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Monday 21st May 2012


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Blonde Snapper

What a tremendous week for our kennels just gone with a stack of winners, a nice little final win and most excitingly a Derby semi-finalist winner in the shape of kennel superstar Blonde Snapper. I now know why everything that we do, with all the hard work and pressure, is so so rewarding and to say I'm absolutely buzzing is an understatement.

Let's start with the William Hill Greyhound Derby. After Tuesday's quarter final where Blonde Snapper cruised into qualification with a close up second behind a powerful Droopys Jet all eyes were on the draw for the semi's. The first semi drawn by Robbie Savage looked red hot and we drew a huge sigh of relief when escaping that one. We could not have wished for a better draw in the second semi when Snapper was left with five railers and we knew we had a plum trap 6 slot and let me say all these draws have a way of evening themselves out over time as Snapper can vouch for in the past.

The first semi looked all over when Razldazl Jayfkay for Dolores Ruth cracked out in front but Judicial Ruling from trap 4 paced up well and moved off taking Jayfkay with him and out of the Derby along with the Champagne Club's dreams as Bubbly Phoenix crashed into the back of him. This left Matt Dartnall's Farloe Ironman in front and he galloped away from Coolavanny Bert to win unchallenged in a flying 28.16. Judicial Ruling recovered best from the first bend melee to grab the vital third spot in front of the disappointing Razldazl Rioga.

Before anyone had recovered from the shock of losing the three fancied runners from the first semi the next semi was ready to go and we crossed everything in the hope of seeing Blonde Snapper qualify in one of the all important first three places. Our expectations were boosted when Snapper broke well but was just beaten to the first bend by Droopys Loner for Dean Childs. Defending champion Taylors Sky had got himself in a great position and down the back straight both he and Blonde Snapper challenged the last remaining bitch in the competition for the lead. As they both passed Droopys Loner on the run in they raced together for the rest of the 480m and Snapper gallantly stuck his head out to beat old rival Taylors Sky by the minimum margin in 28.41 with Westmead Adonis just getting up for that last qualifying space. At this stage of the Classic all you want to do as an owner or trainer is qualify and Blonde Snapper's victory was an unexpected bonus and a huge boost for all of us as we approach next wee'ks gala final card.

I'm still yet to fully take in the fact that we are now one race away from claiming a second Greyhound Derby winner and I'm sure this week will fly by. For owner Mark Currell he will be hoping that it will be third time lucky if Blonde Snapper can land the spoils after coming close with both Blonde Mac and Blonde Dino in previous years. The draw for the £125,000 to the winner race sees us on the outside of Judicial Ruling in trap 6 and I'm still not sure if that's ideal after seeing Michael O'Donavan's Irish raider jump out at Razldazl Jayfkay at the first bend in the semi-finals. I will certainly be having a few sleepless nights thinking about that scenario. Taylors Sky will have to do it the hard way if he wants to defend his title and land Charlie Lister OBE a record 7th Derby victory as he has drew trap 4. I'm not sure the Dartnall's will be entirely happy that their Farloe Ironman has drawn trap 1 while the story of the whole event could be Coolavanny Bert and John Gardner, who has taken a licence out just to train his own dog just before the Derby started. Is it a coincidence that Nick Savva has sneaked Westmead Adonis to the final as he, along with Charlie Lister, has a habit of getting their charges through three tough races in eight days, a severe test for any greyhound and one many people have said wouldn't suit Blonde Snapper so you can imagine how proud we all are. Again as well as my staff I have to thank our physio Ron Mills for all their hard work on seeing us reach another Greyhound Derby final.

Blonde Snapper is the oldest finalist but our October 08 whelp has only had 38 races in his illustrious career. Last year he started the Derby at about 14/1 and crashed out in the first round much to our disbelief and, as I've said many times, if you look at his record since I don't think he should have been an 80/1 shot this year. Since last year's exit he has run in five competitions winning three (William Hill Classic at Sunderland £25,000, Coral On TV Standard £750 and the Coral Golden Sprint £8,000), runner up in one (Henlow Derby in a terrific battle with Taylors Sky) and a losing semi-finalist in the other one (beaten favourite in the Kent Derby). He has only had 8 one off races winning 4 of them and all of this whilst managing an old fractured wrist which has to be worked on every day. He is only 31.5 kilos but has a huge heart and I could think of no more deserving winner of the most coveted prize in our sport than Snapper, fingers crossed and let's hope he gets a clear run, come on Snapper!!!

Today the Derby week begins with the traditional Derby lunch for all connections of finalists. This year it is being held at the Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell Road and kindly sponsored by William Hill. Myself and Mark Currell will be doing a piece for Sky on Wednesday to be screened on Saturday's show and I will not be getting het up about all the pressure a Derby final brings. We have a plan of action for Snapper and I have great belief in ourselves to be able to find that extra 2-3 lengths out of him that we will need to lift the trophy. If he doesn't then we will still enjoy the whole night and this week. I am also so pleased for Gary Crathern who has taken Snapper to Wimbledon and paraded him since the second round and I know how much he is looking forward to the pleasure of walking him in the final. After my close friend and assistant Patrick Janssens left the kennel earlier in the year to pursue a different challenge Gary has come into the kennel and done a fantastic job and his laid back attitude is just what is required with a Derby finalist.

Away from the William Hill Derby we had a great week. On Thursday Blonde Fletch, having his third race since a long term injury, gained a confident boosting win at Oxford over 645m as did Mountjoy Orion over 595m who had gone a while without winning.

Mountjoy OspreyOn Friday at Romford Mountjoy Eagle won for his new owners over 575m and Ayamzaman, formerly known as Mountjoy Osprey now owned by the Ayamzaboys Syndicate, landed the Coral on TV Standard final in great style after being so brave at the first bend. The race of the night was the renewal of the previous week's meeting between Aero Joker and Rick Holloway's super fast Airforce Newyork and both didn't disappoint a large crowd. A thrilling finish again saw Aero Joker just hold on for a head victory over her rival and on the form she is showing it will take a good one to beat her at Romford.

On Sunday Coventry opened its doors again after more than two years absence to a packed house and it was great to have a couple of winners on the night with Lil Risky and Springdale Hawk picking up trophies.




On Monday Mountjoy Osprey (Ayamzaman) scored well by over 5 lengths in the heats of the Coral On TV Standard at Romford in 23.97 calc.

At Wimbledon on Tuesday Blonde Snapper was runner up to Droopys Jet in the William Hill Greyhound Derby quarter-finals and in a supporting sprint Lil Risky was very unlucky when going down by 3/4 length to Jimmy Lollie.

On Thursday at Oxford Risky Fred was third in a Pall Mall warm up over 450m while Mountjoy Orion cracked out the traps to win well over 595m in 36.89 calc. Blonde Fletch was odds on and duly won by 2 3/4 lengths in 39.66 calc over 645m.

As said there were wins at Romford on Friday for Mountjoy Eagle (35.88 calc) and Aero Joker (35.46 calc) while Ayamzaman took the Coral On TV Standard final in 24.07 calc.

Blonde Snapper gloriously took the Derby semi-final at Wimbledon on Saturday and there were wins at Coventry on Sunday for Lil Risky (15.92) and Springdale Hawk (29.79) when beating kennelmate Rockburst Lenny, having his first race since injury, by a short head.






Darian Marvel

Two wins from four runners at both the Wednesday and Saturday meetings.

On Wednesday Born Tobe Blue returned from seasonal rest to win an A3 in 28.73 while the improving Darian Marvel won an A2 in a good 28.18.

On Saturday Corrig Vincent scored an overdue success in an A2 in 28.34 and Kinda True took an A1 in 28.04.















We will be back to Oxford on Thursday and possibaly Hove as well.

Our usual opens at Romford on Friday but obviously the highlight of the week is the William Hill Greyhound Derby Final at Wimbledon on Saturday and Blonde Snapper bids to land us a second Derby victory after Kinda Ready's dramatic win in 2009. We will have a few runners on what is always a brilliant supporting card including Lil Risky, Aero Majestic, Ayamzagirl, Jazz Apollo and possibly a couple more.

We will be back to Coventry on Sunday.





Ayamzagirl slightly disappointed at Wimbledon on Tuesday but Blonde Snapper certainly didn't and now that he has made the William Hill Greyhound Derby Final we allready have a decent profit with all bookmakers now paying the first six each way. Can we turn that into a massive profit if he producers his best form on the night? well all will be revealed this Saturday when he lines up in his favourite trap 6 box.

I think our best bet on the night will be Lil Risky in the Derby night Sprint.

LIL RISKY - 5 pts win - Wimbledon - Saturday



AYAMZAGIRL - 3 pts win - Wimbledon - Tuesday - lost

- 2.5 pts e.w ante-post 66/1 - William Hll Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon - Final Saturday