Monday 4th February 2013
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It was a case of coming straight back down to earth this week after our kennel's glorious night at the GBGB Awards bash last Sunday in London. A busy week of trials and racing and plenty of media interest after our huge haul of trophies collected on the night has made the week strenuous but enjoyable.
On the track we have experienced some high and lows as the new season really starts to get underway. Impressive wins for Benkaat Blue on Thursday at Hove and Jazz Tilly on Friday at Romford amongst others were followed by the elimination of our three runners in the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket at Crayford including ante-post favourite Blonde Reagan. Frustratingly Blonde Reagan, our double award winning star of 2012, doesn't seem to be at his best if not dominating affairs and despite a series of excellent trials in preparation for the first Category 1 event of the year he never looked match fit or completely at home on the tricky Kent track. It's not the end of the world and we will dust ourselves down and look forward to Reagan for the rest of the year. Our other two runners Ayamzabeauty (didn't stay) and Mallogs Holly (nice young prospect and ran well) will also not be in the hat for the semi's which will now give plenty of other trainers a chance to score good points in the Trainers Championship which we currently lead at this early stage, (standings on www.thegta.co.uk or www.thedogs.co.uk).
Off the track this week most of the news has centred around the the deal brokered to keep greyhound racing on Sky. Bags have combined with SIS to produce around 22 shows that will be on Sky Sports and on in all betting shops around the country giving maximum exposure for our industry. This is tremendous news for our kennel as the top races that showcase our sport are what we are all about, financially. Chasing these big races are a real struggle for our business as it is impossible to pass on the true costs of running around the country in search of success but my ambition outweighs any ideas I would have of supplying 50 or 60 dogs on a safe Bags contract. The Sky deal, which we owe Bags Chairman Tom Kelly enormous thanks for making happen, safeguards the sports top races which would have been in serious jeopardy had a deal not been done. Sceptics may say that this is one more step to total bookmaker control of our industry but in my eyes we have no choice and the sport is better off with Sky than without.
Sadly we will no longer see Sky's Dave Lawrence involved in the new production and without a doubt greyhound racing owes Dave a debt of gratitude for our sport's superb coverage over the last 18 years or so. Since Sky first covered our sport in 1994 we have been treated to some brilliant racing as well as some excellent features. Sky promoted everything that's good in our game and personally both myself and Linda have enjoyed plenty of coverage over the years. I have lost count of the number of races we have won but would suspect of the 3000 races shown live we would be nearly or at the top for most winners. Our kennel has had many features on Sky and my most memorable would be shooting Julie Collier with a paintball right on her rear end who responded with a stinging shot back at me! and how she ever got me up the London Eye for an interview (I detest heights!) is testament to her powers of persuasion. Dave, Julie, Dave Smith and Gary Newbon are not going to be involved in the new production and will be sadly missed from our screens. All have a passion for greyhounds that has shone through and we wish them all the very best in the future and sincerely hope they all stay involved in greyhound racing in some capacity for many years to come.
The new deal on Sky has certainly brought a bit more unity from all parts of our industry and I hope this new found surge of promise carries on as this Wednesday I will be involved in my first 'Racing Committee' meeting at the GBGB offices in Holborn. The GTA has worked hard in the background for me to put forward some proposals that would benefit all trainers. We know Rome wasn't built in a day and I don't expect too much from my first meeting but what's important is that the GTA has proper representation for the 900 professional and non professional trainers who supply the product to the industry. One thing that is clear to me and one that we all shouldn't lose sight of is that greyhound racing is very important to the bookmaking industry, not so much because still over 20% of all bets struck are on the dogs but more that our industry supplies 'live content' very cheaply so shops can open all hours for punters to play the FOBT's (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals). These machines give bookmakers well over £1.6 billion of turnover with a profit margin of around £50 million for the 10,000 shops across Britain and without doubt greyhounds play a big part in these profits!
The new Sky deal sees the Trainers Championship on the schedule at Yarmouth on March 27th. The GTA run event originally pencilled in at Coventry has had to be moved to guarantee Sky coverage which is most important. Ladbrokes have now been generous with their sponsorship and all six trainers will look forward to putting on a tremendous show. Myself and the GTA would like to thank Coventry's Harry Findlay for offering to stage the Championship and the GTA ask all trainers to support Harry at Coventry as much as they possibly can in the future.
We continue to have many highlights on the track and on Friday at Romford I must admit to going overboard in screaming one of our dogs home on RPGTV. I Am Titanium might have only won a 400m Maiden but this was our first open race win for our markwallisgreyhounds 'Racing Club' in only his sixth start of his short career. 'Titan' showed great tenacity overcoming a hefty first bend bump to lead off the second and gallop to a 3 1/2 length victory in a respectable 24.47. I Am Titanium is now eyeing up Monmore for a crack at the Puppy Derby later this month. Our other Club greyhound Ollie Blue is showing great promise and will have his last qualifying trial this Thursday at Yarmouth. We are still seeking members to join this brilliant new 'Racing Club' and as I have said many times I am determined to make our club the most susuccessful syndication the sport has ever seen over the next few years. To be a part of our record achieving kennel through our 'Racing 'Club' it will cost you only £500 to join and £30 per month, this is great value so don't miss out!
Jazz Tilly ran well to get so close in 4th in a hot heat of the Coral On TV Maiden Stayers Trophy at Romford on Monday. At Hove on Thursday Ard To Beat, Sidaz Dippy and Carkei Glen all ran well when placed but star of the night was Benkaat Blue who landed a superb Hove hat trick in a thrilling tussle with Jolly Poacher where Benkaat Blue rallied to pinch the race right on the line in 30.10 (-10).
At Romford on Friday it was pleasing to see all our 8 runners run as well as they can and as said I Am Titanium landed his first open race win for our markwallisgreyhounds 'Racing Club'. Jazz Tilly an unlucky loser on Monday more than made up for the defeat with a scintillating victory over 575m scoring by nearly 8 lengths in a stunning 35.21. Springdale Hawk is running out of his skin at present and again took his chance well when taking a decent class 575m in a flying 35.28.
No luck in the Golden Jacket heats at Crayford on Saturday and on Sunday Bridge Ruth having her first run of 2013 was a shade unlucky in a £500 one off at Sittingbourne taking a hefty bump at the first bend and eventually finishing 4th. Better luck for Bridge Bandit who took the 480m race in a good 29.2
At Wednesday's Bags meeting Hillcross Miami showed some excellent pace and only a touch of greenness stopped him winning when 2nd in an A5. Toosey Faye still only a July 11 whelp looks a stayer in the making as she ran on strong to finish 2nd but the best performance of the night came from Hillcross Dallas who showed good all round pace to lead at the THIrd bend and score by over 4 ENgths in 28.77.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Our open race week starts on Thursday at Hove and we will be at our usual Friday night action at Romford.
Although out of the Golden Jacket we still intend to enter Darian Chief and Bridge Bandit at Crayford Saturday morning in the Peter Bussey Memorial heats won last year by Aero Joker.
We may see a trip to Monmore on Saturday with new pups Garryglass Rodge, Extreme Lad and Fairest Royal making their debuts for our kennel.
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Blonde Reagan and Mallogs Holly's early elimination from the Golden Jacket was a real blow to the kennel and our supporters. We have plenty of runners this week but not sure we should be over strong on anything at the moment. Bridge Bandit looks in good form and could be value to win the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy at Crayford that starts Saturday.
BRIDGE BANDIT - 1 pt e.w ante-post - Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy - Crayford - Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BLONDE REAGAN - 5 pts win ante-post 6/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - lost
MALLOGS HOLLY - 1 pt e.w ante-post 40/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - lost