Monoday 28th April 2014
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Sid Huett our head kennel hand is all signed up for Julie Collier's 'Fall For Hounds' Sky dive pencilled in for June and will be looking for sponsors over the next few months. I'm afraid I'm scared of heights and will not be signing up but will be making a massive effort over the next few months to get him well sponsored,
click here for his link.
The long awaited 2014 William Hill Greyhound Derby is now upon us and all the connections of the 200 plus entries were glued to computers, I pads and mobiles yesterday afternoon waiting with anticipation for the draws to Thursday/Friday and Saturdays first round heats to come through. With a juicy 200k to the winner many will have had their hearts in the mouths especially if their pride and joys came out in one of the several heats where only two qualify.
We have entered eight this year in an attempt to land our third Greyhound Derby following famous victories with Kinda Ready (2009) and Blonde Snapper (2012). Have we got another one like those two? I'm not quite sure but one thing for certain we have a much better chance than last year. On that occasion our best finish was Carkei Max who was eliminated at the quarter- final stage and I'm hoping this year we can go all the way!
My initial reaction on the draws was one of huge disappointment as we have two runners on Thursday who have both drawn six dog heats where only the first two qualify! On Friday we only have one runner who is drawn in the last heat of the night and of course with five left to run on Saturday it goes without saying we managed to get two of our entries in the same heat.
Here's my thoughts on our runners and their chances:-
EL FLUTTER (80/1)
Only came into the kennel less than two months ago and he has made a big impression in his preparation, a good Irish card he is bred to stay further and most probably is where his future lays. If you had said to me a month ago that 'Flutter' would be the shortest priced runner from our kennel I would not have believed you, a nice Maiden winner at Sittingbourne last week seems a far cry from landing the Greyhound Derby but he is just the right sort of dog our kennel can do well with. This striking dark brindle flew round Wimbledon on Friday before racing beating kennelmates Blackstone Marco and Ilewin Frimley in a flying 28.33 which set a few tongues wagging. Drawn in a heat on Friday that he will have a good chance of qualifying from he could be set to go a long way in the event for owner Nick Henry.
AERO NEMESIS (80/1)
Another recent intake that has a solid Irish card, a beautiful laid back character owner Stuart Forsdike rates him as his best chance of landing the Derby since he has ventured into greyhound racing and I can see reasons why he might have cause for optimism. If I had to pick my ideal style of a Wimbledon Derby winner it would be an early paced wide runner who runs a bend like he's on wheels, Blonde Snapper fitted that bill and I think Aero Nemesis will as well. We have not had a smooth preparation as after some stunning qualifying trials he picked up a small injury in a trial stake for the Pinpoint Recruitment Arc. After a couple of weeks off and some intense treatment he returned in a Maiden at Romford 10 days ago and broke the 24 second barrier but was amazingly beaten by the useful Express Max in 23.66. A fair trial at Wimbledon on Friday he should be our big improver during the event. In a wide open Derby 'Torres' rates our best chance of landing the classic since Snapper two years ago.
BLACKSTONE MARCO (100/1)
A magnificent specimen of a greyhound, built like a tank this striking white and black dog is as fast as most in this year's event, his Achilles heel undoubtedly his consistency and if he can tidy up on that then I have no doubt he can go all the way. After dead heating in a a small final at Monmore earlier in the year he never looked comfortable at Swindon where he was eliminated in the semi-final of the Arc. Freshened up for the Derby he should come forward from last week's trial behind El Flutter and he will need to as he has drawn an ultra tough heat on Saturday, he faces not only one of the ante post favourites in Swift Keith but some useful Irish opponents. If we can get past the first stage owners Nick Cheeseman, Paul Carpenter and Kevin Dear could be in for a great ride.
BLONDE RAZOR (200/1)
Dick & Ann Barfoot's stayer was perhaps a surprise entry but I feel he carries enough pace to have a decent run in the Derby. Razor ran Wimbledon well in the St Leger last November but didn't stay the 687m. He has a poor draw in trap 4 in the first round and he will need some luck in running to qualify but if he can it will be interesting to see how he progresses.
REEL TRICKYONE (250/1)
One of the kennel stars of our huge recent success 'Butch' is a class act. Chris Richards' black is better known over further and has a tough first round heat where only two qualify so will need all his immense skills to progress. He had a good run last year going out in the third round and can go at least one better if overcoming the first hurdle.
GARRYGLASS RODGE (300/1)
Dan Daley's tight railer was much talked about in last year's Derby but a serious injury last summer halted his progress. He ame back well this year with a nice win at Hall Green but has been frustrating of late and now looks like he needs red more than ever. Given that he has drawn trap 4 in his first round heat with only two qualifying he will need to trap smartly or he will be in trouble, if he does qualify 300/1 could look huge!
ILEWIN FRIMLEY (300/1)
Maybe not an entry that will be on everybody's lips but 'Frimley' is a game sort. Most of his wins for Dave Cunningham have come over a sharp six bends so stamina is not an issue but he will have to track cleverly to get in the mix. Wouldn't surprise me if he went two or three rounds at least.
BENKAAT NERO (500/1)
Withdrawn from the Pinpoint Recruitment Arc final two weeks ago with an infection 'Toby' has to be in my eyes the best outsider of any at around the 500/1 price. Another to be unluckily eliminated in last year's third round he broke two metatarsals a couple of months later. Returning this year better than ever as well as wins at Hove he has won a small competition at Sittingbourne quite impressively before making the Arc final. A tough first round heat and in with kennelmate Blonde Razor if he could get past the first round he could go a long way for owner Dan Daley.
So there you have my thoughts on our prospects, Aero Nemesis is the dog I feel that has the best chance of our entries but both Blackstone Marco and El Flutter have great prospects of having a decent Derby. The Derby itself with its massive entry is as wide open as I can ever recall. Today the gloves are off and it's time for the talking to stop and the preparation for the greatest five weeks in the calendar year to begin. The last five Derbys have been won by only two trainers and we have been fortunate to have won two of them. Yes Charlie Lister has won the other three but with many great trainers from the UK and across the water in Ireland is it just coincidence that this is the case? We may not have one in the first 30 of the Derby betting but neither was Kinda Ready nor Blonde Snapper when they triumphed and both were available at 66/1 and 80/1 ante post before the first round.
Where are the dangers? You have to look at Charlie's dogs first and I have no doubt his No 1 is Sidarian Blaze, he has a mountain to climb to overcome a tricky first round heat but if he does he could land Charlie is eighth Derby winner. The Irish are here in force and I'm sure they will have at least one runner in the final, Kereight King is not a very original selection but his early pace could be a potent weapon. My favourite greyhound outside our kennel is Holdem Spy and he was desperately unlucky not to make last year's final and the recent Scottish Derby winner will be devilishly hard to knock out. Looking at some outsiders I think the North's best chance could be Pat Rosney's Take The Crown at a big price and we may well have the best complete outsider in Benkaat Nero at 500/1. We will all be a lot wiser over the next few weeks, happy punting!
I can only echo the same thoughts and wishes as all the people in the greyhound world when expressing my deepest condolences to the family of legendary Irish trainer Seamus Graham who sadly passed away last week. I didn't know him personally as well as many but on the occasions I was lucky enough to speak to him a nicer man you could not wish to meet. It would have been great to see him for at least one more Derby but sadly it was not to be. I'm humbled to have been lucky enough to be alongside Seamus's name in winning the English Derby but I will never be as good a trainer as this genius! RIP Seamus
I will be writing a column for the Racing Post during the Derby and hopefully we will be involved in the latter stages when the going gets tough as you can't beat that feeling of being involved in a finalist. We have to thank William Hills for their great sponsorship and in times where the is far too much squabbling and moaning from different factions it's time for the sport to pull together to make this Derby better than ever given the fact that the future of Wimbledon Stadium is high on the agenda.
Look out for some nice pups coming up for sale on our 'For Sale Page' over the next few weeks. We have a lovely young bitch called Mollys Chambers just arrive at the kennel and if looks are anything to go by she will be a sure fire winner, well bred she is priced sensibly.
At Hove on Thursday we only had runners on the supporting card and we didn't havemuch luck until Darian Star absolutely took off in a warm Ladies race winning comfortably in a very good 29.82.
It was a similar story at Romford where both Lightning Zeus (3rd) and Adageo Brae (2nd) both were a shade unlucky. Black Francis ran a solid race in better class when 2nd over 750m but if we thought Darian Star took off the night before then Adageo Bob simply scorched around 575m making some useful opponents look like average graders and winning by an incredible 12 1/2 lengths in 34.72 just five spots off the clock.
On Sunday at Sittingbourne Murlens Crash was out of luck in the Sprint final when only 4th but both our other two runners both won. Benkaat Blue took the 480m Standard by a 3 1/2 lengths in 29.24 and Bridge Bandit won the 500m Super Standard by a length in 30.20, both are now into the veteran stage of their careers.
On Wednesday youngsters Gigawatt and Swift Finn were both 3rd and there were good wins for both Saffrons Champ (28.65) for our Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club while a young pup who looks to be going places Domino Storm took an A2 by over 5 lengths in a very good 27.99.
On Saturday the night started well with plenty of youngsters on display. Energise Dan scored at the second time of asking taking an A5 by 1 1/2 lengths in 28.67, Newinn Chick improving out of season won an A3 easily by nearly 10 lengths in 28.30, puppies Reel Slippy (2nd) Kilmagner Mike (3rd) and Airforce Grace (3rd) all ran well.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Of course all the attention is on the William Hill Derby this week as the first round heats kick off on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Wimbledon and we will be cheering on our eight entries over the three nights.
We will also be at Hove on Thursday and Romford on Friday and possibly Sittingbourne on Sunday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Well having successfully tipped Kinda Ready at 66/1 and Blonde Snapper at 80/1 to win the Derby to our followers what is going to be our bet for this year's industry showpiece? Aero Nemesis has the attributes to win a Derby I like, a good Irish card, relatively lightly raced and an early paced wide runner who cuts into the bend, with plenty of improvement expected and needed he could land our kennel's third Derby and at around 80/1 a great price in a wide open classic. Blackstone Marco is as fast as any but has to overcome a tough first round heat, if he does his price might come tumbling down. El Flutter is interesting and though the really big prices seem to have gone he still warrants an interest while Benkaat Nero is better than a 500/1 rag.
AERO NEMESIS - 2.5 pts e.w ante post 80/1 - William Hill Derby - Wimbledon
BLACKSTONE MARCO - 1 pt e.w ante post 100/1 - William Hill Derby - Wimbledon
EL FLUTTER - 1 pt e.w ante post 80/1 - William Hill Derby - Wimbledon
BENKAAT NERO - 1 pt e.w ante post 500/1 - William Hill Derby - Wimbledon
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AERO BABOOSHKA - 2 pts win - Hove - lost