Monday 9th September 2013
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An important week of open racing meant it has been all systems go for our kennel. Two performances stand out with Bridge Ruth's annihilation of her field in the Brighton Belle final on Thursday being the highlight.
On Wednesday at Yarmouth a terrific crowd saw some top class action with the Paddy Power TV Trophy the main feature. Blonde Reagan the defending champion was sent off a 16/1 chance after an indifferent and problematic 2013. This was a class final as well and all eyes were on Musical Gaga who broke the track record in the heats. Blonde Reagan looking right back to his best flew out the traps and took a clear lead going round the first two bends but Musical Gaga was right on his tail by the third bend. Many would have expected Reagan to fold at this point but he bravely held on to the lead until the back straight for the last time where he was challenged by both Musical Gaga and Farloe Tango. He had to give second best to Musical Gaga who kicked on to land the title but Blonde Reagan, to his credit, stuck to his task well to finish 2nd keeping the winning margin down to a respectable level.
If we were really pleased with Blonde Reagan's second place on the Wednesday then we were over the moon with Bridge Ruth on Thursday in the Category 2 Brighton Belle Final. Sent off odds on but with many expecting her to be vulnerable she answered her doubters in a big way with a smash break. Leading by two lengths at the first bend she powered down the back straight to increase her lead to eight lengths and coming home alone but tiring slightly she took the £2,500 final by 7 1/2 lengths in a stunning 29.54 on a track rated 10 slow. Peter Bridges' blue bitch was recording her 10th victory from 13 starts at Hove and the track was tailor made for her style of running but her victory was still scintillating nonetheless. It was the fastest time ever recorded in the Brighton Belle Final since its inception back in the seventies.
With our kennel some 40 points behind at the start of the week in the Trainer of the Year title both Bridge Ruth and Blonde Reagan scored good points to stop us falling further behind our rivals and we would have been hoping to do well in the Romford Puppy Cup that started on Friday. Disappointingly our main hope Benkaat Boomer had to be withdrawn off colour on the day of the race while Adageo Lad (ex Swift Sean) representing last year's winning connections looked in a great position at the first bend before trap 1 moved off badly hampering him and giving him an impossible task to qualify. Paul Young could now dominate this event with multiple entries and qualifiers and he also is right at the top of the title chase with ourselves and Chris Allsopp. Not very far behind the trio of trainers is Charlie Lister and he will be an odds on favourite to land the East Anglian Derby despite the defeat of Derby Champion Sidaz Jack when the heats kicked off on Saturday at Yarmouth. We qualified both Bridge Honcho and Sidaz Harris but wins in Category 1 wins are worth 5 points and Chris, Charlie and Paul all had successes on the night. The Trainer of the Year table, painstakingly put together accurately by Chris Page from the GTA, should make interesting reading later today and I know we have it all to do, especially looking at all the injured dogs we have at the minute, but hopefully we can hang in there and hope for a decent run of luck at the end of the year. One thing for sure, trying to retain it makes every competition that bit more interesting. I've said it before and I will say it again why this Trainer of the Year title doesn't offer decent money not just for the winner but well passed the top six trainers is beyond me.
Talking of financial matters this Wednesday I will be representing the GTA in a GBGB Racing Committee meeting where we will be discussing amongst other matters the various prize money budget submissions for 2014. The GTA submission is available to see on the GTA website (thegta.co.uk) and interestingly the GTA is asking for increased prize money grants rather than the expected cut back due to a reduction in the budget available as predicted by the GBGB. Of course there is a reduction predicted because the voluntary contributions from the bookmakers is expected to be less as betting shop turnover has declined this year and, yes you could only make this up in our industry, the massive upturn in greyhound turnover at evening time mainly due to RPGTV is not taken into account as the majority of bets struck then go offshore where bookmakers do not take them into consideration!!!
In an industry that supposedly turns over between 1.5 and 2 billion a year at a minimum of a 20% mark up which means profits of around 400 million it's 40 million that gets put back into greyhound racing (around 32 million paid to promoters for BAGS/BEGS meetings with just under 8 million paid to the BGRF of which 2.1 million is supposed to be for prize money). Enough with the current plight of owners and trainers? I don't think so!
The GTA budget submission will be popular with its members as we are calling for the extra prize money to come from a suspension of grants to Stadia and promoters (£375,000) and also the unused money from the Trainers Assistance Fund (£200,000 which isn't being used as most trainers can't afford to match the 50% needed for applying for a grant) and a saving on track maintenance with a call for more vigorous tendering for track safety work.
We are also looking at initiatives to help trainers from the 2.8 million we would like to be available (2.3 million in 2013).
1 - Vets' kennel inspection to be paid by fund (up to £50) and why not when the promoters get their vets' attendance for their meetings paid for by the fund (£45,000)
2 - Continued support of the Owners Bonus Series (£436,000)
3 - New idea of taking £1 from the £5 per greyhound grant for graded runners to introduce some £2,000 to the winner graded competitions restricted to new dogs grading on the card as an experiment to attract new owners, £4 per runner added for every graded race = £2,110,000
4 - £210,000 to continue to help fund supporting Sky races (7 x £1,000 x 22 meetings £154,000) and other open race projects
5 - £70,000 to support British Breeding in a series of 12 x £5,000 events and an initiative to pay breeders £100 every time a litter records 50 races.
Our GTA Chairman Rick Holloway is demanding that urgent crisis talks now take place between the GTA and the GBGB along with the bookmakers as major welfare issues need addressing and this can only really be done with an injection of funds. More representation on the various GBGB committees is paramount to trainers and breeders while Racing Post's Jonathan Kay is right in saying that a new National Owners Association is desperately needed to replace the outdated FBGOA.
On Wednesday at Yarmouth Blonde Reagan put up a brave performance trying to defend his TV Trophy crown when runner up to Musical Gaga and although we had no other winners on the card Murlens Crash (2nd), Toosey Milly (3rd) and Sidaz Harris (3rd) all ran well.
Bridge Ruth was quite awesome when taking the Brighton Belle on Thursday and Blonde Razor scored an overdue success when just getting up to score by the minimum margin in 30.21
(-20) in a puppy race over 515m.
On Friday at Romford the Puppy Cup didn't start well with the withdrawal of fancied Benkaat Boomer and Adageo Lad was badly bumped out of the event at the first bend. Sidaz Dippy was 3rd over 575m.
The East Anglian Derby kicked off with six heats on Saturday and Bridge Honcho was just denied when beaten a short head by Lemon Pluto in 27.60 and Sidaz Harris ran well when 3rd to defending champion Bubbly Pheonix.
On Sunday Blonde Bobby scored well when dropped back to 485m leading on the run in to win by a length in 29.28 (+10).
YARMOUTH AND COVENTRY REVIEW
Just three runners on Saturday with Ilewin Allot making an impressive debut scoring by 3 lengths in an A3 in a fast 27.99 (+40) while Swift Rachel just failed to get up on the line in an A2 going down a head in 28.06 (+40).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A quiet week to start with with the East Anglian Derby the feature event for or kennel Sidaz Harris and Bridge Honcho run in the second round this Wednesday with the semi-finals on Saturday. Other plans are to be pencilled in today.
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Bridge Ruth gave our followers a great return when going unbeaten through the Brighton Belle and her ante post odds of 6/1 looked tasty when she was bowling along 7 or 8 lengths in the lead down the back straight!
Not so good in the Puppy Cup with the withdrawal of Benkaat Boomer and the elimination of Adageo Lad.
The East Anglian Derby is in full flow with the second round on Wednesday and I have a feeling it's more open than the bookies are suggesting. Certainly our two runners Bridge Honcho and Sidaz Harris are capable of getting to at least the final and at 25/1 and 40/1 are worth an interest.
BRIDGE HONCHO - 1.5 pts e.w ante post 25/1 - East Anglian Derby - Yarmouth - second round Wednesday
SIDAZ HARRIS - 1 pt e.w ante post 40/1 - East Anglian Derby - Yarmouth - second round Wednesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRIDGE RUTH - 4 pts win ante post 6/1 - Brighton Belle - Hove - WON 24 pts profit
BENKAAT BOOMER - 2 pts e.w ante post - Coral Puppy Cup - Romford - withdrawn
ADAGEO LAD - 1 pt e.w ante post - Coral Puppy Cup - Romford - lost