2nd September 2020
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Already we are now into September and slowly we seem to be adapting to a world with Covid and small steps are being taken. Most tracks are going to start allowing owners back into the stadiums and a few have limited tickets for the public, this will help but looking at the way it will be done I still can’t see owners being able to do things like interact with their dogs after the race or podium presentations so I’m not sure how popular this will be. For the tracks it will take plenty of staffing with the limited numbers and financially it probably won’t have an impact on any profits they can make, indeed in some cases it could cost them money. I’ve no doubt the whole industry is now so reliant on the money coming in from bookmakers who pay the bare minimum to show our product in the betting shops and online across the world, it’s a situation that in my opinion leaves our industry hanging on by a thread. We are seeing prize money reductions and other financial restrictions which is not great, the small payment made to open race trainers when they travel is one that I fought for ages to put in place has been stopped at most tracks without even a word from the promoters so now we have a crazy situation where trainers travel long distances to race in the opens which produce more turnover for the bookmakers but if they run against any local trainers they don’t receive a penny but the contract trainers receive their normal bonus payments. These payments are crucial to help run their business, of course the promoters can do this as the owners of the open race dogs are desperate to get runs for their pride and joys and the trainer payments are, understandably, not really their problem. Henlow and Towcester promoter Kevin Boothby continues to buck the trend and pay all trainers who race at his tracks.
This week sees the start of a series of top class competitions at Romford beginning with the Champion Stakes and Puppy Cup. Having won both these events multiple times I must admit we are not really as strong as in previous years. Coronation Cup winner Antigua Rum is on the sidelines until October and we don’t really have dogs like Adageo Bob and Bombers Bullet to name but a few. We do have a few entries and the likes of Ivy Hill Skyhigh and Sober Express are capable of coming forward and if Jaxx Purple can run the track better than she did Monmore, where she showed great pace but was all over the shop, you never know. In the Puppy Cup we see one of our potential new stars of the future in Antigua Bruiser make his debut, his qualifying trials have been good and if he can get through his heat I’m sure he will improve for the run. We didn’t really learn too much from last week's run for our other entry Our Lucky Lee as he was involved in carnage around the first bend and was well beaten, he will need to trap smartly this week in his heat from trap 3.
I know there are plenty of competitions coming up but apart from Romford on Friday and Central Park on Sunday there are hardly any other opens about especially for the strong stayers like Antigua Fire and Aayamza Royale, who both won well last week, it would have been nice to keep them ticking over with a race before the heats of the Cesarewitch start in two weeks' time and getting trials isn’t easy either. Both will trial next Wednesday at Nottingham over 686m along with some of our Intended Derby runners like Hopes Bullet and Antigua Boy who are waiting to have their last qualifying trials. Hopes Bullet improved in a trial on Monday over the 500m recording a nice 30.04 and is one of our leading runners for the Derby starting next month.
At Romford on Friday serious traffic problems caused us to miss our first runner Tiffield Blueboy and winners have been thin on the ground at the Essex track of late so it was nice to grab a couple of winners. Jesses Sister, at last, got round the bend unscathed and won well in 24.03 while we were treated to a last to first win from the exciting Aayamza Royale when stepped up to 8 bends for the first time in a 750m contest, I must admit I thought she looked like she was struggling to land the odds at one stage but a fine burst of pace round the last two bends saw her hit the front and win in 47.57 and she drew away to the pick up suggesting 10 bends should hold no fear.
On Saturday at Monmore in supporting races for the two big finals we had some tough races but overall I thought our runners ran well. Highlight was of course Antigua Fire stepping up in trip again to the sharpish marathon over 835m, after a good break he caught long time leader Affirmed with two bends to go and galloped on to a victory in a fine 51.47. Jaxx Purple was again second but ran well.
On Sunday at Towcester in the BGBFBritish Bred Sprint Final a smash break from Saffrons Xpress got us excited but with pace rushing up from both sides he was clipped from behind at the first bend and took a crashing fall, thankfully he was ok afterwards.
HENLOW AND TOWCESTER
On Tuesday plenty of seconds with the promising Our Lucky Lee scoring on debut in an A4 in 28.10. On Thursday and Saturday we were out of luck but there were good runs from Elms Bee on debut and on Saturday Sligo Lilly and Towstar Winston were both second.
Mixed results at Towcester on Sunday with Towstar Billy also knocked over but we had two winners with veteran Silva Hill scoring well in a D1 in a good 15.99 while Towstar Zelda won well in an A4 in a good 29.89.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ANTIGUA FIRE
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
On Friday we see the start of the Coral Champion Stakes and the Puppy cup at Romford, our only open race action of the week.
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With just the two competitions at Romford I don’t see why we can’t put a promising Antigua Bruiser up for the puppy cup and in my opinion our best idea of a winner in the champion stakes from our kennel would be Ivy Hill Skyhigh who ran well in a hot trial stake last week.
ANTIGUA BRUISER - 2pts each way - Coral Puppy Cup - Romford - Friday
IVY HILL SKYHIGH - 2pts each way - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford - Friday