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Monday 20th August 2007

This last week has on the whole been excellent not only in the way of winners at the tracks but in the fact of seeing a nice few prospects starting their careers in trials and races, and as much as I don't want to put the mockers on these particular dogs, watch out in the coming weeks for Elusive No Doubt, Aero Blackjack, So Said He and Mustang Assassin (might have a name change) who all look potential stars in the making. This new crop of recent intakes are hopefully going to fill the massive gap left by some of our former champions highlighted in this week's Racing Post that have been retired recently and as promised I thought I would give you some stats and my comments of their open race careers (stats kindly supplied by Peter Meldrum).


Truly one of the best and most genuine greyhounds I have ever put a lead on. Tiger made the Futurity Final at Nottingham in his first puppy race after coming over from Ireland on a recommendation from my contact Michael White before going unexposed in the 2005 Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon. With some brilliant displays including a terrific 28.66 win in the Quarter Finals he was unlucky not to make the final when finishing 4th in the semi's but was one of the stars on Derby Final night as he won the Consolation Final. As we stood on the podium with owner Evan Herbert it was a proud moment for myself and my assistant Patrick especially as it had only been 6 months since taking over the licence from my mother in law Linda Jones. I thought Tiger had Grand Prix written all over him 6 months before he went to the traps for the first round heats and when he won in the fastest time of the night it was so disappointing to see him lame the next day and out of the competition! A year later with many more open wins chalked up including a most memorable victory on Trainers Championship Meeting night at his beloved Wimbledon I was proved right as he led home a legendary and record setting 1-2-3-4 for our kennel in last year's Grand Prix at home track Walthamstow. With this son of Droopys Vieri still in great form this year we decided to give him a chance to regain his title and when he won the £3,000 Test Final at the Stow back in May he was looking on course but after a recent niggle we have brought this magnificent greyhound's career to an end and I for one will miss seeing him race again but feel proud to be called his trainer!


Like Tiger 'Arri' never ran a graded race and came over for owners Darren Johnson, Gary Crouch and Chris Badger again from spotter Michael White and at the time was quite unfashionably bred (Soviet Ferrari-Lady Devika) but that counted for nothing as he showed a lot of speed and when he went in the boxes for the final of the 2005 Gymcrack at Hall Green in only his 13th race I had a good feeling we were going to witness something special and as 'Arri' exploded out of the traps there was only one winner. Coming after January Tiger's Derby Consolation win the previous month the kennel could do no wrong and when he crossed the line in a astonishing 28.11 I couldn't help thinking how lucky we were to be involved in such a great sport and with people congratulating myself and our kennel all night on our first Category 1 winner it felt like we were in a dream! Go Commando performed with guts and speed for the next few months scoring valuable points in the Trainers Championship by making the Puppy Classic (3rd) and Eclipse (runner up) finals at Nottingham. 'Arri' hit form again in the summer of 2006 when making 2 Category 1 finals (Romford's Champion Stakes and Walthamstow's Grand Prix) before some injury problems stopped him regaining his best form and he now has been re-homed to a beautiful cottage near Thetford Forest with his new owner Lucy Johnson.


Guy might not have been the fastest greyhound ever bred by Ian Greaves but certainly he was one of the most gamest and in an incredible career he made 7 Category 1 Finals for owner Jamie Langley including 6 in 2006. After showing a strong desire to stay in his previous races he was stepped up to 8 bends for the Golden Jacket and duly made the final but at the time didn't quite look ready for that class but this didn't stop him over the year making the finals of Regency(4th), Prestige (5th), Grand Prix (3rd), St Leger (5th) and the Tom Fruit St Leger (3rd) with many open wins along the way. This year still going well he ran in my opinion his best race when only just beaten in 3rd in his second Golden Jacket Final. It was a shame that in an ordinary open he broke his hock with nothing around him which forced his retirement because we all thought he still had a big win in him but he is now poised to take his place on Jamie and Ross's sofa!


When on the 'bunny' I don't think I've seen many faster than Matthew Etherington's Daisyfield Seanie and now retired to the breeding paddocks it's hoped that she will throw some future champions that may grace our kennel. The one thing missing from her career was a Category 1 win and in all she made 4 top finals and went into three as favourite including the William Hill St Leger but her biggest win was in the Category 2 final at Walthamstow when winning the Test last year.


'Ernie' was another star that went a long way to help us win the Trainers Championship in 2005 and was again from the Michael White production line! Bred out of his smart brood bitch Not So Dark he was runner up in the Videx Final at Walthamstow in only his 5th ever race before being unluckily knocked out of the Puppy Derby semi's at Wimbledon. He then went to Nottingham for the Puppy Classic which he won undefeated to claim the £10,000 first prize and beating some use full pups including our own Go Commando in the process. In 2006 he was cursed with a few injuries but still had a good year for owner Ronnie Davis when making the Category 1 finals of both the Emerald Cup at Coventry and the Kent Derby at Sittingbourne where he was favourite for both. A real character 'Ernie' was a great servant to all!


I was truly gutted this year to see the retirement of this brutally strong son of Top Honcho after he broke his hock in the heats of the Peterborough Derby as I think 'Rocket' could have added some more silverware to owner Evan Herbert's cabinet. Another top purchase from Michael White, his debut in a puppy open last year didn't give you an indication of what was to come. In his next open he bolted in at the Stow and made the final of Graphite and the Star Racing puppy comps with a semi-final in the Puppy Derby at Wimbledon in between before winning the prestigious Romford Puppy Cup in great style - and seeing him smash out the boxes when people said he couldn't lead will live long in the memory! He ended up the country's leading juvenile in the points scoring so it came as a bit of a surprise when he didn't even get a nomination for best newcomer in the BGRB awards at the end of the year! With a light campaign this year he was so unlucky to be ko'd in the semi's of the Arc at the Stow but ran Oxford well and finished a gallant 3rd in the Pall Mall final before disaster struck.


'Nosey' holds the sectional clock at both Wimbledon (480m) and Walthamstow (430m) and has now had her first litter from Droopys Kewell.


Very fast bitch who now is at the breeding paddocks and has a litter on the ground to Droopys Kewell as well.


Determined open race dog who is well on the way to recovery after an horrific looking injury on the track and now retired at the Allen family's home.


For a time Walthamstow's leading hurdler last year who won the Ladbroke Hurdle and many opens at the Stow before injury sadly took this greyhound away from us!

Some other notable greyhounds that have been retired this year include Questhouse Sash, Nil Finance, A Bit Tricky, Courts Ad Deb, Cream Munkie and Henlow's track record holder Questhouse Ellie.

As many people will see this type of Quality greyhound is not easily replaced but it is encouraging to see some nice young dogs appear over the next few months and looking ahead to this week our older stars, most notably Fear Robben and Butterbridge Ali, have been installed as first and second favourite to win this year's Grand Prix which starts on Tuesday and although we have fourteen entries in the competition I think we will do well to emulate last year's sensational performance of five runners in the final! Great to see Directors Chair qualify for next week's Kent Derby final at Sittingbourne and though I'm not one for giving tips I have a good feeling we can win this event.

Our 5 to follow competition is hotting up with plenty of entries that have included Robben and Ali who are leading the way in points scoring but there is plenty of time for others to catch up yet and don't forget next month you can change your selections if you wish. I will be doing a complete new list of dogs in a month's time which will include a few new dogs that will be available.


Tuesday was the last chance for the entries of the Grand Prix to get acquainted with the track. The three divisions were tough but in the first Coolanga Flyer was given a chance but despite running well found another to good for him when going down by a length to Westmead Liz. Butterbridge Ali rattled off a quick hat-trick of wins over the course and distance when winning by a superb 7 1/2 lgths and looks a dog they all have to beat! Wednesday we travelled to Sittingbourne for the second round of the Kent Derby and Eye Onthe Flame made a complete hash of the start but fairly flew to the first bend but was badly impeded when he got there and his event ended at this stage. Killer Keane however came out the traps OK and led for a long way but tiring close home to finish second beaten 1/2 lgth behind Maria Dennis's Rough Gerrard. Better luck for Directors Chair who finished like a train to snatch victory close home in 29.57. On Thursday we gave both Fear Robben and Discreet Cat a switch to Henlow ahead of next week's Grand Prix and it paid off well with firstly Discreet Cat absolutely bolting out of the traps and drawing clear to win by 7 1/2 lgths in a fastest of the year 27.51. Fear Robben had on paper a tough race against track specialist Westmead Max but with our fellow in the form of his life he broke the heart of Nick Savva's runner and scored by 3 lgths in a blistering 33.30. With so much open racing going on Saturday's all open card featuring the final of the Circuit entries were thin on the ground for our kennel but we were pleased with the way our runners performed. Ortuna is running out of her skin at the moment and she was a bit unlucky to be second in Division 2 of the Maiden. Irate Kate looked like she stays all day as she got up on the run in to pick up Melon Twister in the closing stages to win in 53.74 (-20) in division 2 of the 835m marathon for owners John and Betty Becks. Snappy Girl ran her heart out but finished a good 3rd in the first Division. The best performance of the night was saved for the last race as the unexposed and for sale Like Hot Cakes blasted out the traps and led all the way in a warm Novice Stayers race to stop the clock in a more than respectable 39.99 (-15). At Sittingbourne last night there was not much rest for the runners of the dogs in the semi's of the Kent Derby and both of our dogs were drawn in the same heat and in a scrappy race only one of ours emerged to take their place in next week's Final - Directors Chair who finished 3rd but bad luck to connections of Killer Keane who has yet to get in that major final.


Lews Trickster (2nd) ran better than in recent weeks and Sofem (2nd) is nearing her peak following seasonal rest but a bitch who is in great form is Ortuna who landed the spoils in 29.29 (-10). On Tuesday with the opens on as well it was pleasing to see two graders Genesis Outlaw and Genesis Sister both win in good style, Outlaw won by 5 lgths in (29.70) and Sister won by 2 3/4 in 41.09 (-50). An all graded card on Thursday included an H1 which Lockdale Lord scored by nearly 2 lghts in a good 29.39 (+10). Eye Onthe Spark won a weak S3 by 1 1/2 lgths in 40.80. Carden Noir was second again getting caught by Honcho Dan in 29.23 but a great show from Vigorous Whitney as she won the A1 in 29.01




Tuesday is the start of the Grand Prix and with fourteen entries we are in for a busy night and the only other place we will be next week is on Sunday at Sittingbourne with a chance of winning the Kent Derby.