Monday 2nd September 2013
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Sad news this week to hear about the death of former Walthamstow colleague Graham Sharp.Graham was one of the nicest men I've come across in my time in the sport and always had a smile and a kind greeting for me when we met at the tracks and had a genuine love and passion for greyhounds, deepest sympathy to all his family.
It's nice to be involved in two major finals this week. One which we have it all to do to win and another where we have a great chance of lifting the title.
On Wednesday Blonde Reagan defends his TV Trophy crown at our home track Yarmouth but unlike last year at Monmore he will be almost the outsider of the field. His form has been somewhat erratic this year and he has had a few injury issues but also this is a red hot renewal of the marathon crown with the likes of the flying Musical Gaga and the talented Farloe Tango, who beat him by 8 lengths in his heat. He does however have an excellent draw in trap 6 and if he can ping the lids and lead up he might well cause a surprise.
On Thursday Bridge Ruth is a warm favourite to win the Brighton Belle where she lines up in trap 3 after a scintillating 29.64 semi-final win. Jaytee Jules only a couple a lengths off her on the clock is the main danger and Ruth must try to beat Paul Young's bitch to the bend if she is to justify her short odds.
Both finals score good points to the Trainer Of The Year title and with the other main contenders for the title involved in these events a couple of decent results would be much needed. Injuries have played a major part in our season already and again our luck has been out. Planning, a tidy open race dog, finished lame after running very well last Sunday at Coventry. A visit to the vets revealed a fractured wrist including a chip off the pisoform bone. Although he certainly will be OK to be a pet his race career is over. Planning won 14 times from 46 starts (11 opens) and was 4th in last year's Essex Vase behind Smiler Jack for owner John Jeffery and was a popular dog for the punters, he had pace to burn.
Two big events start this week with the Coral Romford Puppy Cup beginning on Friday and Adageo Lad (formerly Swift Sean) for the connections of our 2012 winner Glanmire Lad and Benkaat Boomer, who was a nice winner on Friday, head our team. On Saturday a high class East Anglian Derby, which includes Greyhound Derby winner Sidaz Jack, kicks off at Yarmouth. Injuries to some of our team mean we may only have a couple of entries which is most unusual for us.
I can take the honour of being the last guest sitting on the RPGTV couch last Sunday as they moved from their old studio in Tottenham Court Road to a more plush looking studio at Canary Wharf. This seems a firm commitment from the sponsors that greyhound racing on the 212 channel is here to stay and with new sponsors Betfred teaming up with the current sponsors again it shows our sport is a nice little earner for the bookmakers. It goes without saying this is also a chance to promote the industry along with many other opportunities but the sponsors must remember it is a struggle at the moment for the owners, trainers and breeders who supply the product and enhanced prize money for owners and appearance money for trainers must be taken into consideration or they may find that there are no greyhounds or trainers around to keep the show on the road. Of course we know it's tough for bookmakers as Ladbrokes profit margins were slightly down this last year to £900,000,000 and though not sponsors of the channel but certainly one that profits from the show Paddy Power just announced that they had record profits of £53,000,000 and we all know greyhound racing is an important part of their portfolio.
On Monday the high class Paddy Power TV Trophy heats kicked off and Blonde Reagan shot clear in his heat but was quickly in Farloe Tango's radar and he passed Reagan down the back straight for the last time to kick clear and score by 8 lengths in a decent 53.46. Aayamzabella found herself in all kinds of trouble in her heat as she tried to get across to the rails from trap 4 and was still finding trouble when last approaching the final turn, eventually finding some racing room she took off but failed by 1/2 length to qualify for the final.
At Sheffield on Tuesday it was disappointing to see both Bridge Honcho and Bridge Bandit crash out the Betfred Steel City Cup at the first round stage with both unable to get any sort of run.
Bridge Ruth couldn't have been more impressive when skating up in her semi-final of the Coral Brighton Belle in a fast 29.64 and Darian Star tried her best but failed to qualify in her heat and has now come into season.
On Friday at Romford from our three runners Benkaat Boomer showed some great pace to win a decent 400m Maiden in 24.20 and now heads to the Puppy Cup with confidence.
On Sunday at Coventry Sidaz Dippy ran well when 3rd having a blow out over four bends and Blonde Bobby threatened when recovering from a slow start to take the 672m but after leading at the 4th bend ran out of gas to finish 3rd. Jazz Apollo did well to keep the winning distance down to a little over 4 lengths against track specialist Sawpit Sensation.
YARMOUTH AND COVENTRY REVIEW
On Saturday we had a mixed night at Yarmouth with a great win for Ilewin Aggen in a decent 28.17 in A2 company while bad news for Polar Sean as he was disqualified in his race.
At Coventry on Sunday Hillcross Dallas scored an overdue win in an A4 in 30.01.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
On Wednesday night the Paddy Power TV Trophy final is the feature of the live Sky card at Yarmouth with Blonde Reagan trying to defend his title.
Bridge Ruth holds all the aces in the Coral Brighton Belle final on Thursday night and both the Romford Puppy Cup (Friday) and the East Anglian Derby at Yarmouth (Saturday) get underway.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Bridge Honcho crashed out of the Steel City Cup on Tuesday but Bridge Ruth is trading at 1/2 on for the Brighton Belle final this Thursday. Our followers with 6/1 vouchers can easily afford a little trading to ensure a healthy profit.
Benkaat Boomer and Adageo Lad are our main entries in the Romford Puppy Cup and are worth a small interest before it starts on Friday.
BENKAAT BOOMER - 2pts e.w ante-post - Romford Puppy Cup - starts Friday
ADAGEO LAD - 1 pt e.w ante-post - Romford Puppy Cup - starts Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRIDGE RUTH - 4 pts win 6/1 Coral Brighton Belle - final Thursday
BRIDGE HONCHO - 2.5 pts e.w ante-post 25/1 - Betfred Steel City Cup - Sheffield - lost