Review Of 2007
Well once again we have come to the end of another year and again for Imperial Kennels it has been a very successful one. On the way we have experienced the highs and lows that Greyhound racing brings, big race wins and near misses, new owners and old ones as loyal as ever, news that our beloved Walthamstow is here for a good few years yet despite all the negative rumours, a brand new website that has achieved huge accolades and most importantly a kennel of greyhounds that receive the best attention that I and my excellent staff can give. So here is my personal review of this last year and all that has happened.
The year's opening curtain raiser is the Racing Post Juvenile and we were represented by Roswell Starship (Romford Puppy Cup Winner) and Fear Robben (Nottingham Puppy Classic Winner) but neither them nor the rest of the field had any answers to Owen Mckenna's Irish raider Express Ego as he flew round the Plough Lane circuit in 29.42. The next week's Sky meeting was at Perry Bar for the Birmingham Cup in which we had high hopes of a win for Raging Jack but controversy surrounded the race on a bitterly cold night when trap 5 kept turning around in the boxes and it seemed like ages before the race got under wa. In the end 'Jack' ran well to be third behind Charlie Lister's Zigzag Dutchman. The £7,000 Zigzag Puppy Championship at Coventry looked as though it was going to be won by the fast improving Butterbridge Ali who went in as a 7/4 favourite but in a thrilling finish Lance Burfoot's Iceman Brutus got the better of Ali to win by 3/4 length with Eye Onthe Gift back in 5th. There was also disappointment at Romford as Eye Onthe Veto ran a poor race when odds on favourite in Romford's Coronation Cup Final. Snappy Girl was also an odds on chance to win Walthamstow's Pepsi Cola Marathon over 835m and when she led it looked like the race was all over but her mind seemed to wander and she was passed only to run on again but failed to get back up as Confident Foe nicked the race. Hoylake Claire gave the kennel a small consolation when she won a Monkey Final at Harlow but on the whole it was a month that proved costly to our final Championship position.
February started in great style as Dave Wood's Questhouse Sash ran the race of her life to win the £3,000 Greene King IPA Cup at Harlow. The winners continued to pour in during the month and that elusive Category 1 winner came in the shape of Eye Onthe Veto as he brilliantly won Coventry's Emerald Cup over 480m in fine a 29.15. The kennel was buzzing as we went into Crayford's Golden Jacket Final with Daisyfield Seani and Blackmagic Guy and though both ran with great credit (2nd and 3rd) they couldn't get to pacesetter Walk The Line. A few days later Walthamstow's main four bend final, the Racing Post Arc, produced a terrific finish as Too Risky triumphed with our Raging Jack a close up 4th making another Category 1 final,. A great month overall with the kennel sitting at the top of the Trainers Championship table.
The kennel had a big interest in the two main events during March - the Monmore Puppy Derby and the Trainers Championship Meeting at Hall Green. Butterbridge Ali was runner up on in the best puppy competition of the year behind impressive winner Rough Ronaldinho (later known as Blonde Dino) and in one of the highlights of the year a tremendous battle developed between ourselves and Charlie Lister at Hall Green. Although after the first four legs Charlie was trading at 1-16 with victories for Roswell Spaceman, Centaur Decree and Raging Jack the contest went right to the wire but probably typical of our year Lister's Zizag Dutchy got the breaks in running he needed to snatch the cup for our main rivals but we came out the meeting with great credit. Veteran January Tiger and Roswell Bluesky were both unlucky in the Stewards Cup final at Walthamstow as Romford Car Two ruined another top race with his spoiling antics allowing Mitzie to finish strongest and win. The emergence of Directors Chair who won a puppy open in a fast 28.49 was a big plus in March as we ended the month with a 100 point lead in the trainers standings.
Wow! Fantastic reviews after the launch of this magnificent website and a busy month for the kennel. To start with, Roswell Starship was 3rd in the Pall Mall final at Oxford behind Ballymac Charlie and consistent Blackmagic Guy was runner up in the £5,000 to the winner Easter Cup over 660m at Perry Bar. Tragedy struck at Coventry when the talented pup Butterbridge Sid had to be put to sleep after a severe injury in a race. Better news later in the month when the kennel was well represented in the Ocean Trailers Puppy Stakes and although not the most fancied of the kennels pups Centaur Decree came of age producing a superb burst of speed to win by 9 lengths in a calc 28.36 to have the scribes writing furiously about his talent.
The month started with a fine second in the Blue Riband final for Fear Armani at Hall Green behind Iceman Vader. The return of Fear Robben at Monmore in the £2,000 Stud Book Trophy sparked plenty of interest when he beat dual Derby champion Westmead Hawk who was also on the comeback trail and, in what at the time seemed not too important, Bubbly Magic came second in the Paddy Dunne Puppy Trophy at Henlow to Westmead Lord - who was to go on and win the Greyhound Derby a few weeks later! In what was a good month race-wise for the kennels veteran January Tiger won the £3,000 Duffy Group Test at Walthamstow but the competition was spoiled by the career ending injury to multiple Category 1 finalist Blackmagic Guy in the heat. We also retired Go Commando, who for me will always have a special place in my heart after he won my first Category 1 the Gymcrack at Hall Green. The sport was given a massive boost by the William Hills Festival of racing at Sunderland with a huge amount of prize money on offer but off the track was rocked by the news of the sudden death of Wimbledon trainer Ray Peacock.
The Blue Square-sponsored Greyhound Derby was the main action of the month and the Internet betting firm should be highly commended for its approach to the premier event. In all we had 11 entries and after a good first round we didn't get much luck in the second and were left with only two going in to the third roun. One of those was Eye Onthe Veto who had produced two massive runs in the previous rounds but his luck ran out in the third when he was bundled out of the competition. Meanwhile Directors Chair had quietly crept in to the semi-final but never seemed to get going before being eliminated although it was a good campaign for him. The website launched the successful 5 to Follow competition but on a downside we lost another good greyhound when the popular Ronnies Callum suffered a fatal injury and we also saw the retirement of Daisyfield Seani to the breeding paddocks.
At the start of the month we were sitting on top of the trainers table, albeit only half a dozen points clear of our nearest rival Charlie Lister but July, with Coventry's Summer Derby and Hove's Sussex Cup amongst others as well, proved disappointing. We also retired the brilliant January Tiger after a superb career and Eye Onthe Veto left the kennel for a tilt at the Irish Derby.
Another quiet month with only the Kent Derby at Sittingbourne giving us a real interest when Directors Chair made the final only to finish 4th and it was also sad to see career ending injuries to both Roswell Starship and Directors Wish. Eye Onthe Veto returned from his unsuccessful stint in Ireland to be prepared for Romfords Champion Stakes.
A very busy month for the kennel which started with Fear Robben and Shelbourne Ryan both making the £15,000 to the winner Grand Prix Final and agonisingly for Fear Robben supporters he was caught on the line by Foulden Special. Killer Keane made the Yarmouth Derby final only to finish 5th despite being well backed on the night. Butterbridge Ali made a classy Yorkshire St Leger Final and eventually our consistency paid off when Eye Onthe Veto superbly won the £10,000 Champion Stakes at Romford leading home a memorable kennel 1-2 with the gallant Directors Chair in second place. The month ended with Fear Robben making the Gold Collar final at Belle Vue but he had no answers to the record breaking run of Vatican Jinky.
Directors Chair now stepped up to the full six bends for the St Leger at Wimbledon proved a real success en-route to the final which was hailed as one of the best ever and though he ran an absolute stormer he had no answers to the powerful finish of super hound Spiridon Louis and he had to settle for 4th. This seemed to be the main action of the month that saw our title chances take a dip when main rival Charlie Lister pulled clear in the standings with a couple of big race successes, most notably Farloe Reason landing the Northern Puppy Derby at Sunderland.
Eye Onthe Force was made a favourite for the Romford Puppy Cup, an event we had won the previous two years, and after a fast win in the opening round it looked good for this promising pup but as is often the case a rotten draw in the semi's proved costl. The Racing Post Festival at Walthamstow was a real success for the sport and although we had a few runners on the night that all ran well it was a blow to come away empty handed. Centaur Decree who had been plagued by injuries all summer returned to form to finish a gallant 3rd in the Eclipse final at Nottingham. This month also saw he long awaited launch of Linda Jones's book 'Talking Greyhounds' which received great reviews from the press and is in big demand still.
The month started in great fashion as Directors Chair romped to a victory in the Midland St Leger at Hall Green and then a few days later Eye Onthe Veto brilliantly defended the Essex Vase title as he led another kennel 1-2 beating the game Special Deal by over 6 lengths to put himself into greyhound immortality and also a nomination as Greyhound Of The Year. The month and year ended with some winners at Walthamstow which could well have a bearing on next year's challenge - the likes of Rockburst Mason, Lockdale Diamond and Castlemary Podge to name but a few all look capable of stepping up to open class.
STATISTICS FOR 2007
MOST WINS IN THE YEAR
1ST- BUTTERBRIDGE ALI - 16
2ND- DIRECTORS CHAIR - 15
3RD- EYE ONTHE VETO - 14
GENESIS SISTER - 14
WEBSITE 5 TO FOLLOW TOP POINTS SCORERS
1ST - GENESIS SISTER - 94
2ND - DIRECTORS CHAIR - 92
3RD - EYE ONTHE VETO - 90
4TH - LODE STAR - 74
5TH - FEAR ROBBEN - 71
WEBSITE MOST PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK
1ST - EYE ONTHE VETO - 9
2ND - GENESIS OUTLAW - 3
DIRECTORS CHAIR - 3
FEAR ROBBEN - 3
EYE ONTHE FORCE - 3
LOCKDALE LADY - 3
MAJOR COMPETITIONS WON IN 2007
GREEN KING I.P.A CUP - HARLOW - £3,000 - QUESTHOUSE SASH
EMERALD CUP - COVENTRY - £7,000 - EYE ONTHE VETO
OCEAN TRAILERS PUPPY STAKES - WALTHAMSTOW - £2,500 -
STUD BOOK TROPHY - MONMORE - £2,000 - FEAR ROBBEN
DUFFY GROUP TEST - WALTHAMSTOW - £3,000 - JANUARY TIGER
CHAMPION STAKES - ROMFORD - £10,000 - EYE ONTHE VETO
MIDLAND ST LEGER - HALL GREEN - £2,000 - DIRECTORS CHAIR
CORAL ESSEX VASE - ROMFORD - £10,000 - EYE ONTHE VETO
WEBSITE 5 TO FOLLOW COMPETITION WINNER
1ST - TEVEZ HERO 3 - (PETER WHATES) - 399 POINTS
KENNEL STAFF 5 TO FOLLOW WINNER
1ST - CHERYL - 359 POINTS
WEBSITE GREYHOUND OF THE YEAR
OPEN RACER - EYE ONTHE VETO
GRADED RUNNER - RAGGA DIVA
WEBSITE TOP PERFORMANCE OF 2007
CENTAUR DECREE- (28.46 -10 OCEAN TRAILER PUPPY FINAL)