Monday 29th October 2012
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READ MARK'S BLOG OF THE EXCITING
DERBY BUILD UP CULMINATING IN BLONDE SNAPPER'S FANTASTIC DERBY FINAL WIN
Last Thursday has to be one of the best night's greyhound racing Imperial Kennels has enjoyed over many years. As well as some excellent winners at Hove and Henlow we captured the coveted Ladbrokes TV Trophy at Monmore for the first ever time with a breathtaking front running display from Blonde Reagan.
Going into Thursday night's final the pressure was really on with a titanic battle at the top of the Trainers Championship between ourselves and the flying Paul Young kennel. With both of us represented in the £8,000 to the winner event that carried 50 points for the winning trainer there was a lot more at stake than just the prestigious title. Blonde Reagan who had really only just scraped into the competition with some indifferent performances over the last few weeks epitomised what our kennel is all about and that's getting everything right when it matters most. Like he did in the heats he fairly bolted out the traps and just cleared the well away Pantone Ava on the short run to the bend and bearing in mind Dave Mullins' bitch had beaten us in three previous meetings this was trapping at its best. Reagan set a furious pace on the first circuit and blew the other front runners away. Both Pantone Ava and more importantly Paul Young's Aero Gaga could not live with him but the job was not done yet. As expected the favourite, Jason Foster's Storm Pockets, emerged at the seventh bend to set after Blonde Reagan and briefly on the long run in looked like he was going to prevail but Reagan dug deep to find that extra stamina to hold on by 3/4 length to clinch that all important victory.
This was another major triumph for our partnership with owner MarkCurrell and we all savoured another fabulous Category 1 Final win afterwards and both Ladbrokes and the team at Monmore made the night really special with a superb new trophy befitting the history of the
TV Trophy being presented to Mark and his wife Kim. Together over the last 18 months we have now landed the Coral Regency, a famous William Hill Festival double at Sunderland, the Coral Golden Sprint and of course the prize all owners dream of this year's William Hill Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon, long may it continue!
As I mentioned, it was also a night to savour for the kennel and although out of luck in the Henlow gold Cup where Darian Chief missed the break and couldn't get competitive when finishing last we still had three winners on the night with the improving Kinda Neat, Castlebride Dan and a storming finish from a back to form Benkaat Boy.
Over at Hove Billy Mac got off the mark and Bridge Ruth confirmed the promise she showed last week with another scintillating display of pace to beat the tidy Airlie Impact but the race that had most people talking about was the Tony Noble House Hunter Stakes where Airforce Diva was a 1/2 favourite. Her Achilles heel is definitely the way she keeps charging the traps before they open meaning she can sometimes miss the break badly. This was the case on Thursday and when she paced up to the bend she was met with a wall of dogs that forced her to check up. With some 6 to 7 lengths to make up and five dogs to pass she probably would have been 20/1 + in running to land the spoils but she somehow did get up in the closing strides, much to the delight of the RPGTV team and all the crowd at the track, what a run!
Seven winners on the night has seen our advantage over Paul Young creep up to over 125 points and with only four major Category 1's left in the year, and with our kennel expecting to go well in some of these, I would fancy the Championship to be ours well before Christmas but we won't be taking anything for granted.
The one sour note of the night was the continuing rumours that the brilliant coverage of greyhound racing on Sky over the last 16 years or so could be coming to an end. With so much being paid by Sky for the saturated football coverage and their new addition of Formula 1 motor racing some live sports will have be axed or dramatically cut down. Producer Dave Lawrence and his wonderful team are fighting to save the show but I, like so many people, have little faith in the chief negotiator for our sport, namely Clive Feltham, Head of the GRA, who hold the rights for Sky. My problem has always been that the GRA have no interest in Greyhound racing and are merely waiting for the property market to flourish again before they sell off all the tracks that they own, so why is this man negotiating our deal with Sky in what is
our major advert for our industry. The other promoters and the GBGB must take some of the blame for allowing this to happen. Why are they not sending in a team of experts to go with Clive Feltham and put the strongest case forward for continuing coverage on Sky. Perhaps even if we to waive any price Sky have to pay the GRA just for maybe another year just to show faith. The implications if we lose Sky coverage could be quite dramatic, I can see leading sponsors dropping out with regular and prestigious competitions being forced to be scrapped which in turn will make the market for owning top class greyhounds disappear. For kennels like ours that has over the last few years seen the safety of top contracts gone with the loss of Walthamstow, the top class racing that has been so successful for us has been our only lifeline in this time so any impact the loss of Sky coverage would have on the top end of the sport could see financial ruin for us, it is a real worry.
On a positive note we are really pleased with the response we have had to our brand new Markwallisgreyhounds 'Racing Club' that is being launched this week on November 1st. We have quite a few members all signed up and I strongly recommend that if you are thinking about becoming a member do so before our first Club Greyhound runs next month. I Am Titanium had his first qualifying trial last Thursday at Yarmouth and this young April 11 whelp recorded a very satisfactory 17.03 over 277m and will have his first official four bend trial this coming Thursday. I think he could be special and we are already looking at an exciting June 11 pup with a view to making it our Club's second purchase. Click on our 'Racing Club' bullet for full details if you are interested in joining.
Walthamstow's plight is very much in the hands of our Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his decision on whether L&Q can go ahead with their potential slum looks likely to be made at the end of this week. It will not hurt for one last push by all our supporters so find 5 minutes and
drop the Mayor a quick e-mail to tell him of your support for the return of greyhound racing, the address to send to is mayor@London.gov.com.
With the safety of the Trainers Championship somewhat sorted, this week's big event is the William Hill St Leger starting at Wimbledon this Saturday. Brilliantly won last year by our Aero Majestic who sadly won't be able to defend his title due to injury we will still feel we can do well. Blonde Reagan will have no problems dropping down in trip and our TV Trophy hero could nudge a few people for the Greyhound Of The Year accolade should he win this now £15,000 to the winner classic. Blonde Fletch out injured over the last few weeks is racing against time to take his place in the line up but after a decent 27.77 calc trial at Yarmouth at the weekend a St Leger victory would be a fitting end to a brilliant career. Others to take their chance could be Hometown Honey, Risky Rosaleen, Adageo Brae, Ballintine Molly, Mountjoy Orion and Carden Twilight.
Bridge Honcho (29.53) and Glanmire Lad (17.85) produced some stunning trials at Nottingham on Monday but we were out of luck at Mildenhall on Tuesday with our three runners.
Thursday was a sensational day for the kennels highlighted by Blonde Reagan's brilliant Ladbrokes TV Trophy success at Monmore in a great 51.98.
At Henlow Kinda Neat took the Puppy race with a thrilling finish just getting up on the line to win by the minimum margin in 28.04 (-10) as did Benkaat Boy over 428m in a good 26.10 (-10). Castlebride Dan was the easiest winner of the night enjoying a drop in class when scooting up in 27.78 (-10). Benkaat Blue showed good pace in his second race back from injury but was only 4th in a hot top division over 462m.
At Hove as said there were wins for Airforce Diva (30.32) and Bridge Ruth (29.84) over 515m and a debut win for Billy Mac (28.27) over 475 for a magnificent 7 open wins on the night.
At Romford on Friday night Ayamzaman leapt in front in the most opens won in the country with win number 17 where he led at the 3rd bend to score by 2 lenths in 24.03. Adageo Brae ran well when 2nd in a warm 575m.
Not the greatest of days at Coventry on a bitterly cold Saturday morning where Swift Lucozade qualified for the Puppy final next Sunday when 3rd in her heat. Jazz Apollo having his first race for a couple of months pleased us when 3rd in a good 485m contest.
On Wednesday the £1,000 to the winner Yarmouth Championship went to the on fire Licon Lark with Darian Marvel finding it tough when only 5th but our only other runner Aero Apache won well in an A2 in 28.02 (+20). A good night on Saturday with Risky Blue scoring in an A2 in a 28.37 calc, Wednesdaywhacker scored an overdue win in an S2 in 42.19 but most impressive of the night was Swift Freeze who took a top grade in a flying 27.83 calc.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A good card at Nottingham tonight with a brilliant trial stake for the forthcoming Eclipse that pitches Bridge Honcho against Ballymac Eske- we know what happened the last time these two met in the Olympic final at Hove last month.
Lil Risky returns to the scene of his big race triumph at Peterborough on Wednesday in the heats of the Fengate Collar with the final being on Saturday.
We will probably have runners at Henlow and Hove on Thursday and most likely Romford on Friday.
Saturday sees the first round of the William Hill St Leger worth £15,000 to the winner and Mark Currell will be eyeing up a famous Derby/Leger double lat achieved only three years ago by Daren Johnson and the boys in 2009 with Kinda Ready and Kinda Easy.
Swift Lucozade runs in the Puppy Final at Coventry on Sunday.
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Strange decision from Monmore in making Lil Risky only a reserve in the supporting Sky race but what a pay day we had again with Blonde Reagan scooping the honours when landing the TV Trophy at a juicy ante-post 25/1. Our followers have now been fortunate to win plenty of bookmakers' cash with this latest ante-post coup. Can we find our next competition winner with the William Hill St Leger starting this Saturday. I see no reason why Blonde Reagan can't drop down in trip to six bends and he runs Wimbledon well. For an outsider who, if he gets accepted, might surprise a few so let's take a chance on Adageo Brae.
BLONDE REAGAN - 2 pts e.w ante-post - William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon - starts Saturday
ADAGEO BRAE - 1 pt e.w ante-post - William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
LIL RISKY - 2 pts win - Monmore - Thursday - did not run
BLONDE REAGAN - 1 pt e.w ante-post 25/1 - Ladbrokes T.V Trophy - Monmore - WON 25/1