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A mixed week just gone for sure on the track and obviously some worrying times off the track with the COVID 19 virus having huge implications in everyday life. Let’s start on the track and the week got off to a bad start as we had to withdraw Antigua Romeo from the Steel City Cup at Sheffield where going into Saturday's semi finals he was favourite for outright honours. Unfortunately he had twisted a toe charging around our large paddocks on Wednesday, after it became obvious it was more than just a niggle we took him to our vets Stefano Malegori on Thursday morning which revealed a slight fracture, thankfully it wasn’t a serious injury and he will be off up to six weeks. I really felt he had a great chance in the Steel City Cup but it was not to be and more worryingly at the time it looked hugely unlikely that he would be fit for the Greyhound Derby that was due to get underway next month, as it transpires the very recent cancellation of the Derby for Romeo at least isn’t a bad thing!
A big night on Friday at Romford and as expected not such a large crowd as normal with the COVID 19 virus having an affect on attendances but a decent night's action including the Coral Golden Sprint final. I’m pretty sure we had Bill and Jenny McColl’s Tiffield Blueboy in the best shape possible and in what looked a competitive race on paper turned into a two dog race with Patrick Janssen’s Goldies Hoddle pinging the lids in trap 1 and Tiffield Blueboy turning a clear second. Try as hard as he could he couldn’t get to Goldies Hoddle who took the honours by 2 3/4 lengths in a very good 23.86 to land the £10,000 first prize. It was an excellent effort from Tiffield Blueboy and connections enjoyed a decent win for their Tiffield Maximus in a good 575m open, he was part of an excellent five timer on the night for the kennel though our Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club young pup Saffrons Xpress was also out of luck in the BGBF British Bred Maiden Final when back in 5th.
We are quickly into another big competition as the Coral Regency at Hove gets underway this Saturday though the decision that all greyhound racing is going behind closed doors from today was probably expected but it’s certainly going to be a strange feeling. We have seven entries including our Golden Jacket second and fourth Antigua Fire and Avastorm as well as our new staying sensation Aayamza Royale, who landed a memorable four timer with another last to first victory in a trial stake last Thursday over track and trip. Disappointingly all three of these plus No Can Boogie have all been drawn together in a first round heat which also contains the useful Roxholme Poppy and Ballymac Zorro. Bumblebee Bullet should come on a ton for her first run out of season last week and should go well as should another trial stakes winner Passing Stranger who bounced back to form last week, he just beat Longacres Mikey, who ran very well, while also Glassmoss Sis takes her chance and she’s a winner at Hove previously and will relish the stiff test over 695m. If we have no disasters it’s a pretty strong team to try and keep our momentum going at the top of the Trainer of the Year standings which is already looking at this early stage to be another battle between ourselves and Patrick Janssens with both our kennels dominating recent competitions.
So quite where we are with this COVID 19 virus is anybody’s guess. At the moment, as said, we are racing behind closed doors, with restricted crowd gatherings and advice from the government changing daily we can really only follow the guidelines. With nearly every sport postponed for the foreseeable future greyhound racing could well be one of the sports that is allowed to continue, if it does, it could play a massive part for the betting industry as punters that like to bet everyday will no doubt turn to our sport to provide their daily fix. One only hopes that our promoters and stakeholders get the maximum amount out of the bookmakers for providing this service and that it’s passed down to owners and hard working staff accordingly and by the way don’t forget about that Statuary Levy we have been asking about for so long!
On Thursday at Hove some Regency trial stakes saw Bumblebee Bullet return from seasonal rest and though beaten just over 6 lengths by a flying Zascandil (41.27) we were more than pleased with her. Aayamza Royale again showed her talents with another power packed victory by over 5 lengths in 41.68 and Passing Stranger returned to form winning well when beating kennel mate Longacres Mikey by 2 1/2 lengths in 41.59.
At Romford on Friday Schooldays at last got a clear run and took his heat of the Friday Night 500 Maidens by 5 lengths in 35.69 and Yukan Bridge, stepped up in trip, won his heat in 35.93. A treble quickly followed with the fast improving Playbook beating the useful Goldies Linekar in 24.14. As said no luck in the finals but in the two 575’s Maysonspeedymac (formerly Antigua Lad) won well in 35.58 and Tiffield Maximus
ran a blinder to beat a good field in 35.40.
Not such a good day Saturday.At Sheffield the withdrawal of Antigua Romeo in the Steel City Cup semi final took the gloss off the night though Antigua Sands took her heat of the Queen Mother Cup in 39.76 though that was somewhat eclipsed by Roman Empire’s 38.58 in his heat where carnage occurred behind and Aayamza Express was eliminated in 3rd. We sent four runners to Crayford but only Towstar Zelda cane close when second.
Our first runners were on Tuesday night when both Saffrons Tiger and Calco Dare came close when second. A career best run for Energize Bobadoo winning an A7 by 5 lengths in 28.15, Towstar Zelda was second in a good S1 while Ping Be Slick
was another to produce a flying run when taking an A5 by 8 lengths in a career best 27.77. Towstar Winston was another winner in an A4 in 28.25 and Muxton Teddy completed an excellent night winning a good A2 from kennelmate Algo For You by 2 lengths in 27.74.
On Friday morning Roswell Rainbow took a D4 sprint by a length in 17.07 and Garryglass Royal got back on the winner's podium winning an A7 in 28.10.
On Saturday Deans Hail Mary blasted out to a flying 3.68 sectional encounter to scoring in an A3 in a flying 27.63, Run Free Snowy ran well winning an S3 by 1 1/2 lengths in 33.78.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - TIFFIELD MAXIMUS
GRADED - PING BE SLICK
WHAT’S ON THIS WEEK
I must admit that as I’m writing this blog things are changing all the time. If the racing goes ahead we will be at Romford on Friday, the Regency kicks off at Hove on Saturday and we have opens planned at Monmore as well and we visit Sheffield on Sunday with Antigua Sands in the Queen Mother Cup final.
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Tiffield Blueboy ran brilliantly through the Golden Sprint at Romford finishing a creditable runner up, recommended at 33/1 we showed a nice profit though we were dealt a double blow at Sheffield, Antigua Romeo had to be withdrawn from the Steel City Cup and Aayamza Express was eliminated in the Queen Mother Cup heats.
If the Regency does go ahead, and I have my doubts about that, then my two selections would be obvious ones in the shape of Antigua Fire and the improving Aayamza Royale.
ANTIGUA FIRE - 2.5 pts each way ante post - Coral Regency - Hove - starts Saturday
AAYAMZA ROYALE - 2 pts each way ante post - Coral Regency - Hove - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
TIFFIELD BLUEBOY - 1.5 pts each way ante post 33/1 - Coral Golden Sprint - Romford - 2ND 33/1 (12 pts profit)
AAYAMZA EXPRESS - 2 pts each way ante post - Queen Mother Cup - Sheffield - lost
ANTIGUA ROMEO - 2.5 pts each way ante post 6/1 - Steel City Cup - Sheffield - withdrawn