26th January 2016
(Opens to a third party website)
Having just arrived back from the Awards weekend apologies for being brief this week. Firstly, what a fantastic occasion the annual GBGB Awards night was, the Lancaster London again played host to the ceremony and over 450 guests gathered to celebrate some fantastic achievements from those within our industry. There will always be contentious decisions on not only the nominations but the award winners but I felt this year the greyhound accolades generally went how I expected. In my mind there was no doubt Swift Hoffman would win the Standard Distance award and that crucially meant his biggest rival for the Greyhound of the Year award Rio Quattro was out of the reckoning as you have to win your category to be up for the main award and so deservedly Swift Hoffman was crowned Greyhound of the Year and his trainer Pat Rosney was clearly emotional when he was on the stage, this award is one of the highlights of any owner or trainer's time in the sport.
Domino Storm, our Oaks heroine, unanimously took the 'Bitch of the Year' category and her delighted owner Kieron King and his family nervously took to the stage with myself and our staff for the presentation. Certainly no dispute there and a real thrill for the first time owners, but Adageo Bob just missed out to Eden The Kid in the 'Best British Bred' category which was a shade disappointing. I genuinely felt he'd done more than enough over the course of the year to win this but fair play to Eden The Kid and really overall it was a strong category highlighting the talent coming from our small but select British breeders.
Great news and a massive amount of compensation was the news filtering in during the evening that Adageo Bob was most definitely the 'people's champion' as he had won the RPGTV Greyhound of the Year award voted by the viewers of the now firmly established industry show.
It was an honour to pick up my record equalling 7th 'Trainer of the Year' award and the ovation I received was truly awe inspiring. I was proud to have my wife Sarah and my staff present and some 50 owners and friends present to celebrate another stunning year at Imperial Kennels. It's without doubt a tough job staying at the top but a record eight title will be the best moment in my time training greyhounds, could that be this year? Let's hope so!
There was a rousing reception for two awards which was most deserving as the chief industry photographer Steve Nash collected his 'Service To The Industry' award, a very popular decision as was the 'Life Time Achievement' award to the genial northern trainer Harry Crapper, one of the true gents of professional trainers that has graced our sport. Our very own Sid Huett was one of three runners up in the 'Kennelhand of the Year' award won by Gemma Byford of Norah McEllistrim's and Towcester had huge numbers on stage led by Lord Hesketh and Kevin Ackerman as they collected the Bags Track Championship Trophy.
Myself and Sarah made a weekend of the event stopping at the hotel which was a real pleasure as we took in a night out on Saturday in the West End and a Regents Street shopping trip on Sunday afternoon. The positives for me were the genuine warmth of all those in our industry present, the magnificent presentation from all those involved in making it happen and the record amount collected for the RGT charity, all my guests thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The negatives were again the ridiculous anti's who turned up outside to bomb abuse at all of us, wow! they are so ill informed and completely clueless to know what really happens in our industry, I doubt whether many of them have the brains to even be able to look after a pet properly as they clearly look like they can't look after themselves! Only other negatives are the usual gripes of parking and drink prices which seem way too expensive but overall a superb occasion.
In other kennel news we have had a busy week with the new Tuesday night Towcester meeting covered live on RPGTV. On a bitterly cold night we had five winners which was great. On Friday the Prestige at Hall Green got under way but defending champ Billys Bullet bowed out of he event when only 3rd in his heat. It was disappointing as he tried his hardest to qualify on only his third race back from injury but the draw in trap 4 was ultimately his downfall. On a positive note Ferryforth Fran, such a likeable dog, swept round the outside to win the heat and has been rewarded with a nice trap 6 slot though it is very warm final covered live on Sky Sports. Talking of injuries it was great to see Evanta Fantasy bounce back to win a sprint open at Romford on Friday her first run for over three months.
The Ladbrokes Golden Jacket is just around the corner and we are looking at up to eight entries with the Champion Stakes winner Patchys Kerry leading the way. She warmed up with a blistering 33.30 trial over 540m and will be tried over the 714m trip on Saturday in the last batch of trial stakes at Crayford after another 540m trial today (Tuesday). I'm going over to Clonmel this weekend for the coursing festival and to meet many of my Irish friends and breeders with a view to looking at some future stock.
On Tuesday at Towcester Rubys Rascal produced a great run when surprisingly leading up in the Towcester Racecourse Puppy heat kicking on to score impressively by over 6 lengths in 28.30 calc. Famias Hope ran well to also qualify when second in the last heat. In the Towcester Racecard Standard heats we had a nice double courtesy of Blue Moment (28.40) and Roswell Iceman (28.15) for an excellent night for the kennel.
On Friday as said Ferryforth Fran used a decent draw and make up to take the Prestige heat in the dying strides at Hall Green with Billys Bullet an unlucky 3rd. Over at Romford Evanta Fantasy returned to win a sprint in fine style in 13.62 though there wasn't much luck for the rest of our runners. Parkers Poison just couldn't hold her pitch to the first bend in the Maiden Stayers Final and was subsequently shuffled back to last before a whirlwind finish from her to nick second spot. The rest of the night didn't go to plan though Blonde Razor was a good second in the 575m
As well as our open winners on Tuesday there was an excellent win from the 'Scurlogue Champ' of the graded greyhound world Aero Harrison who defied a two grade hike to land an S1 in great style in 39.99. Experto Crede ran his best race to date leading all the way to win by over 5 lengths in 28.43.
On Friday Mass Megan and Airforce Cluxton were both second but Giveabitback Sue scored again in a fine 28.63. On Saturday again we had a few 2nds in Fivestar Calvin, Vanfrenchie and Nimrod Son whilst there was a good debut win for Keeperhill Rage in a P7 in 29.07 and Airforce Karla in a D2 in 15.49.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
on Tuesday the Towcester RPGTV meeting features two open race finals. the Puppy Final see's Rubys Rascal and Famias Hope do battle while the Standard Final has Roswell Iceman in a tough draw in trap 5 and Blue Moment in trap 6.
The Prestige Final at Hall Green is the feature race on a Sky card and Ferryforth Fran will make a bold bid in a very hot race. Four other runners including a return for Billys Bullet over 670m and Calco Flyer bidding to follow up his last Sky win at Romford, Garryglass Pixie should go well over 642m and don't discount veteran Ilewin Allot in a sprint.
We will be at Romford on Friday and on Saturday trial stakes for the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket will be interesting with plenty of kennel interest.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Billys Bullet was very unlucky not to be sitting in the Prestige Final at Hall Green on Wednesday. The best bet for me might well be Garryglas Pixie who was unlucky not to be accepted for the event after a decent trial, she could gain compensation here.
GARRYGLASS PIXIE - 3 pts win - Hall Green - Wednesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BILLYS BULLET - 2 pts e.w ante post 10/1 - Prestige - Hall Green - lost