4th August 2021
A superb big race double at Hove on Saturday has put the kennel on cloud nine. Firstly Drumcrow Brent caught the brave Antigua Storm to land not only a memorable 1-2 for the kennel but also the first ever Sussex Cup Final for us and then some 45 minutes later Aayamza Royale extracted victory from the jaws of defeat with a miraculous whirlwind finish to brilliantly win the Regency Final.
Going into the Sussex Cup final the race looked at the mercy of Droopys Addition but I felt the presence of Antigua Storm in trap 1 could upset the favourite, I also liked the fact that Drumcrow Brent was in trap 5 inside the dangerous Troy Firebird whilst our other runner Ivy Hill Skyhigh looked to have a difficult task from trap 3. My thoughts were right as both Antigua Storm and Drumcrow Brent broke well and led up which put the favourite under enormous pressure from the off and it was Antigua Storm who raced clear down the back straight and turning off the last bend, looked as if he had the race at his mercy for owners Amanda and Nic Jeal but Drumcrow Brent in trap 5 was still handy and in a dramatic finish he swooped late to chin Antigua Storm on the line. It was a fantastic 1-2 for the kennel and for Drumcrow Brent's owners Michelle Connolly and Mike Davis it was a first big victory for them since joining the kennel despite coming close before with the likes of Saleen Ash and Chubbys Caviar.
The Regency final was deemed as being one of the best six bend finals on record and both our runners Bo Shine Bullet and 2020 Greyhound of the Year Aayamza Royale looked to have a decent chance but as they rounded the first turn and crossed the winning line for the first time, Bo Shine Bullet had missed the kick and lost her chance of glory. Worse still, Aayamza Royale was a length or so behind her and looked in an impossible position and despite both closing towards the fifth bend, Aayamza Royale was still in last place but was into overdrive and sweeping round the last two bends she had moved into third place and had the leaders Ragtime Arthur and Blue Tick George just about in her sights. Sprinting up the run in she firstly went past Blue Tick George and in a last gasp lunge dipped her head on the line and in an agonising minute or two was then announced the winner to the joys of the Ayamzaboy's syndicate. Even now a few days later, we are still amazed at what she did after watching the replay a few times. This was Aayamza Royale’s fourth group 1 victory and in her amazing career so far, without doubt, she has that wow factor.
I was myself at Monmore on Saturday preparing some runners for the forthcoming Gold Cup and Summer Stayers which gets underway this weekend and watched the Hove finals from the paddock there, whilst my son Daniel and daughter Emily were in charge of our runners at Hove as they had been in the previous weeks for the heats and semi finals so I was very proud to see them on the podium for the presentations with the owners. It was way back in 1999 when we landed our first Category one title with Honky Tonk Girl at Romford winning the Essex Vase when my mother in law Linda Jones was the trainer and I was assistant trainer and some 12 group titles later, I took over the reigns at Imperial Kennels in 2005 and Saturday night's double ranks up there with the very best of what we have achieved and Aayamza Royale’s victory was our 82nd group 1 title which has included 9 classics. It’s been my burning ambition for many years to reach firstly a 100 Category 1 titles for Imperial Kennels and also a 100 in my own right as a trainer but both these objectives will take a few more years of hard work and dedication with the support of our owners and staff to achieve this and most certainly another title or two before the end of the year would cap off a memorable 2021 where we have already landed five Category 1 titles. Again, I’d like to thank all my team at Imperial Kennels including Ron Mills our physio who came in on Thursday after being off a few weeks.
As said this week there is no respite as we have 9 runners entered in the Gold Cup and Summer Stayers at Monmore. Coolavanny Kyser heads our team for the Gold Cup although he has a very tough heat on Saturday to contend with whilst interestingly Antigua Storm bids to take his form from Hove to Monmore though going first time up at a fresh track is never easy. Hopes Bullet and the improving Billis Tudor complete our Gold Cup team. Again we are strong in the stayers and Bo Shine Bullet will drop down to the 630 in an attempt to make another big final and she is well supported by Blueberry Bullet, Fatboyz Exile, Fatboyz Trixie, Antigua Mememe and Ivy Hill Skyhigh who steps back up in trip after making last week's Sussex Cup final.
Sussex cup winner, Drumcrow Brent is in great form but the 480 metres at Monmore is too sharp for him and he will be kept to 500 metres with tracks like Towcester and Nottingham suiting. Aayamza Royale will now be prepared for the big Towcester marathon competition which starts a week Sunday so another titantic duel against Dorando winner Savana Volcano will have marathon lovers drooling and hopefully she can exact her revenge on Savana Volcano after her defeat to her in the Dorando. We also have another new exciting marathon performer, in Savana Volcano’s half sister, Antigua Lava who announced her arrival on the marathon scene with a emphatic and facile victory over 955m in a supporting race on the Hove card, only a Feb 19 bitch she could very well be a star of the future.
Just 5 runners on Friday at Romford with Ballymac Odie scoring a debut win for the kennel in the heats of a maiden 400m by 3 lengths in 24.47 whilst we were pleased with Agincourt Xena who ran well to hold Droopys Aoife to 3 and 3/4 lengths in the Doug Tyler Summer Cup final.
As said, a brilliant night at Hove on Saturday with Drumcrow Brent landing a kennel 1-2 in the Sussex Cup final and the legendary Aayamza Royale’s awesome success in the Regency final and a nice win for Antigua Lava in a supporting 955m race in a fine 58.60.
Over at Monmore, the evening started well with youngster Billis Tudor winning a 480m in effectively a Gold Cup trial stake by two lengths in 28.54 whilst it was good to see Coolavanny Kyser return from a lay off and battle hard to beat Mr Roo by a length in 28.69. Over 630m, Fatboyz Exile ran well when second to Warzone Tom beaten 2 and 3/4 lengths in 37.82.
HENLOW AND TOWCESTER REVIEW
On Monday at Henlow, Sligo Lilly took an A4 in 28.49 and Harrys Hexbug just got up to win an A6 in 28.57. On Tuesday at Towcester, All Fours scored well to land an A3 in 29.77.
On Sunday at Henlow it was a good night for the kennel with 5 winners! Lost Without You kicked off the night winning by a short head in 28.20, Domino Ninja also took an A7 by a short head in 28.50 and, in top grade, Saffrons Smash won well to score in 27.72 and in an A2 Run Free Snowy scored his 17th victory in 27.93. The race of the night was a terrific A1 and, once again, Rail McCoy landed the spoils to complete a 5-timer and has now won 5 of his last 6 A1’s.WHATS ON NEXT WEEK
We just have a few runners at Romford on Friday with Ballymac Odie going in the maiden 400m final whilst there’s a terrific night's action at Monmore on Saturday with the heats of both the Gold Cup and Summer Stayers kicking off.On Sunday, we are also supporting Towcester’s opens with a few runners including Sussex Cup hero Drumcrow Brent.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A fantastic night at Hove on Saturday for all our followers with Sussex Cup winner Drumcrow Brent our main selection at a very nice 20/1 antepost whilst we also of course never left our Greyhound of the Year Aayamza Royale out of our staking plan and in winning the final she secured some lovely antepost bets at 10/1 and I have heard on more than one occasion that the two were doubled up paying a lovely 220/1.
This week, I won’t lie, it’s going to be a huge task finding the winner of the Gold Cup and Summer Stayers and I’m just going to put a couple up that I think could be big value. In the gold cup, Billis Tudor faces an unbelievably hot heat but if he could sneak through he is a dog that is improving and should be around 50/1 for the event. Bo Shine Bullet would be an obvious choice in the summer stayers being such a class act but the 630m may turn out a bit sharp for her so better value could lay with the slightly unexposed Fatboyz Exile who ran a blinder last week behind Warzone Tom and looks like he’s getting the hang of the circuit and again could be a nice value price.
BILLIS TUDOR - 2 pts each way ante post - Ladbrokes Gold Cup - Monmore - starts Saturday
FATBOYZ EXILE - 2 pts each way ante post - Ladbrokes Summer Stayers - Monmore - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AAYAMZA ROYALE - 2 pts each way ante post 10/1 - Regency - Hove - WON 10/1
DRUMCROW BRENT - 2 pts each way ante post 20/1 - Regency - Hove - WON 20/1
IVY HILL SKYHIGH - 1 pt each way 20/1 - Regency - Hove - lost
BO SHINE BULLET - 2 pts each way ante post 4/1 - Regency - Hove - lost
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - RUBYS RASCAL