Monday 2nd November 2009
If we thought our year could not get any better we were wrong. On Tuesday in the William Hill St Leger Final Kinda Easy and Droopys Zach produced what has been described as the race of the year with Kinda Easy landing a near unbelievable Derby/St Leger double for owners Daren Johnson, Chris Badger and Gary Crouch and not forgetting the now legendary brood bitch Kinda Sleepy. Going into the event we always thought in Kinda Easy, Droopys Zach and the unlucky Corrig Vieri we had decent claims of landing our first ever St Leger a Classic steeped in history but during a roller coaster first three rounds we eventually found ourselves in the unenviable position of having the two market leaders going into the final. With the Sky cameras visiting the kennels last week and an enormous amount of press coverage I would be lying if I didn't say I was feeling the pressure. In what seemed an intense build up it seemed a relief when the dogs were finally loaded into the traps as there was nothing more we could do, it was down to their own talents now and 'boy' did they not let us down.
Both fairly flew out of the boxes and it was Kinda Easy who paced up like a dog possessed and led by a clear couple of lengths from Westmead Wings with our Droopys Zach right where he wanted to be in a menacing 3rd place. Kinda Easy magnificently stretched his lead down the back straight to over 5 lengths, a lead that looked unassailable but not probably to the only dog in the country capable of pegging it back Droopys Zach who had now moved into 2nd. Coming round the last two bends Zach had reduced the deficit to 2 lengths and sprinting up to join Kinda Easy on the run to the line it looked to everyone like he was going to snatch the race in a last ditch thrust but to Kinda Easy's credit he also dug deep in the last few strides and the pair flashed past the line together. I have to say that when the two went down the back straight in first and second it was like the world had lifted off my shoulders and was replaced by an enormous sense of pride as it was clear we were going to lift a title that I had dreamed of winning right back in the days me and my father were watching the likes of Exile Energy and Manx Marajax (probably remembered these as I backed them ante-post!) at Wembley some twenty years ago. Also i felt we had missed a couple of chances over the years with the likes of No Can Waltz and Daisyfield Seanie both of whom were well fancied to win this prestigious Classic. Back to Tuesday and the photo seemed to take a lifetime and at one point I thought 'please be a dead heat' as I had started to think 'damn one set of connections were going to be hugely disappointed, how do I speak to them?'. With the announcement of trap 6 Kinda Easy the winner huge cheers rang from the stands and myself, Patrick and 'Dave' (as Kinda Easy is fondly known in the kennel) were greeted by an army of fans celebrating the superb victory. His time of 40.54 was incredibly just 3/4 length outside the track record and wow what a race he and the brilliant runner up Droopys Zach had run.
Again, like the Derby, the night went very quick as celebrations began as well as commiserations to the Zak's gracious owner Andy Pelley who had come to offer congratulations to the winning connections and at last the dream had finally sunk in. It goes without saying what a tremendous team effort it was from all at Imperial Kennels to produce this magnificent 1-2 with a special mention to our physio Ron Mills who again worked his magic in keeping our two stars 100 % sound and also thank you for the hundreds of well wishes that we have received this week.
On what was a superb Sky card on Tuesday at Wimbledon the St Leger final was not the only highlight for our kennel. Our only other runner was no less than the progressive Eye Onthe Storm who had his reputation on the line in an ultra tough 480m race. John Keefe's star again answered all the questions with a scintillating display of raw power. Breaking well from trap 1 he simply destroyed his opposition with brute early pace and a majestic turn of foot down the back straight to race clear eventually coming home to score by over 5 lengths in a breathtaking 28.48 thus also stretching his winning run to eight which includes the Category 1 Nottingham Puppy Classic. The previous race, a 460m contest, was won in impressive fashion by Lenson Bolt in a new track record of 27.30 and just to put into context Eye Onthe Storm's run he was actually inside that track record when he passed the 460m winning line. Eye Onthe Storm is now trading as short as 20/1 for next year's Greyhound Derby in some books and if he continues to improve we can all get excited about repeating this year's triumph in the premier classic. Both he and Lenson Bolt are top class dogs and the Greyhound Writers Association have a difficult job of picking the best newcomer of the year award when they sit down to decide who they will vote for and throw into the mix Diane Henry's Ten Large Down which one would you pick? For me Eye Onthe Storm should be a slight favourite and deservedly so. While on the subject of the awards, both Kinda Easy and Droopys Zach still have serious claims in the top Stayer award and both are pitched in together for the heats this Tuesday of the Yorkshire St Leger at Doncaster, another Category 1 event which could have an enormous bearing on the Stayers award as all of the leading candidates are running in this £9,000 to the winner competition.
In other news, following on from the well attended public meeting of Owners, Trainers and Breeders at Nottingham last month organised by Martin White, another meeting is planned this week with some of the key people involved with an aim of putting a structure in place for this new association (GOATABA) of which I strongly support. Hopefully soon we will have a united voice that we can, with the help of the GBGB, bring our sport forward and give everyone some renewed hope of better times ahead.
On Monday we travelled to Nottingham with the feature race the Brakes Foodservice Autumn Puppy Cup final the highlight and although our runner Droopys Elbow was only 2nd he ran his best race to date only getting beat 2 1/2 lengths in a fast 29.88 (+30) with some good pups like Honey Trampas and Romeo Active behind him. In other races Goldcrest King (2nd) and Bumble Lee (4th) ran well.
As said above the St Leger night was superb but we were brought down to earth a bit on Wednesday with no winners at Harlow with Eye Onthe Pulse (2nd) closest and Rank N File only 5th in the Monkey Maiden final.
At Newcastle on Thursday the All England Cup started with six heats and in heat 2 both Eye Onthe Flash and Kengeyelfuto Snow both qualified but were well beaten by Ballymac Ruso in a fast 28.69. Dalcash Scolari was also eliminated in a tough heat and in the last heat Jogadusc Ace led but was quickly passed by an impressive Wise Thought who won in a fastest 28.49 with Jogadusc Ace run out of a qualifying spot by 3/4 length and Parkmore Elite knocked over at the first bend but OK afterwards.
On Friday a couple of winners at Romford got us back on track with a rejuvenated Directors Fire scooting up in a 400m by over 5 lengths in 24.09 while Goldies Destiny took a 575m Standard by a length in 35.92. On the same night at Hall Green the heats of the Midland St Leger and Midland Oaks began and though Treacle Express was out of luck in the Oaks Jogadusc Jasper at last showed us what he can do with a fine win in his St Leger heat picking up the useful Bourne Masons to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 40.02.
Justins Princess was again 3rd when running well on Wednesday and on Saturday Lord Pishy found one too good when runner up beaten 3 3/4 lengths in a fast 25.92 (+20). Risky Invader got back on the scoresheet taking an A4 in good style scoring by nealy 5 lengths in 25.81 (+20). Risky Fabio (3rd) and Russell Legit (4th) were expensive failures in the next two races and Hawk Sky ran well when 3rd. Genesis Fuzzums gained an overdue win beating kennel mate Rainham Giles by 3/4 length in 26.10 (+30). Both Goldies Tara and new pup Legit Jack could only finish 4th when expected to win but Bim Bam Boozle showed real promise when scoring a well deserved victory by 4 lengths in 26.38 (+30). Centaur Rosina was robbed of a win when some 4 lengths clear at the last bend but amazingly there was a power cut that left the stadium in total darkness and the race was void. Once resuming Blackey Said So followed up on last week's win to score again by a neck in 26.10 (+30).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON THIS WEEK
Eye Eye Pickle trials tonight at Nottingham for the forthcoming Eclipse and on a very busy Tuesday we are at Doncaster for the Yorkshire St Leger heats with Classic heroes Kinda Easy and Droopys Zach renewing rivalry and Corrig Vieri looking for compensation by landing this Category 1 event. A long journey back to the North East as well for the semi-finals of the All England Cup at Newcastle and both Eye Onthe Flash and Kengyelfuto Snow have good draws to work from but will have to improve to make the final. At Hall Green Jogadusc Jasper is not without a chance of landing the Midland St Leger and in supporting opens all eyes will be on Eye Onthe Storm who bids for a nine timer when lining up in a good 480m from trap 1.
The rest of the week is yet to be confirmed but Coventry's opens are now on a Friday from this week and we should be sending runners there this week and maybe Romford as well.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Sadly our interest in the All England Cup ended when Jogadusc Ace was eliminated at the first stage but we will forgive him as he owes us nothing over the year. Droopys Zach, our recommendation for the William Hill St Leger, only failed by a short head to land the spoils for a bumper pay out. Thankfully the blow was eased as he was only beaten by kennelmate Kinda Easy and the kennel winning was a real tonic for all concerned.
The Yorkshire St Leger follows up quick from the Wimbledon event when it begins tomorrow and all the leading stayers are up there. If I'm honest I believe all three of our runners are in with a great shout but I think the vast galloping track will suit Droopys Zach more and though only 5/1 for the event I still think he's worth a good bet.
DROOPYS ZACH - 2.5 pts ew ante-post (5/1) - Yorkshire St Leger - Doncaster - Tuesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
DROOPYS ZACH - 2 pts e.w ante-post - William Hill St Leger - Wimbledon - 2nd 12/1
JOGADUSC ACE - 1pts e.w ante-post - All England Cup - Newcastle - Thursday - lost