Monday 3rd May 2010
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At just after 10.15pm on Thursday 28th April the greyhound world came to a deathly silence as thousands of people both at Wimbledon or watching the live streaming on the net witnessed the sad sight of our multiple Category 1 winner and ante-post Derby favourite Eye Onthe Storm being carried off the track by my assistant and friend Patrick Janssens. Just moments earlier 'Frankie's desire and will to win, and in this case to try and gain a qualifying position, cost him his career and nearly his life. The sound of an horrendous crack rang out at the third bend when his determined challenge came to an abrupt end. This sadly was the sound of his leg shattering and was told to me the next morning by a concerned Charlie Lister who was only a few yards away at the time, one he said he would not forget for a long time. His chance of Derby glory had gone in a split second but as always this was the last thing on both Patrick and Cheryl's mind as well as his distressed owner John Keefe, their only thoughts were of getting our stricken greyhound the best attention possible as quick as they could. Boy! this game can be so tough sometimes and my heart goes out to John as this magnificent greyhound who again was giving his all for both owner and kennel. The sad sight of both dog and Patrick on their way back to the paddock prompted the Wimbledon crowd to an amazing round of applause in response to his efforts and the next and last heat was run in almost silence in respect, truly amazing. As you could imagine the last few days have been difficult to say the least.
The vet at Wimbledon did a fine job of strapping Eye Onthe Storm up so we could get him back to the kennel and Patrick and Cheryl headed back on the two hour journey, after a night like that it must have seemed endless. The first phone call very early on Friday morning came from Nick Savva who strongly advised me to take our seriously injured fella to Daniel Doherty in Uxbridge who had expertly pieced together a nasty hock injury to his Ardmayle Courier the week before. Without hesitation Patrick was back on the road with a bemused and sorry looking but happy 'Frankie' and after initial x-rays revealed some nasty looking breaks that certainly looked almost impossible to fix Daniel got to work with some extensive surgery that lasted late into the night. Satisfied that everything had gone well he not only waited for him to come round from his operation but also took 'Frankie' home with him to keep an eye on him overnight. Like all champions as you would expect 'Frankie' lay there awake but as good as gold for the concerned vet and the great news that we could pick him up on Saturday was a huge relief to all.
I have to say a massive thank you to Daniel Doherty for his expertise and it goes without saying how proud I am of the professionalism shown by both Patrick and Cheryl in difficult circumstances. Again I can't say how sorry I feel for John and Teresa Keefe who's pride and joy had given them so much pleasure in an all too short career. Also a heartfelt thank you to all those messages of goodwill from many people in the greyhound industry who had expressed their concern for Eye Onthe Storm over the last few days. Thankfully 'Frankie' looks to be in the clear and rest assured he will have a happy and loving retirement once he recovers from his injury in a few months. In all Eye Onthe Storm had 31 races winning 20 times which included three Category 1's - the Nottingham Puppy Classic, The Eclipse and most recently the Blue Riband, as well as a string of one off and Sky races including a track record at Hall Green. He brilliantly won the final leg of the Trainers Championship meeting at Doncaster a few weeks a go winning our kennel the title in dramatic fashion and I personally thank him for giving me one of the best feelings I have had in greyhound racing that night. It's not said often but the majestic and brilliant Eye Onthe Storm was a superstar in our sport, one which will be sorely missed on the track.
The William Hill Greyhound Derby for us began so well, starting out with 13 entries it was Eye Eye Pickle's scorching victory in heat 1 on Thursday in a new track record of 28.48 that perhaps led us into a false sense of confidence. Blonde Banjo who qualified in 3rd was a pleasant surprise but both Eye Onthe Flash and Kinda Handy who were quietly fancied were eliminated tamely before disaster struck with Eye Onthe Storm. On Friday our three runners to be fair all had hard tasks. Aero Bolt was desperately unlucky as his heels were clipped when just he was just about to lead at the first bend knocking him to the back of the field and out of the event, Eye Onthe Tempo did well to hang on to a third qualifying spot but youngster Directors Spur was just out of the first three and was also eliminated. Still reeling from the difficulties of Thursday our five runners went in to the last batch of heats in pensive mood but the seemingly out of form Kinda Easy popped up in heat 27 with a brilliant win leading on the run in to score in 28.82. Jogadusc Ace made a bit of a hash of the start and then got no run to the bend resulting in elimination for last year's semi-finalist. Adageo who had trialled very well at Plough Lane provided one of the highlights of the first round for us after turning handy in heat 31, his powerful finish took the heat in a good 28.68. Dalcash Scolari looked like he had overcome a difficult heat and draw with a good break but again just as he was going to go around the first bend in front trap 1 moved off and caught his back legs forcing him to check and his Derby was over. All in all we have five left in the premier classic but as expected it's had the edge took off with the injury to Eye Onthe Storm and worse still after the second round draw yesterday our remaining hopefuls have all got demanding draws in hard races with in particular Eye Eye Pickle drawing trap 6 in an unseeded heat, nice!
On Monday Rockburst Canyon set the track alight in the heats of the Coral on TV Puppy Trophy. Leading at the first bend he raced away to a near 4 length win in a blistering 23.67 (+40). Lil Magic got no run in her heat but youngster Mountjoy Rock produced a good run when second in the final heat. The rest of the week's opens including the Derby heats at Wimbledon were largely disappointing with no winners at Harlow on Wednesday, Sittingbourne on Thursday and Romford on Friday where Rockburst Canyon couldn't overcome a poor trap 6 draw (Mountjoy Rock withdrawn in trap 5) but ran well to be second in the Puppy Final and Risky Wand also ran well when runner up. At Monmore on Saturday Bim Bam Boozle (4th) and Directors Ruler (2nd) were a touch unlucky but it was good to see Foulden Vieri follow up last week's win with another victory in 28.43 and Blonde Playboy got new owner Mark Currell off and running with a length win in 28.53.
Destroy The Camp looked a pup to follow in the future when showing serious pace in an A6 scoring in a good 26.01 on Wednesday. Sweep Clean was second but a quick return on Saturday saw her scoot in by over 5 lengths in 26.16. Litter sister Mint Bulb also scored well in an S2 by 4 1/2 lengths in 37.93. Goldies Tara and Treacle Express were both second before Gan On Parker won in 25.91. Risky Smasher was second on his debut and Kilquane Jack got back to winning ways in an S1 leading at the 4th bend to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 37.92. Risky Sensation completed a good night when taking the last race by 2 lengths in 25.85.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACE - ROCKBURST CANYON
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight Aldataro Lass and Goldies Destiny run in the heats of the Gerry Allen Quicksilver Stakes at Romford. The Owlerton Bookmakers Puppy heats at Sheffield on Tuesday see Kinda Close and newcomer Blonde Fletch both drawn in trap 1 in their respective heats and a couple of runners are pencilLed in for the Hove Sky meeting. Possible opens at Harlow, Sittingbourne, Romford and Monmore are on the agenda but most importantly the second round of the William Hill Derby continue on both Friday and Saturday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Not too much more to say about Eye Onthe Storm other than I think everybody who backed him would willingly lose their money if he could still grace the tracks once more. Eye Eye Pickle started his campaign well but has a nightmare draw in the second round. Looking for a bet this week I can't see too much but we may try Aero Bolt over 575m on Friday at Romford and to be fair he has been unlucky in a few races lately but should stay the distance.
AERO BOLT - 2 pts win - Romford - Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
EYE ONTHE STORM - 5 pts win ante-post 10/1 - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon - lost
EYE EYE PICKLE - 1 pt e.w ante-post 100/1- William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon - continues Friday