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Unfortunately we missed out on a place in the Champion Stakes final this Wednesday when our four semi finalists were eliminated at Romford on Friday. It was disappointing not to be represented in the £10,000 to the winner final as we have dominated the 575m stayers races for a number of years at the Essex track with dogs like Adageo Bob and more recently Roswell Romanov to name but a few. Indeed Roswell Romanov, the ante post favourite, bowed out this year when only 4th in his semi final behind old nemesis Bubbly Torpedo, although clearly he's not been at his invincible best he was a touch unlucky in the race as trap 2 My Mate Max came straight across him out the traps causing him to check after a couple of strides and then at the first bend he was dragged back as he went to make a move, he tried his hardest to get back in the race but there was too much to do. He also managed to damage his dew claw and that will need to be removed with a small op so he will be off 3 or 4 weeks which won't hurt him, he's still a young enough dog to bounce back and we will target the Essex Vase when he returns. Garryglass Champ and Garryglass Teddy tried their best but both never got the gaps they needed to qualify. I was pleased with Rubys Razzle who finished 3rd in her semi, she was making a strong move coming round the last two bends but a slight stumble put paid to her chances of qualifying, her best form looks like it's coming.
We had a better night at Towcester on Saturday on their big night featuring the Lowther Stakes final although it was a shame we haven't got the bitches of the quality of Domino Storm, Evanta Evita and Airforce Duchess at our disposal anymore who have all done well in the event before. Geelo Sapphire took the honours for Carl Perry, who is having a great season, in supporting races both Rubys Rascal and Ribble Atom looked good when winning their races well, while in a good class puppy open Ninja Fortune on debut for us ran really well leading right to the wire before just being picked up.
I've said in the last couple of weeks Ninja Fortune is one of a number of potential high class pups we have recently brought into the kennel with not just with this year in mind but 2018 as well and you will be seeing quite a few new names in the coming weeks from Imperial Kennels, not only at Towcester but on the open race scene. Particularly that will be at Romford where Pennys Ryan owned by John and James Wright makes his debut in a warm puppy open on Wednesday, he looks very useful and today at the Romford trial session we introduce the likes of Brinkleys Rosie, Brinkleys Ranger, Brinkleys Twirl and Cheggs who will all be potential puppy cup candidates as will Plan Ahead, Saleen Story and Honest Robber who will be out on Friday in races while Not So Classical looks a very good staying prospect and Tangled Upinblue is a very pacy sort who is a big improver. At Towcester on Wednesday we have high hopes for Ninja Penny, Towstar Tommy, Fleetwood Royal, Corrig Grace, Kenz Blue Belle, Bombers Bullet and Bonzo's Bullet who will all be going through their paces. Hopefully out of theses youngsters is our next Billys Bullet or Domino Storm, we certainly need a good run as we have been quiet the last two months and a few injury set backs coinciding with a great run from Seamus Cahill has seen our 300+ lead in the Trainer of the Year race diminish to around 150 points and that could quite easily be reduced even further in the next few days, we will of course enjoy the battle!
Talking of battles again! The media rights battle rages on and every week that goes by without a resolve could mean another nail in the coffin for Greyhound Racing. SIS have dug their heels in and are positive they can supply the necessary meetings required for their betting shops with the small amount of tracks they have under their wing while ARC are still flexing their muscles and have 60% of the Greyhound Tracks in the UK under their wing. Realistically both really do need each other as does the industry as a whole but this doesn't look likely as we head into the last quarter of the year. Rumours are now plentiful that two tracks are getting cold feet and are about to jump ship, I won't say which but it certainly could be the difference between having a winner and a loser in this war. Meanwhile the best track in the country, Towcester, sits there with no contract with any side which is worrying to say the least. In any walk of life we all seek quality and try to buy quality if we can afford it, in Greyhound racing this is not the case as Towcester's top quality brand seems totally unwanted even though both sides, SIS and ARC, can easily afford it, unbelievable Jeff! as they say. Surely we are only weeks away from owners and trainers saying enough is enough and we all deserve better, over to you Paul Ephremsen and Peter Harnden??
The excellent night at Towcester with the Lowther Stakes final is one of a few decent nights coming up for our sport. We look forward to the TV Trophy again in November while we have two big puppy events sponsored by Mark Lowther and P J Fahy. As well as the new intakes said above which quite a few will have these competitions in mind we will be looking at a buying a few more potential runners for these events. The Puppy Oaks is sure to popular and we have a potential contender on our 'Dogs For Sale' page in Tip The Staff who has a very good run at Drumbo Park on her card and is only a January 16, yes it's not cheap but she looks Oaks class as well, watch out for a few more coming up for sale over the next few weeks.
A quiet week on the open race front with only Romford on Friday and Towcester on Saturday. as said no luck with our Champion Stakes semi finalists at Romford and we only came back with one winner when Tangled Upinblue ran really well to take a heat of the Friday Night 500 Maiden winning in 24.22.
At Towcester on Saturday Brynoffa Jasmin was second in the Sprint with Scolari Sound on his return from injury 3rd. Rubys Rascal had a confidence boosting win over 686m in a very good 41.21 and Ribble Atom loving the testing 906m in 50.63.
A tough night on Tuesday with no winners but we bounced back on Saturday morning with three winners from our seven runners. Micky Thebutcher beat Tiffield Lad just over 2 lengths in 28.60 in an A5 while Jazz Jake beat Energize Honey by 2 lengths in 28.83 in an A7 and Calco Swift was as game as anything winning an A6 in 28.86.
On Saturday night in the Graded races Ashakarin opened up her account in great style winning an A7 by 3 lengths in a very quick 28.30 and looks a lovely prospect while Sidarian Dino scored well in an A4 in 28.57.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN - RIBBLE ATOM
GRADED - ASHKARIN
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
On Wednesday we have a few runners on the supporting card at Romford for the Champion Stakes and we will be back there on Friday for their regular opens.
On Saturday Rubys Rascal begins his defence of his Yorkshire St Leger crown at Doncaster and we hope to have a few runners at Henlow on Sunday.
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A crushing blow to see both Romanov and Razzle out of the Champion Stakes but we will dust ourselves down and find a winner or two this week hopefully. On the Sky card on Wednesday Garryglass Champ steps up to 750m and his speed can hopefully take him clear, he hasn't been at his best recently which could make him a reasonable price.
GARRYGLASS CHAMP - 3 pts win - Romford - Wednesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ROSWELL ROMANOV - 5 pts win ante post 7/2 - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford - lost
RUBYS RAZZLE - 2 pts ew ante post 16/1 - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford - lost