16th November 2015
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After just arriving back from an excellent weekend in Dublin I'm reflecting on one of the most dramatic weeks at the kennel this year. It was a case of the good, the bad and the ugly that's for sure. Let's tackle the ugly first and on Tuesday I received a letter from the GBGB informing me that one of my dogs that I own and train Droopys Ford had tested positive for a banned substance namely Stanazolol . Firstly this is a beautiful and kind dog who is no trouble at all and is a delight to have in the kennel. On October 10th he raced in the Maiden 480m competition qualifying for the second round when he finished 3rd but the presence of this anabolic steroid was present in his system. Of course, I without question, will defend myself and our kennel to the hilt that this was certainly not administered by ourselves and I'm disgusted by anyone who has to use drugs on these graceful and athletic creatures. I have also been informed that the POR (point of registration) sample taken and then stored shortly after he arrived in late August has also been found to be positive. Although I won't know until an inquiry is set up what levels of the steroid were present in each test I would be 110% sure that the levels would be a lot higher at the POR than on the 10th October thus indicating the poor dog was administered this steroid well before he arrived at our kennel. I bought this nice prospect in good faith and will certainly be asking questions as to why and how this has happened but the truth is that the GBGB rule states that any greyhound in a trainers kennel is the sole responsibility of that trainer to ensure it is 100% free from any banned substances and even if it is agreed that we were found not to have administered the steroid, which of course is the case, we are still guilty of having a greyhound in our care that's carrying a banned substance. This whole episode has really got me down as you would expect. We are tested 100's of times each year and at no point do I ever have anything to hide, in fact the complete opposite as I'm happy to have any of our greyhounds tested at any time at any place. Of course the daggers are out for me in particular as there is a sad culture of people out there that would delight in seeing myself and our kennel in trouble on and off the track, it's called jealousy and comes with the territory of being hugely successful.
Back on the track we started the week on a bad note with the debacle of Calco Flyer not being accepted by Nottingham's racing manager for the Eclipse and I must admit I was fed up with the subject by the time it did get underway. Ferryforth Fran ran as well as he could when finishing 5th in the £25,000 to the winner William Hill St Leger behind the well trained (June Harvey) Fizzypop Buddy. On Wednesday we had some nice new pups at Towcester going through their paces and I'm sure the future is bright with many of them.
The negativity of the positive test paled into insignificance on Thursday as I attended the funeral and wake of the much loved Mitch Millward. I could write plenty but it upsets me too much that such a lovely man passed away at a ridiculously young age. I will say though, he would have been proud of the send off his family, friends and people in the greyhound world gave him.
Also on Thursday Swift Whirlwind kept his unbeaten run going when landing his semi final of the Ladbrkes Gold Collar at Crayford. A plum trap 6 draw should give him an excellent opportunity to win a big final but he must trap in his best fashion to land the spoils.
On Friday we had a busy day with a long trip to Belle Vue with three bitches in preparation for the ECC Timber Oaks. Domino Storm was impressive recording 27.70 while Aero Babooshka also went well when beaten a length or so in 27.73. Saffrons Anna clocked 28.30 and hopefully can get in the event as well. We also had runners at Romford where Reel Shirty ran well when second and will be an entry for next Friday's Essex Vase along with Adageo Bob who looked much fitter when a strong finishing 3rd behind the prolific Clondoty Alex at Towcester on Saturday. We followed Friday's haul of five winners at Towcester with another five on Saturday and our team is in great shape.
The main news of the week on the track was our trip to Dublin on Saturday for the Night Of The Stars extravaganza. Ribble Atom was our first runner in Ireland for over 6 years and she performed with credit as she produced a whirlwind finish to grab second place behind the flying Traditional over an inadequate 850 yards. As seconds go that was as good as it gets as she had some top class performers behind her and despite never looking likely to get on terms with the winner she didn't disgrace herself in such a big and important meeting. She now stays with my friend and breeder/trainer Karol Ramsbottom for a crack at the Track Bookmakers Marathon (formerly the Ted Hegarty Marathon) at Harrolds Cross starting in a couple of weeks' time where the extra 200 yards will be right up her street. It was great to catch up with so many friends from both Ireland and the UK and the welcome and hospitality shown was a real pleasure.
As mentioned Feryforth Fran was 5th in the St Leger on Tuesday and Swift Whirlwind won his semi final of the Gold Collar at Crayford on Thursday. At Romford on Friday Reel Shirty showed great pace to grab the lead at the 5th bend in a decent 575m Maiden only to be just collared himself near the line in 35.70. Farkland Jackal was a running on 3rd in the 400m Maiden final.
On Saturday at Towcester it was good to see Roswell Iceman get off the mark in a puppy open and he did so in style winning by over 5 lengths in 28.17 calc. Parkers Poisson was just touched off in a 655m Novice Stayers and in a decent 480m contest Clondoty Alex showed tremendous early pace to win in a good 28.05 calc with Adageo Bob finishing strong back in 3rd.
Sligo Star made it two wins from three starts with an all the way victory in 28.84 (-20). Garryglass Pixie has come back well from season and ran a blinder to take a good A2 in 28.59 (-20), Swift Clare was just short headed in an 8 dog race before Carden Punch won over the six bends for the first time by a head in 40.52 (-30),.Adageo Djongo has had a difficult start to his career but he got back on track with an excellent debut in a top D1 winning in 15.64 (-10). Ilewin Frimley made it a very good night taking an A2 in a fine 28.40 (-20).
As well as the open winners on Saturday we had three victories in graded races. Calco Swift looks a top class pup in the making winning her third race in five starts in a very good 28.43 (-10). A long overdue win for Libertine Louis by a head in 28.68 (-10), Penny Seabiscuit was 2nd before another first win to give the kennel another great night was Fivestar Calvin in 28.60.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A big week ahead starting with the Bags Championship 4th leg at Nottingham tonight where Towcester are sitting in a strong position.
On Tuesday the Sky cameras are at Crayford for the final of the Ladbrookes Gold Collar where Swift Whirlwind looks to have a favourite's chance.
On Friday the aptly named Mitch Millward Essex Vase kicks off with six heats and Adageo Bob heads our team for one last effort before he hangs his muzzle up.
On Saturday as well as opens at Towcester we travel up to Belle Vue to try and defend our Oaks title won do well by Cashen Maureen.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Swift Whirlwind looks to have a great chance of landing the Gold Collar, recommended at 8/1 he is now generally a 2/1 shot.
We have to include Adageo Bob in our Essex Vase bets even if it's for sentimental reasons while I'm looking for value in the EEC Timber Oaks and I think we might get that with Aero Babooshka, off since a close runner up in the Brighton Belle she should come on through the competition.
ADAGEO BOB - 2 pts e.w ante post - Mitch Millward Essex Vase - Romford - starts Friday
AERO BABOOSHKA - 2 pts e.w ante post - ECC Timber Oaks - Belle Vue - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
SWIFT WHIRLWIND - 2 pts e.w ante post 8/1 - Ladbrokes Gold Collar - Crayford - Final tomorrow