This week's newsletter:
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It s good to see our open race team in full action this week with competitions and the return of Romford on RPGTV though it was disappointing we only returned one winner at Henlow on Sunday. Garryglass Teddy and All Slick Now did manage to qualify for their respective finals for this Friday and both our entries Glory Snake and Kilcree Diamond qualified in the Kent Derby for the semi finals next Sunday.
This year I didn't manage to get over to Dublin for the Irish Derby final at Shelbourne Park on Saturday and by all accounts it was another fantastic occasion enjoyed by a crowd of over 5,000 , one that seems to reverse the thoughts of many that our sport is in real trouble both sides of the water. Well done to connections of the Derby winner Ballyann Sim who showed that early pace is still the most lethal weapon in Greyhound racing. I must admit I would love to have a real live prospect to take over and I did think that this year Bruisers Bullet could have been worth a go but sadly his wrist injury in June stopped any thoughts on that front, good news though he does seem to be progressing well and we are still hopeful of getting him back before the end of the year, next month we will know a lot more on this when he returns to the vets for an x-ray.
We would like to finish the year really strong and despite the demands of trying to supply Henlow with a number of graded runners in their busy schedule we have to rebuild our open race team for next year. I will be busy over the next two months or so looking at potential stars for next year, they are about I'm sure, but the biggest problem is now finding owners who want to shell out decent money for dogs when the sport is in a difficult place. I've said it a million times before but the loss of the Skycoverage is a massive blow as potential owners loved their minutes on the biggest platform. The industry has to find a solution, maybe the answer is to plough more money into RPGTV to produce bigger productions for the prestige events and then advertise these on a wider scale or something, it's time to think outside the box a bit.
Of course injuries on the track have been particularly cruel to us this year, something I've never dealt with before on such a large scale. Again last week we were dealt another cruel blow when our fine young prospect Good Lad smashed his hock in a trial on Tuesday at Central Park. The incident was not down to poor preparation of a track but just bad luck, in a two dog trial, getting ready for the forthcoming Kent Derby, Good Lad challenged our other dog Kilcree Diamond around the last two turns and was trying to pass on the inside where their was no room and he was forced to check which completely put him off balance, this is when a lot of hock injuries occur and he was unfortunate to suffer this fate. It was a bad one for sure and we have to thank our vet Stefano Malegori for spending several hours operating on the damage. Touch wood, he will recover though his racing days are over. To say it was a disaster for my loyal owners Steve Murphy and Miles Anderton is an understatement and I have never been lower myself this year. I really felt at the time - is this job really what I want to do? that's about the 15th serious injury we have suffered this year, that's as many as we have had altogether in the last 7 or 8 years. I can tell you now that on Wednesday I was seriously thinking of bringing my career to an end, however we have to pick up the pieces. From a welfare point not one of those serious injuries has resulted in any greyhound being put to sleep, a few look like they can return to racing and we are blessed that we have such a good rehoming programme, both by ourselves and through the GT. I hope owners like Steve and Miles can enjoy the sport once more but I certainly have had some this year who no longer want to invest heavily into the sport and some that no longer want to be involved again. I have rigorously gone through my training methods and questioned whether we are doing everything we can to prevent these injuries and I'm 110% sure we have not changed anything that we have done before that has brought so much success to Imperial Kennels, perhaps now our luck will change.
With all the injuries it’s incredible that we are so far clear in the Trainer of the Year standings and in any year that we have won four Category 1 events it normally means we have had an superb year but I feel it’s not quite been like that. God knows how far in the table we would have been clear if we hadn’t lost to injury the likes of Black Farren, Bonzos Bullet, Bruisers Bullet, Shlowdown Sally, Droopys Wilbury, Good Lad just to name but a few, onwards and upwards from now.
As many can see who have entered the 5 To Follow competition there will be quite a few changes needed and all need to be done by Monday. You can change as many of your team as you want but must still include 2 bitches, At the halfway stage Barries Bankers, Milllys Missiles and Pip 1 lead the way and Saleen Story is the surprise leading points scorer with 60 points. Our staff leaderboard is headed by my daughter Emily (what a judge!)
No winners at Romford on Friday but both Garryglass Teddy and All Slick Now qualified for their respective finals next week when both second.
At Henlow on Sunday a slow start from Chubbys Turkarna cost her the chance to land the £2,000 to the winner Summer Maiden 550 Final, she showed tremendous middle pace but left herself to much to do and was only beaten just over a length in 4th place. Most impressive was Brinkleys Rosie who won a 460m Standard in a calculated 27.48.
At Central Park Parkers Dynamite looked set to win his heat of the County Hurdle but somehow got crowded down the back straight before making a complete hash of the 4th hurdle and eventually finished last. In the heats of the Kent Derby Glory Snake was a touch unlucky but qualified comfortably behind Black Zack. It looked all over for front runner Kilcree Diamond when he didn't lead at the first bend but he battled bravely to nick 3rd place to qualify as well.
On Monday Towstar Evita and Adageo Zoomer were both second and there was another good win for veteran Airforce Cluxton in 16.92.
On Tuesday Sidarian Dino scored a long overdue win in an A5 by a length in 28.17. Deans Hail Mary was just picked up on the run in to finish second while Energize Jack took the Owners Bonus Series A6 final with a powerful run to score by nearly 3 lengths in 28.33 and another veteran Saffrons Honey won well in an A9 by 4 1/2 lengths in a fast 28.27.
Our good work continued on Saturday as Calco Swift just won an A5 by 1/4 length in 28.09, Potman at last got his head in front winning an A6 in 28.24 and Aayamza Bonnie also took an A7 in 28.3. No winners in a couple of graded races on Sunday
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - BRINKLEYS ROSIE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Last night was the heats of the SIS St Leger and our next open racing will be on Friday at Romford where All Slick Now and Garryglass Teddy contest two Category 3 finals.
We will have a few in the opens at Henlow on Sunday afternoon and we travel to Central Park for the semi finals of the Kent Derby in the evening with Glory Snake and Killcree Diamond.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Glory Snake our selection in the Kent Derby qualified safely and is no forlorn hope to reach the final. The SIS St Leger got underway last night but I couldn't see any value in this event.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
GLORY SNAKE - 2 pts ew ante post 25/1 - Kent Derby - Central Park - semi's Sunday