Tuesday 28th May 2013
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Derby fever grips the greyhound world this week as 26 first round heats of the William Hill Classic begin this Friday and Saturday. This time last year we prepared ourselves for what was to be an epic journey that was to ultimately lead to a second famous victory around Plough Lane when Blonde Snapper landed the title for a jubilant owner Mark Currell. The Derby is a true test of a greyhound's speed, stamina and in both our Derby wins track craft which over six rounds is needed in abundance. It is also the toughest test for a trainer's ability and it's no coincidence that over the years the same names appear on the trophy on more than one occasion, something myself and our team are very proud of achieving at Imperial Kennels.
It seems after every Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon over the last three or four years the predictions are that it will be the last one at the South London track but we here again and yes the facilities are not befitting for our sport's Blue Riband event but crucially the track itself still is. In my opinion only Coventry and Hove match Wimbledon for a true test of a four bend greyhound and Hove would have its limitations as a Derby venue as the 515m would favour stamina laden types over six gruelling rounds. Coventry is a fair a test of a greyhound as you will ever see and Harry Findlay and his team will be ready to step in should the GRA sell up, which of course is most likely given the fact they couldn't care less about our sport. As for now we will concentrate on what looks on paper an absolute corker of a Derby with so many stars from across the water bidding to land the £150,000 first prize that William Hill have so kindly dangled in front of owners and trainers this year.
We go into this year's event with nine entries split nicely with five runners on Friday night and four runners on Saturday night but the question on many people's lips is, 'have we got another Kinda Ready or Blonde Snapper?' Here below are my thoughts on our prospects for all our team..good luck and enjoy!
AYAMZAMAN .... best odds 150/1
Terrific Romford record with over 30 open race wins but away from Romford has struggled to cut any ice. Only ever ran one race at Wimbledon when leading a hot puppy race to the third bend before fading. A lot of questions to answer not least will he stay the 480m? Decent trial last week and faces a couple of strong Irish raiders in his heat on Friday. Only just turned three so he should be at the peak of his career and is most definitely not one to write off as his early and middle pace should be well suited to this Derby. His half brother Jogadusc Ace had a great run in the Derby a couple of years ago.
BENKAAT BLUE ... best odds 150/1
Full brother to Ayamzaman though completely different in styles. Great all round pace and has won at several different tracks including Yarmouth, Henlow, Monmore, Hove, Swindon and most importantly twice at Wimbledon where he took the scalp of Alien Planet last year. Comes into the event in terrific form having landed the Stud Book Trophy at Monmore last week. Tough looking heat where he also faces some tough Irish rivals but is well drawn and could go a long way in the event as he is a good competition type dog.
BENKAAT NERO ... best odds 250/1
Formerly known as Ard To Beat I'm convinced we have not seen the best of this fella yet. A 29.76 win at Hove is fast but trapping is what lets him down but if he finds a cure he could go a long way in this event. His heat on Saturday is not as hard as some and he might represent long odds value to make the final. We have got these type of dogs through to the later stages before with the likes of Seanis Lad, Commander Chief, January Tiger, Directors Chair, Jogadusc Ace and Bellers Bud who all made the semis for us in recent years and remember Secret Crystal, Greenfield Deal and recently Adageo who made the final at huge odds!
BRIDGE HONCHO.... best odds 100/1
If we were to believe the bookmakers this lad represents our best chance of landing the title but it will be a huge ask of him having just returned from serious injury sustained at Wimbledon last December. His comeback trials have been sensational having dipped inside the track record at Coventry (28.88) and despite a heavy defeat in his comeback race he produced another fine trial over track and trip last week. A lot of people still have Bridge Honcho firmly on their mind from when he led Ballymac Eske a good 4 or 5 lengths in the Olympic Final last year before being reeled in, he has drawn Eske again in the first round in which appears to be the heat of the round which also includes Garryglass Rodge. If he finds a way through then who knows what 'Gerry' can do, he definitely has the speed to win a Derby.
BRIDGE RUTH... best odds 125/1
Many people have said that if the Derby was at Hove Ruth would be a leading player, her record around there is exceptional. Having said that she does run Wimbledon well and was unlucky in last year's semi-final of the Oaks when she was eliminated in 4th clocking 28.59. She has a tough looking heat but must have a chance of qualifying. Her strength is stamina but does have good early when trapping well and will be worth an interest in the 'Leading Bitch' market, class act!
CARKIE MAX ... best odds 250/1
I thought a couple of months ago this lightly raced dog could be one of our real dark horses in the event. He hates the cold and a spot of milder weather saw him win well at Coventry but after being virtually brought down in a race and going slightly lame and then coming down with the cough it looks like the Derby had come too soon but a fantastic trial last Friday (28.73) has put him back on course. Sadly he will need a run and he goes in the first heat of the whole Derby on Friday and what a tough heat it is but if he can somehow creep through he might surprise a few.
GARRYGLASS RODGE ....best odds 250/1
If Ballymac Eske is the most talked about dog in the Derby then since Sunday's draw was announced Rodge is the second most talked about and that's because the tightest railer in training has drawn trap 3 immediately outside Eske. Let's not get away from the fact that Rodge is a very decent young dog anyway making a very warm Golden Sprint Final and consistently breaking the 24.00 barrier. He should stay the 480m but without doubt he is in a tough heat. Eske aside, this includes the likes of kennelmate Bridge Honcho and Isabels Boy who is as low as 25/1 for outright honours. Whatever his fate in the Derby he will be a leading player at Sunderland next month for the William Hill Classic.
GLANMIRE LAD ... best odds 125/1
Our Romford Puppy Cup hero oozes class and possesses that lethal early pace. Until his trial last Friday he had never been over further than 400m and after missing the break it might seem his time 29.18 is moderate but I'm positive he can find a chunk on that. His two chief rivals in his heat on Saturday are 'early birds' as well namely Farloe Barracuda who beat Lad into 3rd in the Golden Sprint Final and the useful Millwards Matt. Lad could give his owners Dick and Ann Barfoot another great run in the Derby following on from their Adageo (2010 finalist) and Bellers Bud (2011 semi-finalist) and is probably one of our least exposed types.
REEL TRICKYONE ...best odds 300/1
'Butch' might not have the class of some of the Derby contenders but none would have more guts than this fella. Open wins at Henlow and Nottingham over further than 480m but chief concern for me would be a lack of real four bend early but if the gaps appear he will take advantage. Would be a thrill for his owner Chris Richards were he to get through a couple of rounds and don't be surprised if he does.
Well there you have it, below are our Website Recommended Bets and don't forget we landed our followers a nice few quid tipping Blonde Snapper from the outset last year! I'm not sure if we have the winner this year but I'm confident some of our team will be involved in the later stages.
A very brief look at last week saw a double at Nottingham on Monday with Reel Trickyone (29.96) and Blonde Razor (29.86) winning well.
The highlight was most definitely seeing Benkaat Blue win a decent competition for owner Dan Daley when he landed the prestigous Stud Book Trophy in all the way fashion at Monmore last Thursday while Jazz Tilly could only finish second in her supporting final over 630.
A couple of near misses at Romford on Friday was followed by a four timer at Coventry on Sunday that meant we have gone past the 100 open race winner banner. Newinn Chick and the returning Planning won well over 485m and Baran Bugatti took an unusual match race over the hurdles beating the disinterested Rummy Lord. Aayamzabella won her heat of the 'Himalayan Climber 1963 Marathon' in a slightly messy race while Jazz Apollo ran a stormer in defeat behind the track record breaking Calzaghe Jack.
Roberts Dancer (28.85) was our only winner from a handful of runners on Wednesday and on Saturday Ille More (29.31) was a more deliberate winner. On debut Swift Sean produced a good run to finish runner up and is a name to remember for the future.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Obviously the William Hill Greyhound Derby takes centre stage this week and we have 5 runners Friday and 4 runners Saturday.
We will be open racing at Hove on Thursday and Coventry on Sunday with Aayamzabella in the Marathon final being the feature.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Benkaat Blue did the business for us last week and Jazz Tilly nearly made it a nice double!
Only one thing to concentrate on this week and that's the William Hill Greyhound De. I will get straight to the point, Bridge Honcho is our best chance and has the speed and class to win a Derby. Benkaat Blue is a competition dog and loves Wimbledon while our least exposed entries in my opinion are Glanmire Lad and Benkaat Nero. Bridge Ruth is worth a small interest because of her class and more of an interest in the leading bitch market. Ayamzaman can land his first round heat at a tasty 7/2
BRIDGE HONCHO - 2.5 pts e.w ante-post 100/1 - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon
BENKAAT NERO - 2 pts e.w ante-post 200/1 - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon
GLANMIRE LAD - 1.5 pts e.w ante-post 150/1 - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon
BENKAAT BLUE - 1 pt e.w ante-post 150/1 - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon
BRIDGE RUTH - 1 pt e.w ante-post 125/1 - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon
BRIDGE RUTH - 2 pts e.w ante-post 'top bitch' market - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon
AYAMZAMAN - 4 pt win 7/2 - 7.54 Wimbledon - Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BENKAAT BLUE - 2 pts win 11/4 - Monmore - Thursday - WON
JAZZ TILLY - 2 pts win - Monmore - Thursday - lost