Monday 5th December 2011
JOIN GOBATA NOW
An incredibly busy time for the kennel at the moment and after Saturday night's qualification for the forthcoming Betdaq Premier League achieved it's now all guns blazing in pursuit of the Trainers Championship that now concludes on December 31st.
After 'Team North East' and 'The Mad Hatters' had qualified for the Betdaq Premier League at Doncaster a couple of weeks ago it was off to Yarmouth last Saturday for the Pool B and Pool C qualifing legs. Our 'Imperial Rock It's' team were pitched in Pool B and made 5/2 second favourites behind Seamus Cahill's 'Irish Rovers' team. Our teammate Paul Sallis had no dogs available for this qualifier and we supplied the five runners and needed to be first or second to qualify for the Premier League proper that starts on January 14th.
The first leg, an ultra hot puppy race, saw Benkaat Blue finish a good second to the impressive Droopys Stevie trained by Dean Childs for 'The Only Way Is SOS' team who scorched round in 27.67. Rockburst Fanta, having her first ever sprint race, did us proud when a game second to former kennel star Mountjoy Comet beaten 1 length in 16.50 which was the Joker (scores double points) for 'The Only Way Is SOS' giving them a brilliant 18 points in the first two legs (scoring 6 points for 1st, 5 for 2nd etc 4,3,2,1). When Rookery Pedro ran well but was only third to the 'Irish Rovers' Joker Guiness Magic (27.75) we found ourselves in 4th place with two legs to go.
The 4th leg put us right back in the mix when Mountjoy Orion took the Stayers race over 659m. Blasting from the traps she saw her lead dramatically reduced as they approached the last bend but she gamely held off the 'Irish Rovers' Skywalkershearer by a head in 40.91 with Eric Cantillons 'Blackrose Jets' strong staying Blackrose Monach a further 1/2 length behind. Despite Mountjoy Orion's maximum points we were still in third with the final race to go, 3 points behind the 'Irish Rovers' and 'The Only Way Is SOS' teams but most crucially our Joker had not been played. That fell on the shoulders of our Derby semi-finalist Bellers Bud who was returning from an injury hit season. After breaking reasonably well he found himself in a tough spot going into the first bend with four of the other rivals flying to the corner. Coming out of the second bend Bellers Bud was only fourth and our qualification looked in serious trouble but a superb burst of middle pace to challenge for second place off the last bend, with Jim Daly's Droopys Trump home and hosed in front giving 'The Greyhoundscene Dream Team' a welcome winner on the night, it was all about whether Bellers Bud could nick that vital second spot from the 'Irish Rovers' strong Rayvin Again but Bellers Bud who started his career at Yarmouth was magnificent and I roared him home as he crossed the line a length in front of his rival. Second place gave him 5 points and with the Joker doubling his score to 10 points it gave us a total of 30 points winning us the qualifier by 2 points from Seamus Cahills 'Irish Rovers'. We both now qualify for the Premier League proper which consists of four meetings (2 at Yarmouth and 2 at Doncaster) to decide who will be crowned Premier League Champions. Our team was very consistent on the night and we all learned that the Joker is crucial to your chances. Paul Sallis is very much looking forward to joining forces with us for the Premier League when we do start.
Pool C was very exciting and going into the last leg no less than five teams had a chance of qualifying and four had a chance of winning the pool. A dramatic race gave the 'F@D Rocknrollers' team a second win when Keith Allsop's On The Spot held off the 'Dunham Devils' joker King Jaffa trained by Liz Mcnair but the drama was most definitely what was going on behind. The 'Golden Oldies' team made up of John Coleman, Nick Savva and Charlie Lister (disappointingly not represented) had got off to a flying start when both Nick Savva's runners (Westmead Adonis and Crossfield Jet) had landed the first two legs giving them a lead of 1 point going into the last leg from Matt Dartnall's 'Team Desperate' who had earlier landed his Joker with Farloe Ironman. As the race unfolded the 'Golden Oldies' were in trouble with their Ballybrook struggling at the back where he stayed and 'Team Desperate's' Ballymac Cryan scrambling in 5th but a last ditched effort saw Matt Dartnall's charge pinch third place scoring 4 vital points to land him Pool C with 27 points. The 'Dunham Devils' came from 4th to 2nd in the last leg to pinch the second qualifying place with 25 points and now also move into the Premier League proper with both the 'Golden Oldies' and 'F@D Rocknrollers' missing out by a point when they amassed 24 points and they will now go into the 'Championship' along with all the other 3rd and 4th placed teams from the other Pools.
Obviously with a new concept like the Premier League the format is going to take time for people to get used to and hopefully I've explained it well in my write up. Right, I will say my piece, yes we still have some criticism of the Premier League and GOBATA but I can tell you now all the trainers and kennelhands involved fully embraced the idea and really enjoyed the competitive nature of the event and it gave some of those 'smaller trainers' a chance to compete with the so called bigger trainers in a 'Trainer Championship' style format bringing a large unity amongst them rather than just six trainers. The atmosphere at both Doncaster and Yarmouth was fabulous, the team idea is fantastic and worked brilliantly on the event but sadly the coverage we got from the press and GBGB did next to nothing to enhance the team element. I'm sure this side of things will improve dramatically as the Premier League gets established and that's a must if the concept is to work. Even the Premier Sports show struggled to get to grips with who's on what side and GOBATA will endeavour to adjust this when the Premier League kicks off. On the positive side GOBATA have brought new sponsorship money into the sport through Betdaq amongst others and again I say the fact that we have over 50 of the leading trainers in our sport involved tells you something. Yes it was disappointing not to have Chris Allsopp and Charlie Lister supplying runners for the qualifiers but I'm sure even they would probably feel that the whole idea is worth a go and hopefully we can get them aboard in the future. Anyway the sport isn't just about them, or me for that matter, some great young trainers like Matt Dartnall, Kelly Macari and Dean Childs who loved the Premier League are more the future of our sport.
The coverage of the Premier League by Premier Sports was good for a first effort and all involved will know how to improve things for the future, remember the budget was 1/10th less than Sky have for their superb coverage and it was never going to match that but overall the presentation and analysis team of Jonathan Hobbs, Darrell Williams, Errol Blyth, Jim Reynolds, Darren Keefe and Carly Philpott did a fine job. GOBATA's Martin White and Chris Page's efforts in getting the Premier League off the ground deserve the highest praise. The qualifying races all went off without incident and all dogs from the 10 races came off safe and sound, something Yarmouth can be proud of. They have spent fortunes on making their stadium one of the finest in the land and in particular their new grandstand holds a superb restaurant and once again the food on the night was first class. The majority of the leading bookmaking firms all priced up the individual races and judging by the competitive make up some prices offered in the morning were great value. They surely would have taken plenty of bets and we all hope they can see that the Premier League is good for the sport and gives them more turnover and it would be nice to see them dip their hands in their pockets to help make the concept sustainable. Betdaq are first class sponsors who along with GOBATA are happy to put their name to the Premier League.
Right, it's now all guns blazing in our efforts to land this year's Trainers Championship. What a battle it is, at the moment Chris Allsopp holds the lead and at the start of today we were 13 points behind him. Charlie Lister who missed out a bit in the Betfred Eclipse last Wednesday when Boher Paddy was only third is still in the thick of things and only 30 points behind us. This week looks to be a rollercoaster ride for all of us and starting today are the heats of the Lawrence Jones Memorial Festival at Monmore. Prize money is excellent with four competitions all worth £5,000 to the winners with the finals being on Friday. In all Chris Allsopp has 12 runners and any winners in these events are worth 5 points as they are all Category 2 events. We have Blonde Fletch and Aldataro Lass in the same heat of the 630m event and Kinda Close in the 416m contest. To say it would be good to get a result is an understatement! Charlie Lister also has some excellent chances on the card. Tonight sees the start of the National Sprint at Nottingham another Category 2 event and Lil Risky and Rockburst Fanta fly the flag for us but Chris is also well represented. On Thursday the William Hill Oaks Final at Wimbledon will see Charlie Lister with his best chance of catching the both of us when Silverview Perky and Boher Princess have great chances of scoring maximum points for him (up to 70) in the Category 1 event. We will have runners on the supporting card like Ayamzagirl and will be hoping for a winner or two to keep us ticking over. The finals at Monmore on Friday afternoon will be crucial to all of our chances in the Championship and at night we will have a reasonable claim of gathering points when Aero Majestic and Jazz Apollo compete in the semi-finals of the very last Category 1 competition the Coral Essex Vase. Neither Charlie or Chris are represented and though it's not ideal that we have both our runners in the same semi we will be looking to get both of them in the final a week Wednesday. Other opens at Henlow, Romford and Sittingbourne during the week see us trying to grab some vital points even if you only get one point for normal opens. It promises to be intruiging and I've already looked at the calendar to see what racing is available come 31st December as we might need to get every dog available out somewhere!.
On Monday both Lil Magic and Kinda Close failed to qualify for the Coral on TV bitches final when 3rd and 4th respectively at Romford. On Wedneday the Betfred Eclipse final went the way of Kelly Macari's brilliant Mill Bling BlIng while in suppporting races the well backed Lil Risky ran well but could only finish 3rd in the sprint but Ayamzagirl ran the race of her life to turn the tables on Capoley Ash beating him by 2 3/4 lengths in the Marathon over 930m.
The Coral Essex Vase took centre stage at Romford on Friday with six heats. Jazz Apollo was badly crowded at the first bend in his heat but came through to score in a moderate 36.38(-30) and our other fancied runner Aero Majestic found even more bother in his heat but somehow managed to scramble through when 3rd. Our other two entries Munster Champ and All That Noise were eliminated but in the puppy race over 400m Mountjoy Osprey again proved how much he has come on with another trap to line success in a fast 23.99 (-20).
As said above the Premier League took centre stage on Saturday and on Sunday at Sittingbourne Kinda True was our only winner when landing a heat of the puppy 480m contest. In the night's final for bitches Catunda Mae was 3rd and Aero Joker last.
On Monday Kinda Razzle was our only winner from two runners when she just got up on the line in an A2 in 28.43.
On Saturday, after the Premier League races, of our three runners Questhousesavana ran superbly to win at the second time of asking scoring in a good 28.44 in an A4.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
As said above, trips to Monmore today and hopefully Friday for the Lawrence Jones Memorial races.
We will be at Wimbledon and Henlow on Thursday and the all important Essex Vase semi-finals take place on Friday at Romford and we will be back to Sittingbourne on Sunday where Kinda True runs in the Puppy 480m final.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Mountjoy Orion won in her Premier League race at Yarmouth to give our followers some much needed dosh and at 9/4 we are well pleased. I didn't select anything ante-post in the Essex Vase last week but at the semi-final stage I think Aero Majestic is way too big at 14/1 with Corals. He ran a stormer to qualify in his heat and I have a sneaking feeling he could creep through on Friday. The National Sprint kicks off tonight and Lil Risky at around 8/1 looks a decent bet.
AERO MAJESTIC - 2 pts e.w ante-post 14/1 Corals - Esseex Vase - Romford - Friday
LIL RISKY - 2 pts e.w ante-post 8/1 - Nottingham - starts tonight
ADVISED LAST WEEK
MOUNTJOY ORION - 2 pts win - Premier League 659m - Yarmouth - Saturday - WON 9/4