hall Green - starts Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
MARK WALLIS - 5 pts win Trainers Championship meeting - Doncaster - Tuesday -