Tuesday 21st October 2014
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Obviously Sunday night went deep into the early hours as we are late on parade with this week's blog. It was certainly well worth it as Cornamaddy Jumbo did the business at Sittingbourne when winning The Friends Of Sittingbourne Grand National Final thus creating history as the first hurdler to complete the glorious treble of Springbok/Champion Hurdle and Grand National titles. It proved to be a thrilling race as Jumbo came out the boxes like he had a bunch of chilli peppers stuffed in his rear, a blistering 3.12 sectional saw him take a 5 length lead down the back straight but this was quickly reduced to 2 lengths rounding the last two turns as both defending champion Mad Mash Snowy and Lenson Razldazl loomed up large. As they approached the final flight they were almost line abreast but an almighty leap from Jumbo gained him a vital half a length which he held to the winning line for a famous victory. Jumbo undoubtedly has a huge heart to match his talent and we are so proud of him.
All the owners, which included Brian Usher, Jimmy Fenwick, Scott Fraser and myself, were present for a memorable trophy presentation and our thanks have to go to Roger Cearns and his team at Sittingbourne and all the bookmakers for putting up a generous £8,000 to the winner prize but most of all to Rick Holloway for persuading them in the first place. I have to thank them personally for raising the Grand National to its rightful Category 1 status and with that 50 points to our total for the year, with Underground Paul landing the Category 2 Kent Derby with our own Blonde Razor running a solid race in 3rd place, it helped Paul to within 100 points of us in the Trainer Of The Year standings but Cornamaddy Jumbo's success made sure we increased our overall lead. This was also helped by Ilewin Allot's surprise victory in the RPGTV Henlow Derby semi finals also on Sunday. Blue Moment was desperate in this semi and eliminated but Ilewin Allot, who also made the Golden Sprint final at Romford earlier in the year, will try his hardest in what will be a very competitive final next Sunday as you would expect.
On a busy Sunday we also enjoyed mixed fortunes at Doncaster in the first leg of the Bags/SIS Championship. Peterborough dominated most of the proceedings and came away with a near 30 point lead. We had five runners - Kilmagner Mike missed the break slightly in the sprint but showed loads of pace to the bend before finding trouble to finish 4th, Rockburst Louis had no where to go at the first bend in his 483m heat and took a nasty tumble but thankfully came off OK. In other 483m races Saffrons Champ ran a solid race to be a close up 3rd and then a fine double, which somewhat rescued a desperate situation for Yarmouth, as both Saffrons Anna and Benkaat Panther won the top divisions of the Bitches and Standard races. Saffrons Anna railed tightly to gain a lead but had to dig deep at the finish to win by the minimum margin in 29.83 while Benkaat Panther showed terrific all round pace to score well in a fastest of the night 29.63. The second leg is on November 7th at Peterborough and Yarmouth will have to pull out all the stops to give themselves any chance for the final leg at home on December 1st.
Good news as well last night as Do It For Twiggy landed his semi final of the British Breeders Stakes at Nottingham and now lines up in the Category 1 final we won last year with Adageo Bob. Snappers Lad was unlucky in the first semi final just getting touched off for that vital second place, his time of 29.64 would have won both the other semi finals. Toosey Fern also made the final of the Romeo Recruit at Stud Oaks Trophy so Tuesday's Sky meeting should give us plenty of interest. We will be interested to see how new recruit Vanfrankie runs as he makes his debut in a 500m Maiden race.
Towcester is still very much in the Greyhound news and we are counting the days down until the first trial session provisionally booked for around November 11th. There are huge expectations for the Greyhound world of a gala meeting on the 13th but I think the first ever meeting on the 6th December should create massive interest. Talk of other tracks closing because of the opening of Towcester typifies the doom and gloom that our sport has faced over the last decade or so. Surely it's time for other promoters to step up to the mark and take Towcester's lead in bringing our sport into this current century. I warned two years ago that unless something is radically changed many tracks would find both a shortage of Greyhounds and Trainers not to mention the owners who have been treated very poorly for far too long. For some promoters closest to Towcester they may use them as an excuse to succumb to the property developers, sad but very true. On a plus side I hear some other Horse Racing tracks are looking very closely at what happens at Towcester. To me the whole financial issues of our industry can go a long way to being resolved if we can cut a good deal with the rights to selling Greyhound racing pictures and live streaming abroad. One wonders though have we got the right people in charge to get the best deal possible for the industry.
The heats if the British Breeders Stakes last Monday at Nottingham saw a win for Snappers Lad and Do It For Twiggy also qualified in when 3rd in his heat. Just four runners on Friday at Romford with Airforce Karla best when a good runner up to the flying Borna Karma in a warm bitches race.
On a busy Sunday as said above Cornamaddy Jumbo was the highlight when landing the Grand National at Sittingbourne. Blonde Razor was a fine 3rd in the Kent Derby Final while Aayamzamodel ran well when 4th in the WJ and JE Cearns Memorial Invitational over 500m. At Doncaster we had two winners with Saffrons Anna and Benkaat Panther in the Bags/SIS Championship.
At Henlow as well as the RPGTV Derby semi finals where Ilewin Allot was successful we saw a superb run from Aero Babooshka in a 460m Standard race, leading at the turn she destroyed her opposition to score by over 8 lengths clocking an incredible 27.16 just 11 spots outside the track record. A couple of expected victories in the last two races never quite came as Blackstone Marco was a close up 3rd over 550m and Black Francis looked just a run short when picked up on the run in over 692m.
Darian Star showed her class when landing the A2 Owners Bonus Series final in a fine 28.28 the second one she has picked up in the last 18 months. Benkaat Boomer again landed a top grade race in an excellent 27.94, he is almost unbeatable in graded races. Brocatsea Bhoy was second in an A4 and a win looks just around the corner.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Nottingham last night but nothing until Friday where we might have a couple at Romford.
We have to pin our hopes on Black Francis this year as he is our only William Hill St Leger entry, amazingly Sidaz Dippy a beaten favourite in the Kent St Leger could only make the reserve list.
The Henlow RPGTV Derby Final is the feature of Sunday night's racing and Ilewin Allot might yet surprise a few people.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
I think our supporters can count themselves a touch unlucky in both the Henlow DeRby and British Breeders Stakes as Blue Moment and Snappers Lad were very unlucky not to make the finals. However we did tip up outsiders Ilewin Allot for Henlow at 33/1 and Do It For Twiggy at a generous 25/1 in the Nottingham final and we must have a live chance in both of at least securing a top 4 place. For some reason I didn't think Cornamaddy Jumbo was value at Sittingbourne and never put him up as a selection! Fool! Anyway for a bet this week Benkaat Panther steps back up to six bends for a Maiden Stayers and I'm sure if he leads up he can win at his 4th attempt!
BENKAAT PANTHER - 3 pts win - Romford - Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BLUE MOMENT - 2.5 pts e.w ante post 14/1 - RPGTV Henlow Derby - Sunday - lost
ILEWIN ALLOT - 1 pt e.w ante post 33/1 - RPGTV Henlow Derby - Sunday - Final Sunday
SNAPPERS LAD - 2 pts e.w ante post 12/1 - British Breeders Stakes - Nottingham - lost
DO IT FOR TWIGGY - 1 pt e.w ante post 25/1 - British Breeders Stakes - Nottingham - Final Tuesday