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We will just be brief today with Christmas almost upon us. Our 2017 could end on a real high if Bruisers Bullet
can land the final of the Coral Olympic at Hove on Thursday, the last Category 1 of 2017. One thing for sure since his return from injury he hadn't had an easy race. His first two races last month were tough heats and draws in the Eclipse and he ended up qualifying and finishing 3rd in the final, his next race he was runner up in the fantastic shootout and then after a setback in his pre competition preparation he somehow managed to qualify from an impossible position and then in a semi final that would grace any major four bend final he was superb when giving a start and a beating to the favourite King Turbo in a fastest 29.63. It's amazing to think this was his first victory since Derby final night in July but hopefully from trap 3 he can have a great chance to land a decent competition that would be most deserving.
On and off the track we had an eventful week for sure. In our open racing Bruisers win on Thursday at Hove was complemented by a win for Roswell Romanov in the Category 3 Xmas Mid Final at Henlow the same night. Romanov, who has had an excellent year with 19 open race wins from 32 races, simply destroyed his opposition to win by 7 lengths in a flying 33.00. This was followed by a couple of winners at Romford on Friday including a superb win for our puppy Kilcree Diamond in the Friday Night 500 Standard final where he beat some high class older rivals in a brilliant 23.72. Zammos Bullet also scored well in 24.16
At Towcester on Tuesday we saw a debut win for Brinkleys Rebel in a good 28.53 while on the extra Friday meeting there was a double in the last two races with the prolific Swift Windmill (28.53) and the lovely young bitch Ninja Penny (28.68) winning well. Not such a good day on Saturday with Saffrons Tina and Calco Swift coming closest in the morning when second and in the evening meeting Union Pride
winning superbly in an S3 in a very good 41.83. However the meeting, and the week to be honest, was marred by the loss of Razldazl Valiant on the track after a freak accident. The incident was very distressing for my staff who were on duty and especially for his connections who watched on the live streaming. He was a beautiful dog and I'm so upset by the loss, our first on a track in the UK for over 3 years and our first in over several thousand runners.
Off the track the battle in the new era of Greyhound racing cranked up a notch when Ladbrokes announced that they would be increasing prize money for all 'one off' opens at Monmore and Crayford to a minimum of £250 to the winner and £50 also runs as well as paying an 'away' fee of £15 per runner bonus to travelling open race trainers to end an anomaly where home trainers received a trainers' bonus on a par with their graded bonus but open race trainers didn't receive anything. After months, no years, of myself, along with fellow trainer Pat Rosney and the Greyhound Star's editor Floyd Amphlett pleading with promoters that this was not right Ladbrokes have stepped up to the mark, recent GBGB Trainers Rep Pete Harnden was instrumental in securing this deal with Ladbrokes. My call to the Racing Post and on social media through Twitter that our kennel would not, in 2018, be entering any 'one off' opens that didn't meet this same criteria set out by Ladbrokes has produced a huge reaction across every sphere of our media, some positive, some outrageously negative with personal gripes aimed at me. I will say this only once, it's all about setting high standards. We at Imperial Kennels set very high standards of welfare and care to our Greyhounds and put an enormous amount of time and effort into preparing our runners and we travel the length and breadth of the UK to try and achieve the best possible results and all this costs ourselves and our owners a huge amount of money. I expect higher standards in return from promoters etc and find it no longer acceptable to do this for rewards that do not reflect the sacrifice we make, it's as simple as that. Thankfully Henlow and Central Park reacted straight away and Corals also followed suit in announcing that they would also be setting these standards. Whether other tracks across the country follow suit we will have to wait and see but unless we are entering competitions (providing I see that the levels of money for these are acceptable) we will not be entering any of our runners in 'one offs' at tracks who don't accept these new levels. It would have been nice to see some fellow professional trainers come out and support this initiative but typically they haven't which is very disappointing especially as they are now going to benefit.
Our popular 5 To Follow competition has one week left to run and can 'Kaan4' hold on ? With this week's results to come and only meetings at Towcester (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday x 2) and Hove (Thursday) & Romford (Friday) there is a lot that could change!
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - BRUISERS BULLET
GRADED - UNION PRIDE
Next week we will have another Newsletter to cap off the last week's events but also by a week Monday or Tuesday we will have our full in depth Review of 2018 with our Website Awards which many readers look forward to.
That just leaves myself and all our team at Imperial Kennels to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas