2nd December 2020
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Aayamza Royale was a respectable 3rd in last Thursday's St Leger at Perry Barr. After multiple bumps and crowding she ran a great race to finish like a train and grab 3rd place only beaten just under 2 lengths but sadly was just left with a bit much to do over a trip that isn’t her ideal distance. However, it was a much deserved victory for John Mullins’ Smallmead who stayed on well in great style to land the Classic. We didn’t come away empty handed on the night as Antigua Jet scored well in his first look round the track leading and not giving up his lead winning in 28.62.
For years I’ve called for the Oaks not to be run around late November/December time as the bitches classic deserves better. Rubbish weather is almost guaranteed and again this year it’s causing problems, already on Sunday we were an hour or so into our journey to Swindon with our seven runners when a late decision was made to cancel the meeting as thick fog had submerged the track, it looked like it was set for the night so it was the correct decision. Now I have no problem with this decision but the chances of another weather intervention before we get to the final is highly possible, why not simply say the Oaks will be run in August/September, two months after the Derby has finished and a month before the St Leger starts. I would be more than happy to have it at Swindon but if they haven’t got the sponsor or the slots in place before the Derby starts then tender the event out to other promotors and tracks, I’m confident the event would have plenty of takers.
Our chances of landing a ninth successive Trainer of the Year title all but disappeared on Sunday as current leader Patrick Janssens landed a brilliant 1-2 in the Kent Derby final at Central Park and with Aayamza Royale not winning the St Leger we find ourselves around 150 points behind. Patrick is double handed in tomorrow’s Essex Vase final and no matter what happens we would need a miracle run of results in December to bridge the gap. Of course we can take small comfort in the fact that Patrick used to be my assistant trainer for many years up to 2011 so it’s nice to see the title go to him and his team, indeed without doubt Patrick thoroughly deserves to be crowned Champion Trainer as he has had a fantastic year and his dogs have run awesome when it matters in the big competitions winning a lot more than we or any other kennel has in the process. We would still like to finish the year on a high with at least another big win but really I will be glad when this year is over and we can start afresh again in 2021, it’s certainly not been a vintage year for Imperial Kennels. It seems so long ago that the yearly title went to Chris Allsop back in 2011 who had a year like Patrick’s, we bounced back then and we are hopeful we can next season, we have plenty of talent coming through and will be looking forward to the challenge but for now a big well done to Patrick and his team.
The Coral Olympic starts on Saturday at Hove and we have four representing us including Drumcrow Brent and Hopes Doggy who were both successful in trial stakes on Saturday while Aayamza Royale goes in a TV Trophy trial stake and both Anhid News and Towstar Zelda go in Brighton Belle trial stakes to make it an interesting night. We just have one puppy in the Towcester Puppy Derby starting on Sunday with recent arrival Baby Bullet taking her chance.
It was a shame to learn and see the demise of the Towstar Syndicate at the weekend as head of the syndicate Jonathan Newman steps aside for health reasons. Jonathan had been a pleasure to deal with over the last few years and we had always done well with the Towstar runners having plenty of winners both graded and open racing. The welfare of his syndicate dogs was always most important to Jonathan and his kennel fees were always paid on the dot up to date. We can only wish him well in the future and rest assured the five Towstar syndicate dogs we have in our care will be looked after no matter what happens.
Aayamza Royale was third in the RPGTV St Leger at Perry Barr on Thursday and Antigua Jet won a good supporting open over 480m in 28.62.
We had high hopes for a finalist in the Essex Vase with our five semi finalists, to be fair our best chance Sober Express was desperately unlucky in his semi final as he was blocked and forced to check at the first bend and despite showing great pace and finishing strong he finished only 3rd missing out on that vital second spot by just over a length as old warhorse Swift Tarquin took the race in 35.37. We had three runners in the second semi final but all found trouble on the first bend and effectively put themselves out of the race while in the last semi final Alien Sea once again could count himself unlucky as he was turned sideways around the second bend when seemingly in a good position. Disappointing as it was we did have three winners on the night, Ardera Nidge finally got rid of his maiden tag with a good run to score by a l 1/2 lengths in 24.22, Antigua Romeo won well first time over 575m in a very good 35.10 in a heat of a maiden stayers and the prolific Tiffield Blueboy beat kennelmate Saffrons Xpress by over 4 lengths with both booking their place in a 400m Standard final.
On Saturday at Hove we sent two runners in Olympic trial stakes and both obliged, Drumcrow Brent looked very powerful winning by 4 lengths in 30.05 while Hopes Doggy scored by 2 lengths in 30.03. Sunday’s Oaks first round was cancelled at Swindon due to thick fog.
HENLOW & TOWCESTER REVIEW
On Monday Nippys Spirit won well in an A7 in a fine 28.15 while veteran Deans Hail Mary won well in an A5 in 27.80.
On Tuesday night we had 3 winners, Domino Charm made it 3 wins from 4 races with a career best win in an A7 in a very good 27.94, Garryglass Charm also ran well winning an A10 in a fast 28.18 while youngster Ring The Bells held on to score by a length in 28.39 for the Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club.
On Saturday in form Furious Falcon landed a hat trick when taking an A5 in 27.90, Emily’s Far Froman Angel got back on the winner's podium scoring by over 5 lengths in 27.86 in an A4, Innfield Kaci made it 4 wins from 5 runs at Henlow taking an A3 in 28.05 and to complete a great day Ice Cool Ellis won an A9 in 28.38.
No winners at Towcester on Sunday from our four runners with Testing a good second in an A3.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ANTIGUA JET
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
The postponed Oaks first round is now tomorrow night and we have plenty of action at Romford on Friday including two small finals - Tiffield Blueboy and Saffrons Xpress go in the 400m Standard final and Antigua Romeo in the 575m Maiden Stayers final.
On Saturday the Olympic starts at Hove with 6 first round heats and we have a few runners at Monmore supporting their opens.
On Sunday the Puppy Derby kicks off at Towcester.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
We scrambled our each way side of the Aayamza Royale St Leger recommended bet but I have to say I was gutted Sober Express unluckily didn’t make the final of the Essex Vase after getting such a good price. The Oaks never got underway on Sunday but starts tomorrow so all bets still count for this while I’m quite happy to put Drumcrow Brent up as an ante post bet for the Olympic and around the 33/1 mark warrants maximum appeal, this strong running dog will be well suited to the track and trip.
DRUMCROW BRENT - 2.5 pts each way ante post 33/1 - Coral Olympic - Hove - starts Saturday
AAYAMZA LEXIE - 2.5 pts each way ante post 16/1- Property 192 Oaks - Swindon - starts tomorrow
BLACK EYED MOLLY - 1 pt each way ante post 66/1 - Property 192 Oaks - Swindon - starts tomorrow
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AAYAMZA ROYALE - 2 pts each way ante post 10/1 - RPGTV St Leger - Perry Barr - 3rd 10/1
SOBER EXPRESS - 2 pts each way ante post 16/1 - Essex Vase - Romford - lost