Monday 6th October 2014
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Cornamaddy Jumbo kicked off his Grand National campaign in great style with an all the way victory in heat 1 at Sittingbourne last night. The plan to go to the Kent track without a look was more the fact I wanted Jumbo to have the minimal amount of runs possible over this stiff 480m trip and knowing how well he handles all tracks the gamble might well pay off. He quickly built up a good lead and though naturally coming back to the field a bit on the run in he still had 2 1/2 lengths to spare and recorded a decent 29.58 just a length behind Con Te Partiro's best of the round 29.50. No doubt Rick Holloway's new flying hurdler is the one Jumbo has to beat if he's to create history and win all the major hurdle races in the calendar year. I think also, if he could just make the final, with the other titles in the Bag he will be a shoe in for the Hurdler Of The Year title. Next week's semi finals will be interesting to say the least.
The Kent Derby also got underway and despite the reduced prize money and Category status it attracted a strong entry. There were plenty of shocks in the heats including defending champion Exocet who was eliminated. I see no reason why both Benkaat Nero (3rd) and the in form Blonde Razor, who landed a four timer when winning his heat from off the pace in 29.00, can't make the decider. Our other entry Vanfrenchie was very unlucky in his heat when failing to qualify and I will now look to move him up in distance over a stiffer six bends.
At Sheffield on Tuesday after Blonde Razor's very good win on the supporting card for the Steel City Cup final I might have sounded a bit over confident on our prospects for winning a 3rd consecutive Trainer Of The Year title in my post race interview with Julie Collier but I was really just trying to be a bit different from the normal trainers' comments. In truth, with Paul Young's kennel in the best form ever, our lead at the top is being whittled down and we certainly will be looking over our shoulder over the next three months. We still have plenty of ammunition ourselves but of course we shouldn't take anything for granted. We have a strong hand in next week's RPGTV Henlow Derby and another couple of winners last night in Trial Stakes in the shape of Aero Babooshka and Ilewin Allot was a real positive and despite Blue Moment's defeat in the top division he looks a real player for outright honours.
Our team will also be boosted by the recent arrivals of some top Irish stars. Both Vanrooney and Aero Harrison have now settled in the kennel but look unlikely to make the St Leger line up in less than three weeks' time. Vanrooney owned by Keith Doherty and Peter O Toole is a superb looking monster of a dog (39 kilo's) and was one of the favourites for the English Derby this year after winning in the opening round at Wimbledon in 28.29. The 2013 Harrolds Cross Puppy Derby winner and Racing Post Juvenile runner up has been off since July so will need bringing back gently and the Eclipse is a more likely target. Aero Harrison for Stuart Forsdike, Matt Harrison and Colin Denwood also boasts some useful Irish staying form but a bad cough has left us little time to prepare him for the St Leger. Another very exciting prospect in our kennel is Vanfrankie for Keith, Peter and the Ayamzaboys syndicate. This year's Lee Strand winner at Tralee looks an exciting dog for next year's Greyhound Derby while the same connections are massively excited by staying prospect Vanayamzastar who could well take over from grand servant Aayamzabella next year over the marathon trips. Swift Balotelli is another useful Irish addition to the kennel and owners John Bozza, John Eggleton and Stefan Watson could have some great fun with this early paced youngster.
Last year Adageo Bob came of age when landing the British Breeders Stakes at Nottingham and never looked back afterwards. This year I feel we could go close again as I like the look of our three intended entries. Do It For Twiggy has excelled at Yarmouth and you can put a line through his first round East Anglian Derby exit as he came down with the cough the very next day, his trials back have been excellent and one more trial over track and trip at Nottingham tonight should put him right for next week's first roun. Snappers Lad must be one of the most unluckiest dogs not to have won a few more races than he has but at Nottingham he could change that luck, he should go very well as should his sister Toosey Fern who's comeback race from season at Romford last Friday was eye catching to say the least.
At Sheffield on Tuesday Saffrons Anna ran a solid race when 3rd in a warm 500m puppy race, Domino Storm couldn't get competitive in a bitches race and is now in season. Blonde Razor made sure we didn't come home emptied empty handed when he ran a blinder dropping back to 500m beating a good field in a fine 28.78 from off the pace.
At Hove on Thursday no luck with 4 of our 5 runners but Evanta El Creco showed what a superb talent he is by storming away to win a 515m Maiden in 30.55 (-30).
It was a similar situation at Romford on Friday. Crown Jewel, Benkaat Panther and Toosey Fern were all 2nd in their respective races while Blackstone Marco made it four wins on the spin when landing a top 575m contest by 1 1/2 lengths in 35.48 (+20) with kennelmate Aayamzamodel in 3rd.
The semi final of the Kent St Leger saw both our runners pitched in together and Benkaat Dolly got stopped in her tracks when making her run at the 3rd bend and that put paid to her chance of qualifying. Meanwhile odds on favourite Sidaz Dippy again found trouble and the bird had flown before she got into gear. She eventually got beat 6 lengths by Millwards Amy but gets another bite of the cherry in this Saturday's final.
A busy night on Sunday as said above at both Henlow and Sittingbourne. Cornamaddy Jumbo won his heat of the Grand National and both Benkaat Nero and Blonde Razor, who completed a 4 timer, qualified in the heats of the Kent Derby.
At Henlow all our runners in the RPGTV Derby Trial Stakes ran well. Benkaat Boomer was 2nd on his first look, Evanta Jack was a close up 4th in a good race and Blue Moment missed his break but still showed pace in a hot race when 3rd. Aero Babooshka took off in her race winning well in a fastest of the night 27.48 and Ilewin Allot produced a fine effort when winning his trial stake from an awkward trap 4 draw in 27.65. Reel Trickyone was only 4th in a good 550m race and only beaten a length but that customary early sparkle seems to have deserted him.
Just runners on Saturday and a good effort from Darian Star (3rd), Billies Blitz (3rd), Rockburst Louis (2nd) and Lets Havit Right (2nd) and like our open race runners all week Saffrons Anna saw we didn't go home empty handed when beating a game Adageo Lad by a neck in 28.55 (-30).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Trials for the British Breeders Stakes at Nottingham tonight but not much racing until Friday at Romford.
The Kent St Leger final at Crayford is the feature for the weekend as Sidaz Dippy looks to win the Category 2 Final.
A busy day Sunday as the semi finals of the Grand National and Kent Derby at Sittingbourne sees a great opportunity for Cornamaddy Jumbo, Blonde Razor and Benkaat Nero while at Henlow the £10,000 to the winner RPGTV Derby kicks off and we will have plenty of entries.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Sidaz Dippy looks to give us a decent profit should she oblige on Saturday in the Kent St Leger at Crayford, recommended at 10/1 she could be as short as 6/4 to win a well deserved final.
The RPGTV Henlow Derby starts on Sunday and we have some decent entrie. Ilewin Allot could be decent e.w value but Blue Moment has the pace to land the spoils outright.
BLUE MOMENT - 2.5 pts e.w ante post - RPGTV Derby - Henlow - starts Sunday
ILEWIN ALLOT - 1pt e.w ante post - RPGTV Derby - Henlow - starts Sunday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
SIDAZ DIPPY - 2 pts e.w ante post 10/1 - Kent St Leger - Crayford - final Saturday
BENKAAT DOLLY - 1 pt e.w ante post 25/1 - Kent St Leger - Crayford - lost