Monday 1st December 2014
(Opens to a third party website)
A very mixed and emotional week for myself and our kennel and one I will not forget in a hurry. At the start of the week we were looking forward to the Essex Vase semi finals last Wednesday and some busy trial sessions at Towcester and then the Oaks second round and Laurels first round on Friday.
Let's get Wednesday out the way and the well documented traffic nightmare we suffered on the way to Romford. Chaos on the M11 and thick fog caused myself and Sid to reroute down the back roads towards Birchanger to rejoin the M11 at Stansted but two hours later we faced a race against time to be at the track for our runners to be kennelled in time as the rule states they have to be in 45 minutes before the greyhound's intended race. Further traffic problems on the M25 meant our chance of getting there virtually disappeared. We eventually got to Romford at 8.03 and though we knew we had long since missed the first semi final with Blonde Razor we were informed that we were also out of time by 8 minutes for the second semi final featuring ante post favourite Adageo Bob. This particularly left a bitter taste in the mouth as he now would not have a chance to capture a title he so richly deserved, for this year anyway. I was already mentally 'shot to bits' and then faced going over to see the owners of Razor and Bob. To be fair the Barfoot family were naturally gutted but fully understanding of the situation, they are without doubt some of the nicest and most genuine owners in our sport and not once did they say a word out of place. I really hope that both Bob and Razor and the Barfoot's other dogs in our kennel reward them in the future and make up for Wednesday's disappointment.
It would only take a special performance from our runners the rest of the week to lift my spirits and such is the nature of our sport it came on Friday at Belle Vue in the second round of the ECC Timber Oaks. Cashen Maureen is a gift from heaven having landed at our kennels a few weeks ago. A battle to get Paul Clark's strapping 32.5 kilo fawn bitch free from injury and fit for the Oaks paid off and she produced a stunning performance destroying a good field by 8 lengths in a fastest of the night 27.51 (-10). It was a good night for the kennel as Evanta Evita also comfortably qualified when just collared on the line and our star bitch is gradually getting fitter after a long lay off. Our dream of landing a first Oaks is still very much alive. It was a good night at Belle Vue as both Ilewin Allot (3rd) and Blue Moment (2nd) qualified from ECC Timber Laurels heats.
For nearly three years now I've written on my blogs of a new track for our sport at Towcester Racecourse and next Saturday that becomes a reality as it opens its gates for the first time for the opening meeting, sure there have been complications and much debate but that moment is finally here. Great credit has to go to Kevin Ackerman and his team for making this happen and Towcester's owner Lord Hesketh has said this is a proud moment for his family. The Racing Office under the guidance of former Walthamstow supremo Chris Page have worked their socks off in preparation for getting the racing underway and I'm proud to be now attached to Towcester. The opening meeting features an array of quality opens including a £5,000 one off race over 480m and two competitions for British Breds and Stayers over 655m. Also there will be two eight dog graded races worth £2,000 to the winners. We hope to have several runners and a massive turnout of owners, indeed my Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club has hired one of the Hospitality Boxes for the evening. I'm sure there will be a huge turnout for this historic moment and I'm really so excited by the prospect of having a few runners and hopefully a winner or two. I've no doubt that the opening of Towcester could change this industry's fortunes, it certainly won't be for the want of trying! Good luck and I hope to see many friends old and new.
Julie Collier is back from Australia and reading her superb article in yesterday's Racing Post on how brilliant the Greyhound industry is down under makes us all very jealous. Surely our industry needs to take a serious look at how successful the Australian model is and learn some lessons. With Towcester's opening now is the perfect time for all industry stakeholders to put their differences aside and start with a blank piece of paper and make a long term plan for the future.
Lastly tonight we have unfinished business for Yarmouth as we send a team of six to try and help them win the home leg of the Bags/SIS Championship against Peterborough and Doncaster. Peterborough have a 47 point lead and Yarmouth will need a tremendous run of results to go their way if they are to make the finals on 23rd December at a venue to be decided. I have a feeling Yarmouth will win the leg but might just fall short of winning the overall group, a lot will depend on the performance of our runners so let's hope we can start well in what is a massive week for the kennel and the sport.
(Only one scoring dog in the Five to Follow Competition this week (Aayamzaone - 10 points) and so this will be included in next week's round up).
Briefly this week was tough when Adageo Bob and Blonde Razor had to be withdrawn from the Essex Vase semi finals while Jimmy Nailed On and Rosealinda failed to qualify from their semi final.
A great night at Belle Vue on Friday as said above and at Romford from our four runners Aayamzaone ran a cracker to come from behind to land the Bitches 400m in 24.02.
No runners at Yarmouth
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight the Bags/SIS Championship sees ten exciting races at Yarmouth as they take on Peterborough and Doncaster.
It will be a tough night for the kennel at Romford tomorrow having no runners in the Coral Essex Vase final (Reel Trickyone will lead the parade) but we will have plenty of interest in the supporting card not least with Adageo Bob who bids for a bit of compensation. Cornamaddy Jumbo also faces some stiff opposition in the hurdles 400m amongst others.
We will be at Hove on Thursday as we put a couple of our Olympic hopefuls through their paces and on Friday we look forward to the semi finals of both the ECC Timber Oaks and the ECC Timber Laurels at Belle Vue while we should still have a few runners at Romford.
On Saturday a massive night for the Kennel and our sport as we venture to Towcester Racecourse for their opening meeting.
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We are all a bit dumbstruck by what happened in the Essex Vase and we can only look back in anger at what might have been, particularly with Adageo Bob, but moving on we still have a cracking chance in the ECC Timber Oaks as both Cashen Maureen and Evanta Evita are going strong.
On tomorrow's supporting card at Romford I feel Aayamzaone could well follow up Friday's win and land a warm bitches race.
AAYAMZAONE - 3 pts win - Romford - Tuesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ADAGEO BOB - 5 pts win ante post - Coral Essex Vase - Romford - lost
EVANTA EVITA - 2.5 pts e.w ante post 12/1 - ECC Timber Oaks - Belle Vue - continues Friday
CASHEN MAUREEN - 2 pts e.w ante post 10/1 - ECC Timber Oaks - Belle Vue - continues Friday