1st February 2016
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After a great weekend at the GBGB awards bash the previous week I was fortunate enough to be able to fly out to Ireland this weekend with some friends to take in the annual coursing festival at Clonmel. It's always a magnificent occasion with many thousands of coursing and track enthusiasts from all over Britain converging on the small town. Stopping at the friendly and lovely Minella Hotel we went up to the Powerstone Park on Friday for the first round of the Derby and Oaks events. I must confess to know very little about coursing but the simplicity of watching two evenly matched coursing greyhounds striding elegantly after a live hare for about 500 yards is a joy to behold, yes the anti's will have a field day about 'dogs chasing a hare' which is crazy as the the hares are trained to run in a straight line until the dogs get to them and then they turn them inside out before escaping under a screen, in the whole day not one hare was caught and killed or injured. These traditions go back centuries and are part of our heritage and history, in fact I would say to parents anywhere to get your children out of the house to see events like this instead of them spending countless hours indoors playing on every electrical device known to man, you can't beat live outdoor entertainment like this. Anyway it was a fabulous weekend made special by the friendliness and relaxed atmosphere of all the people both at the Minella and at the coursing.
On Saturday myself and Paul (Ephremsen) were up early to make a journey from Clonmel to Monasterevin in County Kildare to see Ian Greaves and his now famous Lughill Kennels. Ian and his staff made us feel most welcome and to see his many pups of various ages was a real pleasure, the size and enormity of his operation was extraordinary but the condition of all his pups was a credit to Ian and his team. We have bought plenty of stock from Ian especially over the last two or three years with the likes of Domino Storm, Swift Whirlwind, Blonde Razor, Ribble Atom amongst many of the current crop running in top class races and competitions at the moment and we also have some promising youngsters like Rubys Rascal, Parkers Prince and Tellhimjohn just beginning their careers now. One of my reasons for going was to buy some new stock to be able to sell to our owners and anyone else who fancies having a potential decent pup at Imperial Kennels and who knows lurking amongst the eight pups on our for sale page there might be the next 'Swift Hoffman' or 'Domino Storm' amongst them. On the way back to Clonmel we popped into Garryglass in Timahoe to see Karol Ramsbottom and he has some lovely Kinloch Brae and Droopys Scolari pups which we hope to be able to buy in a few months' time.
Thank you to my staff for covering for me while I was away from Thursday and it's been a decent week overall for the kennel on the open race front. Roswell Iceman looked impressive when landing a small 480m final at Towcester on Tuesday and I went to Hall Green with five runners on Wednesday and how pleasing was that to see Billys Bullet return to the winner's podium when winning a 670m race on the Sky card. Ferryforth Fran was an excellent 3rd in the Prestige final where only 4 lengths separated the whole field. A couple of nice winners on Friday at Romford were followed by three winners on Saturday at Crayford including an impressive victory from Patchys Kerry in a Ladbrokes Golden Jacket trial stake who was stepping up in trip to this short eight bends for the first time.
Reading the Racing Post on Friday the ugliness of our politics reared its head with GTA leader Rick Holloway being thrown off the Board of Directors at the GBGB and protests at the offices seeing heated exchanges of words. Quite incredible really, and I'm not going to comment as I don't know all the facts but of course none of this helps as the distance between the powers that be and the trainers and owners seems to be widening further. Having been over in Clonmel there is a great love for the breed and greyhound racing in general and as a product we can produce unrivalled entertainment at our best but the only way to move forward is for all stakeholders to unite, unfortunately this is getting less likely by the day.
At Towcester on Tuesday two finals were the highlight of a good card. In the Puppy 480m final a slip out the boxes saw Rubys Rascal's chance disappear with favourite Bang On Giles leading up. Our Famias Hope showed excellent pace up and almost got round the leader but was brushed aside and eventually had to settle for second place with Rubys Radcal a running on 4th. In the 480m Standard final Roswell Iceman appeared to have a tough draw in trap 5 but a god break saw him show some blistering early pace to lead around the first two turns and Blue Moment showed some great middle pace to close on Roswell Iceman but he wasn't for catching and in the end pulled out a bit more at the finish to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 28.26 (-20).
At Hall Green on Wednesday the Sky card saw a comeback win for Billys Bullet over 670m. Led up by Oneco Sky the Bullet showed his old pace and stamina to lead off the last bend and score from the running on Racenight Jenny by 1 1/2 lengths in 40.86 (-30). Ilewin Allot was 3rd in the sprint and Garyglass Pixie looked dangerous in a 642m race but was just denied by a head by Garryglass Zara. The draw was the winner in Calco Flyer's 480m race with Ballymac Darragh using his trap 1 draw to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 28.67 (-20). In the Prestige Final worth £6,000 to the winner Ferryforth Fran broke well from the outside but the inside runners had the advantage on the short run to the bend and it was John Mullins' Deanridge Penny who set the pace, a great burst of middle pace saw Fran close on the leaders but with the field bunching he wasn't going to get to the leader and had to settle for a decent 3rd place, a great effort again from our consistent performer.
On Friday at Romford Evanta Fantasy missed her break in the heats of the Friday Night 500 Sprint but recovered to finish up a close up 2nd. In a 575m Maiden Vandiva produced an excellent win when leading from the off and never looked like coming back eventually scoring by over 5 lengths in a fine 35.63. Blonde Razor is enjoying his racing at well over four years old and again showed decent early pace to lead and easily go on to score by 2 1/2 lengths over 575m in 35.99 (-40).
At Crayford on Saturday the last batch of trial stakes for the Ladbrokes Golden a Jacket didn't start well as favourite Sosaidhs Blue was knocked over at the first bend but thankfully seems ok. Things got better as Aayamzamodel led up and scored comfortably by over 4 lengths in 45.80 with Ribble Atom back in 4th place. Patchys Kerry going over 8 bends for the first time could not gave been more impressive, leading up at the first bend she quickly drew clear of her field and never looked like coming back scoring by 9 lgenths in a flying 45.02. To complete a good night Black Francis battled to a 3/4 length win in 46.27.
On Tuesday Tellhimjohn proved a good win was just around the corner and that was the case as he put his rivals to the sword in a heat of a kennel sweepstakes winning by over 6 lengths in 28.66 (-10). Parkers Prince also qualified for the final when 2nd in his heat. Ribble Aon ran well when just going down by a length in a good S1. Rufford Atom and Vandiva were both 2nd in other races.
Not much luck in the grades both on Friday and Saturday. Airforce Joe was best on Friday when 2nd. On Saturday it was a case of some close seconds but no winners with Macs On Storm, Fivestar Calvin and Aero Harrison all coming close to winning.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
A good card at Towcester tomorrow with opens including the heats of the Towcester Puppy 480m.Billys Bullet continues his comeback in a 655m and both Tellhimjohn and Parkers Prince run in the final of the kennel Sweepstake. We also have a team of runners at Sittingbourne as we prepare for the Trainers Championship meeting. We also have trials before racing which include Roswell Iceman and Domino Storm.
Evanta Fantasy runs in the final of the Friday Night 500 Sprint at Romford and on Saturday the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket kicks off at Crayford and Patchys Kerry will bid to break the hoodoo of ante post favourites in this event.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Garryglass Pixie was just touched off at Hall Green at a decent price. Patchys Kerry is as short as 7/2 for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket and it is a bit short but she could well make even those odds look silly if she improves only slightly from last Saturday's run. Aayamzamodel is no back number and loves Crayford and if getting the draws could well be a touch more value.
PATCHYS KERRY - 5 pts win ante post 7/2 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - starts Saturday
AAYAMZAMODEL - 2 pts e.w ante post - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
GARRYGLASS PIXIE - 3 pts win - Hall Green - Wednesday - lost