(Opens to a third party website)
We have had a solid start to the year with 8 open race winners from our first 36 runners and though the winners on the graded side at Henlow have been tougher to come by in the first couple of weeks of the year, mainly because we had a lot of winners in Nov/Dec and many of ours are in a lot higher grade now, we have also had a lot of our younger, more progressive types off for two weeks as most came down with a kennel cough which hopefully has now cleared at enormous expense (the antibiotics we use are effective but very expensive!)
We have three finals to look forward to this week including one in the Coronation Cup at Romford on Friday, the first major final of 2020. Firstly at Hove on Thursday Antigua Sands has a good chance of taking the Hove Ladies final after a very impressive heat win last week in a very good 28.28 (-20), she will still have to get it right out the boxes drawn in trap 3 if she is to win. On Friday we have three runners in the 400m Standard Final at Romford, Kicking King took his heat in 24.21 while Have A Brandy won very well in 23.91, Tiffield Blueboy also qualified when chasing home Bubbly Buster going down by 1 1/2 lengths in a fast 23.84. The draws haven’t worked out that great with Tiffield Blueboy in trap 2 but Kicking King and Have A Brandy are out in traps 4 and 5 which will be tough.
I mentioned last week that the Coronation Cup is all but a Category 1 event in name but does only hold Category 2 status and what a final we have this Friday. It looks a classic with new staying sensations Roman Empire and Sparta Master taking on the Essex Vase winner Droopys Aoife with the fast Our Lucky Fool and Maysthistlecrack no back numbers. That leaves our very own Antigua Rum who chased home Roman Empire in a fast run first semi final going down just under 2 lengths in a flying 34.78, that meant Antigua Rum clocked 34.92 and didn’t win! Drawn in trap 5 on Friday we are again likely to go off a reasonable price but Antigua Rum is improving and is well capable of winning this competition but only a fast exit will suffice as it will be impossible to come from behind this class of runner, all the same it’s exciting having a finalist in the first big competition of the year.
Aayamza Express was desperately unlucky not to make the Coronation Cup final but has come off ok and we are thinking this week on whether to go for the Golden Jacket as I believe she will stay the 714m at Crayford. It already is shaping up to be a brilliant entry with the Irish star Redfert Ardfert in as ante post favourite and our Antigua Fire in at second favourite. Of course we finished second to the great Irish runner in the St Leger at Perry Barr so it’s a perfect chance to see the two lock horns against each other again. We somewhat had our noses rubbed in the dirt when Redfert Ardfert got a nomination for the GBGB awards in a couple of weeks' time and though I have absolutely nothing against the connections of Redfert Ardfert, indeed I was the first to congratulate them at Perry Barr, I’m still struggling to see how the GWA came up with this decision, after all the award is suppose to recognise the performances over a year and not just one win in a big race, and for God’s sake we lost nothing in defeat and were unbeaten going into the final, I better stop writing as it makes my blood boil! While we are on the subject of the awards I would love to see the GWA study Aayamza Breeze's race form for the whole of 2020 and then tell me how she didn’t deserve a nomination in the Marathon division! Anyway we might also have two or three other entries. Passing Stranger is running well at Romford clocking fast times over 750m and is worth a look around Crayford and I’m expecting Glassmoss Sis to improve this year after having her first season, I also have a couple of unexposed types that maybe worth a look around the track in the next couple of weeks. The Golden Jacket starts on February 8th.
Antigua Sands won well at Hove on Thursday in the heats of the Ladies comp clocking a fast 29.08 while we also had a winner when Silva Hill dropped back to sprinting won well in 16.33.
As said at Romford we qualified Antigua Rum for the Coronation Cup final while Aayamza Express was desperately unlucky not to join him and both Alien Sea and Tiffield Maximus just missed out when 3rd. Kicking King and Have A Brandy
won their heats of the Friday Night 500 Standard with Tiffield Blueboy also qualifying and overall for the second week running I thought we were unlucky not to have a couple more winners. Loose Chips (3rd), Cuil King (3rd in Jazz Jake’s retirement race) and Passing Stranger (2nd) all ran well.
On Tuesday Algo For You was second in an A2 won in 27.37! Shazzas Bullet won well in an A5 in 28.09, Towstar Zelda was second in an A3 beaten 3/4 lengths in 27.89 and Calco Dare was beaten a short head in an A7 in 28.51.
There were just five runners Thursday with Busters Bullet beaten 2 1/2 lengths in an A4 in 28.03 and a fine win for Longacres Lilly in an A8 in 28.23 (-20). Chubbys Jenny was second in an A7 and Energize Bobadoo took an A8 in 28.53 (-20).
On Friday Glassmoss Sis won well in an A6 in 28.51 (-50) and on Saturday we just had the one winner as Princess Evita won an A9 in 29.02 (-30) at a juicy 8/1.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - HAVE A BRANDY
GRADED - PRINCESS EVITA
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
We have a few runners at Hove on Thursday including Antigua Sands in the Hove Ladies final over 500m.
On Friday a fantastic Coronation Cup final over 575m is the feature race of what is likely to be a very good card at Romford and Antigua Rum bids to get the year off to a flying start. We also have three runners in the Friday Night 500 Standard final.
Monmore's twice monthly festival races are on again on Saturday and we should see the returning Antigua Fire and Antigua Breeze in action again as well as the prolific Coolavanny Messi.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Unfortunately Aayamza Express unluckily bowed out of the Coronation Cup at Romford but we did get Antigua Rum through to the final and hopefully some people who backed him at 16/1 had a little more on when he drifted out to 25/1 after the first round! If you didn’t he will still be decent odds for Fridays final and I wouldn’t put anyone off a small wager.
We will be off to Monmore on Saturday but can’t advise any bets until I’ve seen the runners.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AAYAMZA EXPRESS - 2 pts ew ante post 8/1 - Coral Coronation Cup - Romford - lost
ANTIGUA RUM - 1 pt ew ante post 16/1 - Coral Coronation Cup - Romford - final Friday