Monday 30th November 2009
As the long dark nights draw in and the weather turns bitterly cold what better way for our kennel to get through the next 3-4 months than seeing one of our stars ante-post favourite for next year's Greyhound Derby. That is now the case as John Keefe's Eye Onthe Storm now trades as short as 16/1 with some bookmakers for the premier classic after destroying a top class field last Thursday at Nottingham to land the Betfred Eclipse. Going into the final after two scintillating runs in the heats and semi's of the £8,000 to the winner event he was almost written off as he drew a hazardous trap 5 slot but, as they say, champions can win from any draw and after a half decent break along with devastating early pace he comfortably led going into the first bend, cutting across to the rails and with crowding behind he majestically strode down the back straight with a decisive lead and showing no signs of slowing down he crossed the line over 5 lengths ahead of his star studded rivals in a blistering 29.51, the fastest time of the year, much to the delight of his vast amount of supporters he has gathered over the last few months in which he has now won 13 of his last 15 opens. Indeed he has also become the first ever greyhound to land both the Puppy Classic and the Eclipse in the same year at the Midland venue. I am now on record as saying he is the fastest and best greyhound I have put a lead on since I first walked into Imperial Kennels. With this year being my 20th of some very memorable years, this is a brave statement considering this is the breakthrough year in which we have won a Derby but no disrespect to Kinda Ready, Eye Onthe Storm is a completely different type of greyhound. What can we say - what a year! how can we ever top this? Well let me tell you the passion is burning deep inside me to try and better this and with my dedicated team of staff who I owe so much to, which I again thank for all their efforts. and my wife Sarah supporting everything I do and also with the help of top class physio Ron Mills and an ever watchful mother in law in legend Linda Jones we will have every chance to give it our best shot.
The politics of the sport has taken a step back this week with the death of Stuart Locke-Hart after a long illness. The chairman of the Federation of British Greyhound Owners Association was a much respected man and our condolences go out to his family. He was a proud owner of some top class greyhounds over the years and it would be a fitting tribute if his bitch Freedom Emma, trained by Richard Yeates, can do well in the Oaks at Wimbledon which starts this week. I know also he would liked to have seen more unity in the sport and though now is not the time to go into detail but I'm heavily involved in the new association GOBATA and over the coming weeks I will be detailing all aspects of what is trying to be achieved - the new web site Gobata.co.uk should be on show this week.
Eye Onthe Storm's victory on Thursday was also our 300th open race winner of the year and this week invitations to our Kennel celebration on January 9th will be sent out. As last year's party was such a success and the venue The Hare at Roxwell is limited to space please please don't be late in replying or you might be disappointed. My good friend Peter Sanderson is the landlord and his food is widely regarded as the best in Essex and with entertainment booked it promises to be some night but the highlight for me will be the DVD capturing the year's achievements produced by Sky's Clive Lawrence which will be shown after the food is served and I guess this will be a touch longer than last year! I also strongly advise to book the hotel (details on invites) close to the pub for the night so you can really let your hair down as Peter will be serving until the last person leaves!
On the subject of parties, the tickets are now on sale for the annual industry awards ceremony. This will again take place at the London Hilton Metropole on January 31st and if you haven't been before then I thoroughly recommend you attend. The black tie night is properly done and again expect a late night! This year promises to be special for our kennel as in my opinion no other kennel in the history of the sport has achieved what we have this year and I just hope that our greyhounds are recognised when the Greyhound writers make their selections for each award. I would imagine for their respective categories Kinda Ready, Eye Onthe Storm, Jogadusc Ace, Droopys Zach, Kinda Easy, Bomber Bailey and Corrig Vieri
are all leading contenders with Eye Onthe Storm looking a likely winner for best newcomer and might even be nudging the scribes for Greyhound Of The Year. Tickets are £55 each and I will be booking a number of tables next week so if the owners who want to join me can let me know a.s.a.p it would be appreciated.
Continuing the theme of parties, the Harlow Christmas party is on next Sunday night 6.30 til late (6th) at the Stadium and Maurice Newman has done everyone proud with some top entertainment and a good night is expected. I have a few tickets left (£30 each), if anyone is interested in attending please let me know. In the morning our unbeaten football team is on show as Romford look for revenge after their 1-0 loss to us a few weeks ago, kick off is 11 o'clock.
Trips to Hall Green on Tuesdays have been a regular and fruitful feature the last few weeks and last week we again had some success. Kinda Handy was 3rd in a sprint to the prolific Officer Donagh before Gan On Parker landed a kennel 1-2 in the Puppy 480m when beating Rockburst Canyon 3 lengths in 28.99 (-30). Gan On Parker is improving all the time and both he and the younger Rockburst Canyon look fine prospects. In the Veterans race Kindred Sparky made it four wins from 5 races at the track when beating Ballydaniel Adam 1 1/2 lengths in 28.79 (-30) and Jogadusc Ace made no mistakes when justifying favouritism in the British Bred 480m scoring by 2 1/2 lengths in 28.74 (-30). Dalcash Scolari would have made it 4 winners on the night if he had tracked a bit more cleverly but had to settle for 3rd in the 480m Standard.
Only the one open for us at Harlow on Wednesday and Kilquane Jack put a couple of disappointing runs over 592m behind him as he bolted in by over 7 lengths in a fast 37.63. At Romford on the same night the semi-finals of the Essex Vase were the feature and in the first heat Eye Onthe Tempo was in a healthy lead but was caught at the 5th bend by Droopys Carvalho and then right on the line he and Bubbly Toti flashed over the line together. With the judges unable to separate them a dead heat was called and the only way to decide who went through to the final was by either a toss of the coin or a run off between the two with eventually the latter being chosen. In the next semi Goldies Destiny didn't quite break as well as he can and only turned in 3rd place and though running well he could never improve on his place and was eliminated from the event.
Thursday night at Nottingham as said above not only did we achieve winning the Betfred Eclipse with Eye Onthe Storm but our only other runner on the night Eye Eye Pickle also took a 500m Standard one of the supporting races on Sky. Showing great early pace he led a going into the bend opening a 3 length lead and despite coming back to the field held on comfortably to take the scalps of both Wise Thought and Farloe Lee in a time of 29.84.
On Friday it looked like our successful week was set to continue as our first runner at Coventry Directors Fire made no mistake when favourite in a sprint scoring by 1 1/2 lengths in a good 16.99 but defeats for the fancied Corrig Vieri (2nd), Directors Ruler (2nd), Eye Onthe Flash (6th) brought us back down to earth and then as usual in this game there is always a kick in the teeth as fine prospect Eye Onthe Impact led off the second bend in the heats of the 480m Maiden he suffered a broken hock and did not finish. Hopefully it's not too serious and he will return in the Spring. Unnoticed in the same race youngster All That Noise ran well to be 2nd and qualify for next Friday's Final. As expected in the run-off for a place in the Essex Vase final which took place that night Eye Onthe Tempo was no match for Bubbly Totti and was soundly beaten but came off safe and sound.
On Wednesday litter brother and sister Royale Boy and Miss Sarah both ran well when 2nd in their respective races while out of the same Droopys Vieri x Droopys Nectar litter Aldataro Lass produced an improved performance in her second start when winning in fine style by over 3 lengths in a very good 25.96 and we will be hearing a lot more from this beautiful looking bitch. Sublime Rocket also scrambled a win in 26.23. On Saturday in horrible wet conditions Hawk Sky used his power to get through the wet winning by 6 lengths in 26.92 (-40), Bim Bam Boozle led but was caught close home going down by a head in 27.19 (-50) before Genesis Fuzzums just got up to score by a short head in 27.23 (-60). Justins Princess at last got a win under her belt running on to score by a length in 27.12 (-60) and Risky Fabio was best of our others when 2nd.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACE - EYE ONTHE STORM
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tuesday we are again on at Hall Green. though this week with only three runners while at Romford a major shock for the kennel as we have missed out having a runner in the Sky final the Essex Vase but will have to settle for the one runner on Sky when Goldcrest Lord runs in a 400m. After the Sky cameras have finished Risky Invader also runs in another 400m race.
Opens at Harlow Wednesday, while on Thursday the Henlow Winter Derby begins and Jogadusc Ace will be a leading contender hoping to go better than last year where he reached the final. Coventry on Friday where All That Noise runs in the 480m Maiden final and we should have runners in the supporting opens.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Eye Onthe Storm's brilliant win in the Eclipse Final again gave our followers a good pay day as the 3 pt win at odds of 8/1 yielded a tidy profit. Looking for a bet this week I strongly recommend a wager on All That Noise on Friday at Coventry in the 480m Maiden Final at what should be tasty odds.
ALL THAT NOISE - 3 pts win - Friday - Coventry
ADVISED LAST WEEK
EYE ONTHE STORM - 3pts win ante-post - Betfred Eclipse - Nottingham - Thursday - WON 8/1