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Our Derby dream for 2020 ended on Saturday night at Nottingham where our last remaining hope Antigua Boy was eliminated at the quarter finals stage. In truth, his Derby ended after two strides when Boy and Newinn Jacko collided into each other and, in that company, any chance we might have had disappeared. Still it was a decent effort throughout the Derby for Amanda Jeal’s Antigua Boy and let’s hope we are not labelled with one of the best maidens in the country for too long.
Overall, we had a decent weekend starting at Nottingham on Saturday where it was good to see Hopes Bullet land a competitive heat of the Derby Plate, leading all the way to score in 29.84. Hopes Doggy also qualified for the semi finals when third in his heat but Antigua Romeo was eliminated when he found all kinds of trouble.
At Crayford on Saturday night it was a case of after the Lord Mayor's show as Aayamza Lexie won the Gold Collar consolation race in fine style in a fast 33.55 with the actual Gold Collar final going to Patrick Janssens' winning machine Desperado Dan, just over a length slower than Lexie in 33.64. Congratulations to Patrick and also Simon Harms as Droopys Bird won well in the Kent St Leger final recording 45.51. Avastorm was only second to Smallmead (who wasn’t in the Kent St Leger) in the Kent St Leger consolation race but in doing so clocked a fast 45.32, again would have landed the main final, of course its all about getting from the semi final to the final and we can rue missed opportunities. To cap a good night off at Crayford, Towstar Zelda easily landed a bitches 540 and Glassmoss Sis got good rewards for some good efforts of late taking the marathon in good style in 57.30.
On Friday, it was good to see our dogs run so well as I was guesting via Skype from home on RPGTV. The night got off to a cracking start with a much improved performance from Saffrons Xpress who won a 400m standard in 24.23 and my NAP of the night came good as Tiffield Blueboy recorded a hatrick of wins in quite a warm 400 scoring well in 23.99. Some of our other runners ran really well like Elms Bee (second), Alien Sea (third), Milestone Gem (second) and there was an excellent effort from Ivy Hill Skyhigh who chased home Droopys Addition in the Friday Night 500 maiden stayers final.
There was plenty of talk on RPGTV about the lack of open races available to trainers particularly those ones in the north. Although it is understandable in these tough times for promoters to not put themselves out by advertising opens, it's essential for the well-being of the sport to keep the top end of greyhound racing as vibrant as possible. Owners, trainers and breeders have to be able to have aspirations and dreams to make the sport work, sometimes it’s just too easy for promoters and the industry to only have graded racing but in the long run this policy will bring the sport down.
One place, as well as Romford, that continues to put regular open races on is Central Park and whilst it’s sometimes extremely difficult to commit to racing on an early Sunday evening, we have to make an effort if we are to get races for our open race dogs. Last Sunday we only had three runners but it was good to see Antigua Jet bounce back from the disappointment of not making the Henlow Maiden Derby final by winning the top division of the 480m in fine style showing brutal early pace and running the track really well. He beat a very good field by 5 and quarter lengths in 28.81. You should see plenty of our other runners at the Kent track over the next few Sundays.
I’ve said it plenty of times of late and it’s something that I’d never thought I’d live to see and that’s the incredible demand for retired greyhounds! Our branch that we use Hall Green GT run brilliantly by Tracey Parbery is like most of the other branches and seem to have more people who have signed up to have a retired dog than there are actually retired dogs. We have always homed plenty ourselves through friends and family and even that has seen many people we know asking if we have any retired dogs, of course this pandemic which unfortunately is set to last for a good deal longer is the main reason with many millions of people either working from home or sadly enforced to stay at home. As we well know, greyhounds make the most wonderful pets, I just hope when we do eventually get through this pandemic that we don’t see a backlash of people no longer having the time to look after these retired greyhounds.
The social media side of our kennel is gaining popularity week by week and of course we had some wonderful stuff via our website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. My daughter Emily much prefers to use Instagram and if you haven’t visited our page then it’s well worth looking at - @markwallisgreyhounds. You will see some fantastic pictures, videos, stories etc. from the work Emily does.
We have covered all of our open racing above but it was a good week overall where we had 7 winners from 20 open race runners over the weekend.
HENLOW AND TOWCESTER REVIEW
On Monday we had a couple of winners at Henlow with Bobs Queen scoring well in 28.62 and Domino Charm winning an A8 in 28.39. On Tuesday night, we had some tough races but came out with a couple of winners with Elms Bee scoring well in 27.97 and youngster Innfield Kaci making it two from two taking an A5 in 28.13. On Saturday Hardy Rebel made sure we didn’t come home empty handed when he landed a good A2 in a fine 27.54.
On Sunday at Towcester, we chipped in with 2 winners from our 5 runners. Garryglass Royal
may not be one of our superstars but it was great to see him return to the winner's podium after a long lay off in the summer through injury. We saw at Henlow, mainly last year, his will to win and though the 500m at Towcester is as far as he wants these days he clung on to victory in an A6 in 30.73. Towstar Izzy is also starting to click at Towcester and recorded another win in an A5 30.50.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ANTIGUA JET
GRADED - GARRYGLASS ROYAL
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
We have entered plenty of runners at Romford on Friday and Alien Sea will look to score a victory at likely big odds in the Friday Night 500 Stayers Final.
All eyes will be on Nottingham on Saturday and the Greyhound Derby Semi finals take centre stage. We have plenty of interest ourselves on the card with Hopes Bullet and Hopes Doggy in the semi finals of the Derby Plate whilst we also have Antigua Bruiser (puppy comp), Agincourt Xena (British bred comp) and Avastorm (stayers comp). We will be entering a few dogs at Central Park on Sunday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Antigua Boy our last remaining selection and runner for the kennel in the Derby was eliminated on Saturday but we did have reason to cheer for our recommended bets with Hopes Bullet in the Derby Plate as he landed his heat in good style and the 25/1 available could look very pretty if he can qualify in his semi final on Saturday. I have a lot of time for our little British bred Bitch Agincourt Xena and she looks to have an excellent makeup in her heat on Saturday night from trap 1 and, though I think she might need the run, if there are any ante post prices she would be worth a little interest.
AGINCOURT XENA - 1 pt each way ante post - The Westmead Legacy In Memory Of Natalie Savva Trophy - Nottingham - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA BOY - 1 pt each way ante post 125/1 - Greyhound Derby - Nottingham - lost
HOPES BULLET - 2 pts each way ante post 25/1 - Derby Plate - Nottingham - semi finals Saturday