Monday 30th July 2012
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READ MARK'S BLOG OF THE EXCITING
DERBY BUILD UP CULMINATING IN BLONDE SNAPPER'S FANTASTIC DERBY FINAL WIN
The politics of the sport is at the forefront of most people's conversations whilst I've been racing this week. With the news that Oxford could be closed in the not too distant future for property development and the continued uncertainty at Wimbledon it's obvious that a sense of doom and gloom surrounds our sport. Let's take a minute though and really what we have is one main problem and that is the farcical GRA who run Wimbledon, Oxford, Hall Green, Belle Vue and Perry Barr. Risk Capital, who bought the GRA quite a few years back along with Galliard Homes, clearly did so with the intention of selling the tracks for property development and nothing else. The collapse of the housing market and the recession has meant that they have not been able to do this. They have made severe cutbacks at the tracks to keep running costs at their lowest and profit margins at their highest whilst waiting for an upturn in the economy and have conned everyone into thinking they have no intention of selling. The biggest cancer amongst them all is Clive Feltham, the GRA CEO, who has had the unenviable task of keeping things ticking over until Risk Capital can sell the GRA tracks. What bothers most people is while it is clear that this is the GRA's intention Clive Feltham still sits on the GBGB's Board Of Directors making decisions on Greyhound racing when Galliard Homes, part owners of the GRA, have said publicly 'There's no future in Greyhound racing'. If ever there was a conflict of interests then this is it. The whole scenario is unbelievable and it's time Maurice Watkins and Barry Faulkner our two chiefs at the GBGB did something about it. Whilst i wouldn't attack Clive Feltham personally, he has always been helpful to me and some of our owners with regards to individual requirements, he should resign his position on the the Board immediately. What's crazy about the whole situation as well is that all five tracks the GRA own make a healthy profit each year!
Also this week in the current edition of the Greyhound Star came a strong statement from Peterborough's General Manager Con Baker which highlighted a 'Fragmented Industry lacking in structure'. Con raised some great points some of which I alluded to in last week's Newsletter and I would agree with his comments 'stakeholders in equal proportion should get together and soon, no group should be considered bigger or more important than the other, time to swallow your pride and put greyhound racing and it's survival top of their priority list'. Also this week Racing Post journalist Jonathon Kay's blog had some interesting points and I would agree that Bags tracks could do more in terms of prize money levels but I disagree that a more streamlined industry will produce more thriving tracks. I would say the opposite, given the chance the promoters and bookmakers of less tracks would perhaps prefer to own the dogs themselves and rule the trainers they employ with an iron fist. They would probably not need the GBGB and could run the industry themselves!
New GTA Chairman Rick Holloway has a hell of a job to do and as Seamus Cahill said on RPGTV on Friday it will be a full two years before we can judge him on what he has achieved. There will be no instant magic wand and until there is a proper AGM for the GTA he will be limited to what he can do. I have spoke to many trainers this last week and it is going to take a mammoth effort to please everyone. To me there's only one way to achieve anything for trainers and that will to be for them to be united as a whole body. This can be done if Rick can communicate to them on a regular basis thus giving trust and assurances that they are not on their own when certain demands are being asked for. I have no doubt Rick is the right man for this demanding job and I will support him as much as I can.
It's been a hectic week on the track with the semi-finals of a ultra hot Sussex Cup at Hove being the highlight. Unluckily for us both of our runners on Thursday, Jazz Apollo and Bridge Honcho, finished third in their respective races with only the first two qualifying for the final.
A brilliant Ardbeg Mentor Memorial final at Romford on Friday saw Ayamzaman just lose out to Dean Childs' Droopys Stevie.
The William Hill Puppy Derby at Wimbledon kicked off on Saturday with a reduced field of 24 mainly due to the expected traffic problems caused by the Olympics. I was amazed on my way down that the roads actually seemed quieter than normal. Huge expectations of our Cuil Condor were somewhat quashed as he was beaten at 1/4 on but to be fair he was only having the third race of his career and looked very green but has pace to burn. He will improve but faces a tough semi-final on Friday.
Blonde Fletch was also beaten at prohibitive odds in the heats of the Cock Of The North at Belle Vue but will still have a good chance in next week's final.
If ever there was a dog in our kennel that deserved a big race success then Lil Risky would be the one. On Saturday he produced a storming run to land his Peterborough Derby second round heat in a fastest of the night 25.10 and has a good draw in trap 1 on Wednesday for the semi-final.
In yesterday's Racing Post there was an excellent feature on one of our leading owners Stuart Forsdike. Stuart along with his father Eamon are now famous with their 'Aero' prefix and in the coming months will have a huge amount of promising well bred pups running for them. Great news as well with their St Leger winner Aero Majestic recovering well after breaking his hock at Wimbledon on Derby final night and he will have a good chance of returning to the track later this year. He is currently available at stud for a short period and has already been busy.
Some tremendous news regarding our Blonde Snapper, brilliant winner of this year's William Hill Greyhound Derby. He is now available at stud, standing with Aero Majestic at the Droopys Stud with Sean and Michael Dunphy his fee is 650 euros. Already he has mated one of his owner's Mark Currell's leading race bitches Blonde Fern who won the Blue Riband not so long ago. He has also mated Droopys Lotto the mother of the flying Droppys Loner and has some more decent bitches lined up in the near future. Feel free to contact myself or Droopys Stud if you are interested in using Blonde Snapper.
On Monday at Romford Ayamzaman got the better of Ken Tester's Ardbeg Brandon scoring by 3 1/4 lengths in 24.28 in the heats of the Arbeg Mentor Memorial Trophy. Aero Prince chased home Droopys Stevie in the last heat to qualify for the final.
On Wednesday Lil Risky took his heat of the John Smiths Peterborough Derby in 25.75 (-10). Castlebride Dan also qualified when third in his heat.
As said Blonde Fletch was second in his heat of the Cock O'The North on Thursday beaten 3/4 length by Granard Bound at Belle Vue and Jazz Apollo and Bridge Honcho narrowly missed out on a place in the Sussex Cup final at Hove when both were third in the semi's. Ayamzabeauty also just lost out when a close third in the Puppy Trophy.
At Romford on Friday Ayamzaman and Aero Prince were second and third respectively in the Ardbeg Mentor Memorial Final beaten by Droopys Stevie in 24.07. Two winners on the night when Swift Tigress finished late to take a Maiden Stayers in 36.16 while Risky Rosaleen stormed to a 7 1/2 length success in a decent 35.80 (-30) over 575m.
Cuil Condor was only second in his heat of the William Hill Puppy Derby at Wimbledon on Saturday but over at Peterborough Lil Risky was impressive when taking his second round heat of the Peterborough Derby in a fastest 25.10 with Castlebride Dan just missing out by a short head to make the semi's.
On Wednesday an overdue win from Darian Star in an Owners' Bonus Series race by 3 lengths in 28.23 while Jazz Tilly was best of the rest when second.
On Saturday Risky Blue got back to winning ways scoring by 5 lengths in 28.06. Darian Marvel was second before Swift Chef beat Steam Machine by 1 1/4 lengths in 28.07. Swift Freeze was the most impressive winner on the night scoring by over 8 lengths in 27.83.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Romford tonight with Ayamzabeauty and Swift Tigress running together in the heats of the Coral On TV Maiden Stayers.
Three runners on Hove's Sky card tomorrow with Blonde Reagan looking to enhance his reputation.
On Wednesday the John Smiths Peterborough Derby semi-finals are the highlight and Lil Risky has a great chance.
Blonde Fletch goes from trap 3 in the Cock O'The North final on Thursday and on Friday Cuil Condor faces a stiff task in the William Hill Puppy Derby semi's at Wimbledon.
Hopefully we will be back to Peterborough on Saturday for the final of the Derby.
The Kent Derby at Sittingbourne also begins on Sunday and defending champ Jazz Apollo heads our team.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Bridge Honcho just missed out on a place in the Sussex Cup Final and he could make up for it by taking the supporting race on Sky tomorrow. Blonde Reagan is also going to go well on the card as well. Sadly no bookmakers priced up the Peterborough Derby so Lil Risky is a cert to win it as we have not bet him!! Blonde Fletch can improve on Thursday and can win the Cock O 'The North title.
BRIDGE HONCHO - 2 pts win - Hove - Tuesday
BLONDE REAGAN - 3 pts win - Hove - Tuesday
BLONDE FLETCH - 4 pts win - Belle Vue - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRIDGE HONCHO - 2 pts e.w ante-post 25/1 - Sussex Cup - Hove - lost
LIL RISKY - 2 pts e.w ante-post - Peterborough Derby - no ante-post betting
CUIL CONDOR - 2.5 pts e.w ante-post 13/2 - William Hill Puppy Derby - Wimbledon - continues Friday