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Monday 23rd February 2009

Corrig Vieri's stylish and superb win in Thursday's £10,000 to the winner Blue Square Arc final on Thursday at Swindon capped a superb week for us and to say we are all on a high at Imperial Kennels is an under-statement. After a competition where we started with a strong entry it looked like it had gone a bit pear-shaped with a few disappointments and a weather disrupted event but it was a proud moment when Corrig Vieri crossed the line 1 1/2 lengths clear of the classy Lenson Express to keep in the kennel the crown so brilliantly won last year by Centaur Decree at Walthamstow. The sheer delight for owners Barrie and Rose Peters is what makes our kennel so special and, as someone commented, handler and Head Kennelhand Pete Vernon couldn't take the smile of his face. I need to say a massive thank you to Michael Whyte for recommending this beautiful son of Droopys Vieri to us and again to my staff for their professionalism and also to our physio Ron Mills for his unsung expertise. Also to Bill Glass and all his staff at Swindon for their magnificent efforts in making sure this prestigious competition didn't fall foul to the elements. The final itself and the supporting opens were first class and again Sky's coverage captured our sport all in its glory.

There were many other highlights this week includingKinda Ready Kinda Ready's terrific run on Saturday at Monmore in the top division of a Monmore Puppy Derby Trial Stake in a brilliant 28.01 which was our 50th open winner of the year so far. An unbelievable start to the season which could get even better when Aero Blackjack lines up in the £15,000 to the winner final of the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket at Crayford next Saturday morning with a realistic chance after recapturing his form when qualifying in the ultra tough semi-final last Saturday. In any other week Rockburst Mason's astonishing 34.00 run over 540m hurdles last Saturday in the heats of the Chief Ramsbottom Trophy would have won our site's performance of the week but such was the quality this week, not least with great wins for the likes of Treacle Rose (Wednesday), Eye Onthe Brave (Thursday), Kinda Free (Saturday) and Kindred Sparky (Sunday), that he might have to wait another day.

This week sees the build up to the forthcoming Trainers Championship Meeting at Sheffield on March 17th starting with a luncheon on Thursday at 12.00pm held at the posh Hempel Hotel in London with all the trainers and press getting together to be wined and dined by the sponsors Betfair. The legend Tony Calvin, Betfair's PR boss is in charge and we will all be taking bets on how long it takes him to get drunk! the spread is just after the champagne reception at 12.30pm! No seriously this event has become one of the highlights of the year and with our kennel in such tremendous form it will be a real pleasure to be involved again. Our potential team is going to be put through their paces at Sheffield over the next couple of weeks and it has to be finalised on March 12th. Good news on the injury front at the kennel both Directors Chair (trials at Coventry Tuesday) and Eye Onthe Force are nearly ready to make their comebacks. Sadly we have retired now both Coolanga Flyer (great servant) and Rhias Beauty (breeding paddocks) and the fast Mooloolaba is out injured while news of Like Hot Cakes who was badly injured four months ago is good as she has made a full recovery and has been sent over to breeders and friends Brenda and Ian Seymour in Ireland. Brenda and Ian are responsible for breeding the likes of Genesis Dream, Kinda Ready, Easy, Free and Handy and do a fantastic job of rearing and schooling pups. Eye Onthe Veto, our quadruple Category 1 winner, is also doing very well at stud standing with Chris Cronin and early signs of his progress are hugely promising.

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The heats of the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket at Crayford kicked off the week on Monday and it was pleasing to see a winning return after a winter break for Aero Blackjack when taking heat 2 by 1 3/4 lengths in 46.53 (-30). Last year's finalist Tipp The Breeze got no sort of run in a tough heat 3 and was eliminated at the opening stage but the out of season Eye Onthe Spirit ran well to qualify in 3rd behind Black On Air beaten 4 3/4 in 45.73. In trial stakes for the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy Rusheen Classic was closest of our three when 2nd leading to the run in beaten 1 3/4 lengths in 34.73 (-40). In the trial stake for the Chief Ramsbottom Hurdle over 540m Rockburst Mason showed real potential when beating the useful Ardmayle Machine by 2 lengths in a good 34.22 (+20). At Romford Pinewood Evo was just pipped by a neck on the line in the heats of the Coral TV Standard over 400m in 24.38.

On Wednesday at Harlow Treacle Rose took a veterans' 415m race in great style by 2 lengths in a good 26.03. Bell Tempest ran well when 2nd beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Daphs Girl in the 769m Marathon before Missed A Train made it two from three on the night when scoring in the 592m Stayers by 1 3/4 lengths in 38.32.

At Swindon on Eye onthe BraveThursday the weather-delayed Arc reached its conclusion and in the live on Sky supporting races Eye Onthe Brave took advantage of steering problems from trap 3 Illusonist when scoring in fine style by 5 1/4 lengths in 29.08 (-40) in the 480m Standard. Kinda Easy was well fancied in the Puppy 509m but found all kinds of trouble before staying on late to be beaten 2 lengths in 30.81 (-40). Butterbridge Ali had no answers to a rejuvenated Glittering Aries going down by 5 1/4 lengths in a fast 41.61 (-60). Goldcrest King was a shade below par when only third in the 509m Standard behind Full Bloom in 30.16 (-40). Anticipation for the next race the Final of the £10,000 Arc final was immense and for a change not too many people were giving our Corrig Vieri a mention with Ante-post favourite Shaneboy Luke drawn inside him but when Rab Mcnair's charge missed his break Corrig Vieri had a clear path on the rails and showing awesome pace to lead off the second bend the race looked over but credit to Lenson Express who took off down the back straight to get within 1/2 a length of Corrig Vieri at the third bend only to see him chopped off by our fellow who stayed on strongly to grab his chance and score handsomely by 1 1/2 lengths in a brilliant 28.92 (-40) and give our kennel some emotional scenes at the podium. (See photo collage on Guest Column)

Back to business on Friday where our two runners at Romford had hard tasks and when in form Eye Onthe Flame in the warm 400m Hurdle was badly hampered by trap 4 at the start and first hurdle there was no coming back. In the Coral TV Standard final Pinewood Evo tried her best but couldn't get close to winner Kingsmill Beau when 4th in a fast 23.90. On Saturday morning at Crayford a large crowd witnessed some great action and in the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket Aero Blackjack was a 14/1 shot in the hottest semi but despite missing his break he showed good pace to challenge early leader Harlow Lad and in a good buckle the pair held off the rest of the field including ante-post favourite Midway Skipper with Harlow Lad eventually outstaying Aero Blackjack by 1 1/2 lengths in 46.07 (-30). Rockburst MasonRockburst Mason was in a different league when slamming Call Late by 6 1/4 lengths in a magnificent 34.00 in heat 2 of the Chief Ramsbottom Trophy and in the heats of the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy Elusive Jazz looked likely to score an overdue win when leading at the second bend but found Barnfield Slippy too warm when he got up on the line to beat her a head in 33.98. The third semi of the Golden Jacket produced a bunch finish with Eye Onthe Spirit only losing out by 2 1/4 lengths when badly hampered at the third bend. On Saturday night trial stakes for the Puppy Derby at Monmore saw Risky Flame beaten 8 lengths to Lethal Ace in 28.50 and in div 2 Kinda Free having only the second start of her career ran on very well to lead at the third and win going away by 2 1/2 lengths in 28.79. In the top division Kinda Ready produced a stunning performance to lead at halfway and stay on well to win by 2 1/2 lengths in a flying 28.01. On Sunday at Coventry Kindred Sparky, having his first race for the kennel ran, with real pace to lead all the way in a fine 16.92. Goldcrest Lord just got done on the line when beaten a short head in div 1 of the sprint in 16.96 and there was no luck from our other runners with both Centaur Decree and Roswell Startrek looking short of a run.



On Wednesday Lord Pishy making his debut showed promise when 3rd and also making his debut make a note of Ruff By Name who came from behind to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 26.66. Centaur Sandi just returning from season got straight back in the groove when winning by a neck in 26.53. On Friday Goldies Tara was very impressive scoring at the second time of asking by 3 1/2 lengths in 26.36 (+10) with Andy Pellow's other pup Goldies Destiny nearly following up last week's win when 2nd beaten 1/2 length in 26.25 (+10). Lockdale Storm (2nd) and Genesis Sister (4th) were involved in a blanket finish in the S1 with Storm being beaten a short head in 38.29. On Saturday Emly Bob (2nd) and Genesis Fuzzums (3rd) were closest before Blackey Said So scorched to a 4 1/4 length win in a good 26.19 in an A3.






Another busy week ahead with trials at Coventry and Wimbledon on Tuesday and a long trip down to Poole as the Golden Crest gets underway with Mountjoy Gold, Seanis Strike and Pinewood Evo representing us. Opens at Harlow (Wednesday) leading to Saturday's busy day starting in the morning as Aero Blackjack bids for Golden Jacket glory as he lines up in trap 6 in the decider. Two other finals on the day see both Rockburst Mason and Elusive Jazz in action. At night we will be sending a team to Sheffield in preparation for the Trainers Championship meeting as well as Puppy Derby trial stakes at Monmore and the semis of the Golden Crest at Poole. Opens on Sunday at Coventry complete the week.



Corrig Vieri's superb win in the Arc at Swindon on Thursday recommended at juicy odds of 20/1 again gave us a massive pay day with a 25 point profit and with Aero Blackjack at 50/1 e.w running for us on Saturday morning in the Golden Jacket final our ante-post tips are becoming legendary. I still don't think they have got Aero Blackjack's price right for the final as he is likely to improve again after his winter's rest and with the kennel starting to have that winning knack in finals he again must be worth an interest at 12/1 (William Hills). They also have the impressive Rockburst Mason at 7/4 for Saturday's Chief Ramsbottom Hurdle Trophy and in my opinion he won't be that price on the day - take it now and fill your boots! Two to follow at Harlow next week are unexposed types in Lord Pishy and Maia.

- 4 pts win - Chief Ramsbottom Hurdle Final - 7/4 (William Hills) - Crayford - Saturday am

AERO BLACKJACK - 1 pt e.w - Golden Jacket Final- 12/1 (William Hills) - Crayford - Saturday am

LORD PISHY - 2 pts win - Harlow - Weds/Friday

MAIA - 1 pt win - Harlow - Weds/Friday


CORRIG VIERI - 1 pt e.w ante-post - Arc - Swindon - WON 20/1

- 1 pt e.w ante-post - Golden Jacket - Crayford - 50/1

KINDA EASY - 2 pts win - Swindon - Thursday - Lost

ELUSIVE JAZZ - 2pts win - Crayford - Saturday - Lost