1st May 2018
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Parkers Dynamite 'took off' on Friday night to land the John Smiths Grand National at Central Park completing a memorable two weeks for the kennel. If you had said to me about a month ago that Cotton Pants was going to win the Bresmed Northern Sprint and we would win the Trainers Championship meeting without Bruisers Bullet in the team and then Parkers Dynamite would win the Grand National six days later I would have definitely said 'your joking'! But it came true and going into the Star Sports Greyhound Derby that gets underway this week our kennel couldn't be on more of a high.
I thought that the make up of the race on Friday gave Parkers Dynamite a better chance than our other runner Swift Dartmoor as he was crucially drawn inside him and overall it meant the defending champion Razldazl Radio had early pace all around him. Parkers Dynamite has improved since his semi final exit of the Springbok and is a dog who doesn't like the cold and has suffered a bit with cramping issues, though the weather is still rubbish we are not having sub zero temperatures and this has helped. Both Dynamite and Dartmoor trapped very well in the final but as the favourite was moving up at the first bend Dynamite gave Dartmoor a nudge who in turn moved into Razldazl Radio allowing Dynamite to gain a decisive lead. Seeming to enjoy himself in front he jumped the hurdles majestically and quickly pulled clear, off the last bend the result was never in doubt and in the end he had 5 1/2 lengths to spare over Razldazl Radio clocking a magnificent 29.16. Owners Sarah Parker and Gary Pascoe were delighted to receive the trophy and now Parkers Dynamite will head to Towcester for the Champion Hurdle in a couple of weeks' time. His victory was our third Grand National following Lethal Rumble in 2005 and Cornamaddy Jumbo in 2014 and after a reasonably quiet start to the year we have shot up to 389 points in the Trainer of the Year standings 185 points clear of Matt Dartnall in second place.
The six bend category has plenty of interest as well as the heats of the Coral Regency began on Thursday and we started with a treble as Garryglass Champ produced a great run first time up at the track winning by over 4 lengths in 41.64 with Kiltrea Mike qualifying back in 3rd. Aayamza Breeze followed up last week's trial stake win with another off the pace victory just getting up on the line to score in 41.80. Cincinnati made it an excellent treble when getting the better of a great battle with Slick Strauss to win a short head in 41.78. Clares Kyletaun sent out a message that we won't have things all our own way when winning in a very fast 41.11 with Rubys Rascal in 3rd. We weren't so lucky in the semi final draw where four of ours were drawn in the same semi final for this Thursday.
So of course we now move on to the Star Sports Greyhound Derby that begins on Thursday. Just over 150 runners go to post which is a very low entry this year, I'm not too surprised as I think one of the main reasons is that Towcester will find out those runners who are really only in it for the fun, the form of the class dogs works out pretty well whereas at Wimbledon you could always get a chance with a lower class runner especially those Romford/Crayford types, many of these do not enter now. What the event lacks in quantity there is no doubt it doesn't lack in quality and once we get the first round out of the way to get to 96 runners for the second round then the competition will really begin properly. Obviously there will be a few banana skins to avoid in the first round and many trainers including ourselves will not have their runners fully tuned up at this stage. It certainly looks an open looking Derby where bookmakers have struggled to find a clear favourite over the last few weeks and we could very well go off 16/1 the field or even higher which is vary rare, it promises to be a great five weeks of pure drama!
For our kennel we have ten entries which is about par for us though we have had more the last few years. Our team is headed by Bruisers Bullet who is generally third in the overall betting at around 20/1, here is a full list of our runners in order of when they run :-
Heat 1 - NINJA FORTUNE - (Terry Coveney) ante post 100/1
Made the Northern Puppy Derby last year but was hard to win with. A bit of maturity and a return to his home track has seen him strike gold a few times and a smart recent A1 victory in 27.94 and a trial stakes win in 29.53 has many people saying he's a lively outsider to go a long way, good early pace and stays well. Has King Eden to beat in his heat and also a hazard in trap 1 but should qualify comfortably for the second round.
Heat 6 - HONEST ROBBER - (A Taylor, C Taylor, P Taylor and V Woodward) 750/1
Good class open race runner who we've yet to see the best of yet, a few niggles this year has held him back but very capable on his day and a real battler. Has drawn a toughish heat with strong Irish fancy Whoops Jack and Scottish raider Greenwell Jean while outside him in trap 3 local Brave Venture will be moving to the rails so will have to use all his skills to qualify.
Heat 11 - DROOPYS WILBURY - (Robert Brinkley) 125/1
Interesting runner for us. 2016 Harolds Cross Puppy Derby winner won heat last year when a big contender for outright honours but eliminated at second round and subsequently was retired to stud shortly afterwards, brought back and is a recent edition to our kennel. Qualifying trials were satisfactory and then received a real boost with an authoritative victory in an A3 last Saturday. Stays strong and can only improve if getting some luck, would be a major story if he was to come back and make the final! Tricky draw in his heat in trap 4 but realistically only real danger is trap 6 Jaytee Jaguar
Heat 12 - BRUISERS BULLET - (Bruiser Boyz) 20/1
Reached the semi final as a youngster last year and was ultra impressive on finals night in the invitation recording a sensational 28.67, finished 2017 with a bang winning the Coral Olympic and widely regarded as one of the fastest dogs in training. Had a few questions to answer after four defeats this year but returned with a bang in a trial stake 10 days ago beating the classy Murrys Act by 8 lengths in a blistering 28.77 and now is ready to strut his stuff again this year. Without doubt the best chance we have had of lifting the trophy for the third time in a long time. Tough enough heat on Friday but all the dangers are on his outside and should get to the rails from trap 3 and boss the race.
Heat 12 - SALEEN ASH - (Mike Davis) 200/1
Came over last year and was entered in the Derby making the second round but much improved since though now better known for his sharp six bend victories that include the Peter Bussey Memorial race in February. Did us proud in the Trainers Championship meeting getting us a good 7 points and was only beaten 2 lengths by King Elvis, deserves his chance and well capable of getting to the latter stages and not the worst each way bet you could ever make. Finds himself pitched in with Bruisers Bullet in his heat with two fast dogs either side of him but he should still qualify.
Heat 14 - BOYLESPORTS DUKE - (Massachusetts Syndicate) - 150/1
Found a new lease of life since switching to our kennels last year and has been prolific both over four and six bends and was runner up in the top grade track championship a few weeks ago. In the twilight of his career and seems to have lost a real cutting edge last couple of races but hopefully can bounce back to his best, being a wide runner gives him a decent chance of great draws and could easily go a few rounds. Looks to have drawn a really soft heat and should get his campaign off to a good start.
Heat 16 - BRINKLEYS BLAZE - (Robert Brinkley) - 250/1
High class dog last year with sub 30.00 runs at Hove on his card but injury problems have meant a rushed preparation and will have to come forward to qualify. Drawn in a five dog heat with the first three going through but certainly a touch of luck needed to get through, from there who knows he has the class to cut some ice in the event.
Heat 20 - BOMBERS BULLET - (Bruiser Boyz) - 80/1
Has been running well all year in four and sharp six bend races and made the Scottish Derby semi finals and has an excellent 29.21 trial stakes win to his name. Ran superb in a high class Trainers Championship race scoring 7 points when a close up second to Magical Bale, could be the pick of our each way bets as he will be difficult to keep out the frame in any company. His heat looks there for the taking but trap 3 will be a real hazard as it goes straight for the rails but having said that he is so strong he is certain to be powering home.
Heat 25 - BLACK FARREN - (Lionheart Syndicate) - 40/1
Brilliant runner up in the Irish Derby last year for Graham Holland and is now coming into form at the right time. Got no run in the Scottish Derby final but showed us he is a real Derby contender when winning the top division of the Trainers Championship meeting in eye catching fashion beating both Dorotas Wildcat and King Kid, a major player for sure. Drawn a reasonable heat where he faces Scottish Derby winner The Other Reg but whatever his fate he should easily qualify.
Heat 26 - ROUGH STAR - (D Lee) 400/1
A late entry and arrival at the kennel and really not too much form to go on but trialled nicely at Towcester and you never know. Drawn in with Murrys Act who looks the likely hot favourite but nothing special in the rest of the race so maybe a door might open.
So there's my thoughts on our Star Sports Greyhound Derby entries. It will be the start of a glorious five weeks of action at Towcester. As you can see we have a strong team and most certainly we can get three or four to the latter stages if we have that key ingredient, a bit of luck. Bruisers Bullet represents our best chance and we know he's more than capable of landing the big one, Black Farren would complete a brilliant treble of making the Irish, Scottish and English finals if he could get in the elite six, while we have some dogs like Bombers Bullet, Saleen Ash and Boylesports Duke who are strong running types who have a touch of class. Droopys Wilbury, a former high class runner for Pat Buckley, would be an amazing story if he could come out of retirement and make the final while Ninja Fortune is many people's idea of a dark horse as he has great Towcester form. Honest Robber, Brinkleys Blaze and Rough Star come into the event fresh as all have had injury problems but hopefully at least one of them will surprise. With the kennel in such great form bring it on!
A week Wednesday we have the the Charity football match at Aldershot FC against a Nick Brereton (Aegean Racing) side. I'm still short of two or three players and anybody who wants to come is guaranteed at least a decent game as we will have roll on roll off subs. I might have 15 minutes myself though my footballing days have really long since gone but we should raise a nice bit of money for the retireds and anybody is welcome to come and support. At the moment I'm still looking for a kit for the team if anybody can help?
On Wednesday we made a trip to Monmore for the rearranged Lawrence Jones Festival where Brinkleys Twirl showed her class winning a bitches race over 480m by 6 lengths in 28.34.
As said a great night at Hove on Thursday with a treble in the Coral Regency heats with five of our eight entries qualifying.
On Friday we gloriously landed the John Smiths Grand National with Parkers Dynamite to complete a Category 1 double inside 10 days. Over at Romford we just had the one success when Rubys Razzle gained her first success of 2018 winning a 575m in 35.89.
No racing on Friday and on Saturday morning we had a couple of winners with Brinkleys Cash scoring well in 28.87 and Jazz Jake taking an A5 in 28.92.
Just a handful of runners on Saturday night with a great debut from Droopys Wilbury who took an A3 in style winning by over 5 lENgths in 28.26.
On Sunday we followed up with three winners. Airforce Cluxton took a D2 in 15.72 while Goldsmith Slick dead heated in an A5 in a good 28.59 and Shlowdown Sally bounced back to form winning a top grade sprint in 15.41.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - PARKERS DYNAMITE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Of course most eyes are on the Star Sports Greyhound Derby that kicks off on Thursday, Friday and Saturday but we also have a small matter of the Coral Regency semi finals at Hove on Thursday where we have a strong hand. We will also be at Romford Friday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A sensational week again with Parkers Dynamite a 25/1 winner for our ante post backers in the John Smiths Grand National at Central Park on Friday giving us a huge profit for the year. Both Aayamza Breeze and Rubys Rascal are going strong in the Coral Regency with the semi's this Thursday.
Of course what we want is a good Derby portfolio and I'm going to be strong on Bruisers Bullet who is undoubtedly our best chance of going one stage further than last year and making the final on June 2nd. Black Farren's price has shortened considerably over the last couple of weeks but this competition dog has to be supported while I can see Bombers Bullet being hard to knock out and will be our main each way fancy. Ninja Fortune is an improving sort and worth adding while we would be silly not to have a few bob on Droopys Wilbury as it would be a fairytale story coming from retirement to land the big prize.
BRUISERS BULLET - 2.5 pts ew ante post 20/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
BLACK FARREN - 2 pts ew ante post 40/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - Starts Thursday
BOMBERS BULLET - 1.5 pts ew ante post 80/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
DROOPYS WILBURY - 1 pt ew ante post 125/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
NINJA FORTUNE - 0.5 pts ew ante post 100/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
PARKERS DYNAMITE - 1.5 pts ew ante post 25/1 - John Smiths Grand National - Central Park - WON (45 pt profit)
AAYAMZA BREEZE - 2.5 pts ew ante post 8/1 - Coral Regency - Hove - semi finals Thursday
RUBYS RASCAL - 2.5 pts ew ante post 10/1 - Coral Regency - Hove - semi finals Thursday
COTTON PANTS - 5 pts win - Romford - Friday - lost