Tuesday 27th March 2012
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A bit late on parade this week after a weekend off so only a brief look at last week's action and news.
The feature event last Wednesday was the Betfair Trainers Championship meeting at Perry Barr and what a great occasion it was on the track with some terrific racing. We ourselves had some great performances but after getting some very poor draws we were always up against it. Congratulations to Nick Savva on a brilliant victory, especially after his greyhounds finished last in the first two races.
In the first leg we were given a real boost when Rookery Pedro ran a blinder to be second to Dean Child's Droopys Loner. Lil Risky couldn't get away with a poor draw in trap 4 in a hot sprint won by current champion sprinter Drumcove Lad for Chris Allsopp and when he just lost out in a photo for second place with the returning Jimmy Lollie we had a sense that it wasn't going to be our night. Benkaat Blue was all over the place when last in the puppy race and with hot favourite Farloe Tango for Charlie Lister only second behind another Chriss Allsopp winner Smart Bid the ante-post market looked completely different than at the start. Ballintine Molly was in my opinion our best chance of landing a telling blow but despite running well in the first leg of the stayers she couldn't get to an inspired Westmead Bolt and had to settle for second spot. That seemed like another four points gone at the halfway stage. Dixies Air was coming with a real strong run down the back straight but was stopped in his tracks at the 3rd bend and was eventually 3rd to Bucks Blade in div c of the standard. The whole event at this stage was wide open with little to choose between five trainers with Nick Savva creeping up on the rails and when Droopys Lorenzo for Dean Childs beat Jazz Apollo, who ran a cracking race losing by only 1/2 length again, we had a glimmer of hope although a win for Jazz Apollo would have seen us right up near the top of the points table. For a brief few seconds our hopes were raised when Mountjoy Orion flew the boxes to lead in the top division of the stayers race but the field converged on her down the back straight for the last time and she was quickly swallowed up into the pack before finishing last behind another Nick Savva winner Bubbly Swallow. As we approached the last race it needed a mathematical miracle for us to win and the title was realistically only between Chris Allsopp and Nick Savva. The race itself was won well by Charlie Lister's Derby Champion Taylors Sky setting a new track record of 28.07 with our Blonde Snapper' who needed to lead' only back in 5th. This was only coincidental in respect of the Championship as Nick Savva's Westmead Maldini ran on strongly for that all important 2nd place winning him a long awaited title. All in all a cracking night's racing but really we could only think what might have been if a few things had gone our way on the night. Perry Barr deserve the highest praise for producing a brilliant track and were rewarded with an excellent crowd. The food in the restaurant was superb and I only hope they can do more open race action or competitions in the future.
Trainers Championship sponsors Betfair were obviously still smarting from the potential boycott that was threatened a couple of weeks ago by 5 of the 6 trainers present. On the night they announced that they would end their seven year association with the Championship and Betfair's Tony Calvin looked as if he had taken the trainers' threat personally. Let me say, although our actions backed up by a huge amount of other trainers did not want to target Betfair directley it was the only way we could get through to the GBGB and send a clear message that we are no longer prepared to be ignored. The threatened boycott was born out of a frustration at the lack of sensibility and transparency that the GBGB have shown in recent years and the continued use of open racing to generate turnover for the bookmakers.The percentage that open racing drives all goes back into graded racing which is unfair.
Over the last seven years Betfair has seen this Championship as a flag bearer to their greyhound operation and it will be sad to lose them but we must remember that the trainers have played their part as well. Years ago many trainers saw the Championship as 'getting in the way of other things' but since Betfair have taken over the trainers have not only embraced the event, they have made their best dogs available including Derby winners and Category 1 class dogs which have created huge turnover for Betfair. In fact if anything Betfair, being one of the main contributors to the fund, should be supporting the trainers in their quest for fair play. Still Betfair's loss could be an opening for another sponsor. Our industry should grasp the fact that here we have the best trainers, the best greyhounds and some of the leading owners in one place at one time guaranteed. If we can't sell this event to a big sponsor other than one of the bookmaking firms then we should be ashamed of ourselves. I'm sure we can and no doubt Betfair will reap the rewards of the hard work they have done over the last seven years.
The week got off to a bad start when both the well fancied Aero Majestic and Aero Joker were eliminated from the heats of the Ladbrokes Spring Stayers at Monmore. A good showing by our team in the Betfair Trainers Championship at Perry Barr on Wednesday but frustratingly no winners.
It was getting tough and despite some good runs from our dogs at Hove on Thursday we again came away empty handed. Swift Reagan (2nd) looks a nice staying prospect.
At Romford on Friday it was good to get back amongst the winners. Mountjoy Eagle won first time up over track and trip to land a Maiden Stayers in 36.02 while Castlebride Dan was awesome when winning over 400m in a rapid 24.21 (-10). Mountjoy Osprey got it all wrong when soundly beaten in a hot 400m Standard but Munster Champ made for a good night when landing a 575m in 36.04 (-30).
We may have been slightly out of luck on the open race trail but an excellent night on Saturday at Yarmouth with five winners from eight runners. Adageo Brae went very well when slamming A2 rivals in a quick 28.09. Swift Freeze has been a revelation in recent weeks and took an A1 in 28.18. Brocatsea Celt got off the mark when winning an A4 in 28.63 while a rejuvenated Lil Magic made it two on the trot winning an A2 in 28.43. Most pleasing of all was youngster Planning who made it two from two when the Sep 10 whelp won an A3 in a good 28.48 and like Adageo Brae and Swift Freeze is a name to watch out for in the coming months.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A quietish week with open racing at Hove on Thursday and Romford on Friday which features the Coral On TV Standard final where prolific Lil Risky runs from trap 2.
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Both Ballintine Molly and Dixies Air ran well in the Trainers Championship but had to settle for minor honours. Looking for something to get stuck into this week then let's play one Thursday and one Friday. Swift Reagan was very impressive when 2nd at Hove last week in a puppy race and should go better for the sighter this Thursday while at Romford this Friday Castlebride Dan can prove that last week's fast win was no fluke.
SWIFT REAGAN - 2 pts win - Hove - Thursday
CASTLEBRIDE DAN - 2 pts win - Romford - Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BALLINTINE MOLLY - 3 pts win - Perry Barr - Wednesday - lost
DIXIES AIR - 1 pt win - Perry Barr - Wednesday - lost