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We couldn't have asked anymore from Rubys Rascal in the Colossus Bets TV Trophy final at Towcester on Wednesday, he found 7 1/2 lengths on his brave heat effort but it wasn't enough to beat an on song Goldies Hotspur who pulled out all the stops to keep in front of Rascal and give my former Assistant Trainer Patrick Janssens a great victory by 2 3/4 lengths in a flying 55.05 calculated. Apart from a late run from Millwards Smokey it was really a two dog race with red hot favourite Roxholme Magic well beaten and now retired, certainly Rubys Rascal is in the form of his life and the race doesn't seem to have taken anything out of him and he now goes for the Ballregan Bob Memorial race at Hove on Thursday.
As well as the TV Trophy and the British Bred Derby, won well by Liz Mcnair's King Elvis, there was the much talked about Star Sports 'Shootout' over 500m featuring the first three home from last week's Betfred Eclipse final. Dorotas Wildcat took his revenge on Bubbly Bluebird and despite a late effort from Bruisers Bullet there was no catching Kevin Hutton's Wildcat, Bubbly Bluebird acted as a bit of a goalkeeper once Dorotas Wildcat led and by the time Bruisers Bullet had mastered Bubbly Bluebird the race was over and he was beaten just over two lengths in an excellent 28.85 calculated. Bruisers Bullet will now go down to Hove in preparation for the Coral Olympic which promises to be another top class event.
Overall it was another excellent night with a half decent crowd and we did manage a nice winner in the shape of Shlowdown Sally who has been prolific all year long, she beat a good field in a good 15.21. She along with Scolari Sound and Tread Lightly take their chance in the National Sprint at Nottingham starting tonight.
Towcester have shown that they are leading the industry when it comes to big race nights and it was not only Wednesday that was excellent but all the high class finals all year long have been fantastically well run occasions especially the Derby. The likelihood that the industry will lose the Sky coverage in my opinion shouldn't be seen with such pessimism, in my column in the Greyhound Star I talked about how good the Saturday night finals used to be before Sky came along. Sky haven't really treated Greyhound racing with any respect the last few years so who knows maybe there are other opportunities are out there.
The industry are now bracing itself for the New Year and the only certain thing is the uncertainty surrounding both the services providing Greyhound racing. SIS and TRP go head to head and the more I look at it the more I think this can not work, it's been said a million times and I hate to repeat myself but there simply are not enough trainers and greyhounds to cope with the proposed racing schedule. The betting industry can throw fortunes at welfare in an effort to solve what could become a huge problem but basically they are burying their heads in the sand and need to seriously rethink their strategy. Poor prize money and a huge lack of people who actually want to work the hours needed to guarantee our Greyhounds are looked after properly will only end one way, if we get one more 'Seaham' type incident the industry will collapse. As much as I have the utmost respect for Mark Bird at the GBGB he has a tough job bringing our governing board into this new era and again will only have limited resources to use.
Now Towcester in some ways has a different problem altogether. Far be it for me to criticise but their kennel strength is bordering on ridiculous numbers that is fast approaching 400 +. Even with the extra meeting starting in the January there will be a total of around 46 races each week, with the dropping of the popular 8 dog racing that will mean 276 greyhounds will be needed to fill the cards, that obviously means well over 100 dogs will not get a run and that's if they don't do any open racing which will mean less graded races. Yes you need a certain amount over to cover any unforeseen circumstances but all I can see is owners getting frustrated and most of the time the trainer is the first point of call. I will have the added problem with all four meetings being at the weekend of trying to say to staff that the days of trying to give everyone one day off at the weekend could now be impossible especially if we continue to commit to our open race schedule, the racing office have the same problem as well. There will be a slight financial boost but the reality is things are going to get harder and harder. I love this job and being a multiple Champion Trainer is something I'm very proud of, indeed my daughter pointed out that I now have my very own Wikipedia page (I'm now a cool dad and not just an embarrassing one!) and this is mainly a family run operation (myself, Sarah, Daniel, Sid & Linda) and we wouldn't be able to do it without our other loyal staff (Kevin, Justine, Ryan, Keira, Kat, Pete, Mick, Maureen, Ronnie and not forgetting our physio Ron Mills). You can see the whole Imperial Kennels provide not just a job but a way of living for many people, I know financially we will never be well off but it's a way of life. Recently I've heard numerous rumours of our dynasty coming to an end and other silly stuff that has done nothing but upset myself and Sarah but I can assure everyone out there 'Team Wallis' will be here to stay and myself and my staff will do everything in our power to provide a service to our owners that is as good as we can possibly do. The Greyhounds in our kennel are our top priority and if I can't do them the justice they deserve I will be the first to call time on our whole operation.
We covered a great night at Towcester on Wednesday and our only other open racing was back at Romford on Friday. Again it was weird racing with only a couple of hundred people in or just outside the Pavilion restaurant at the first bend but it turned out a decent night with three winners and a second from our four runners. Tread Lightly ran well when runner up in a sprint and Kilcree Diamond scored a debut win in the heats of a 400m Maiden railing well to score comfortably in 24.20. Roswell Romanov's race was reduced to four runners and this may be a touch of luck he needed to bounce back from four defeats over track and trip, he duly obliged by 6 lengths in a good 35.05, his 26th win at the track which is truly amazing. Cotton Pants had to battle hard to gain a victory over 400m but he did winning by 1/2 length in 24.43.
On Tuesday a rare win for Catunda Daisy
who blew S5 rivals away by nine lengths in 42.54. Zammos Bullet took his heat of the Owners Bonus Series winning in 15.62 and Swift Cobra took an A4 in 28.47.
On Saturday morning Energize Honey followed up her win from the week before with another good effort scoring by over 3 lengths in 28.99 while we drew a rare blank on Saturday night with Bombers Bullet best of ours when runner up in a hot A2.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - SHLOWDOWN SALLY
GRADED - CATUNDA DAISY
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight the National Sprint takes centre stage and we have three runners including 2015 winner Scolari Sound. Towcester has the heats of the Mount Cashel Kennel Stakes for bitches tomorrow night and Forest Melanie and Brinkleys Rosie are our two entries.
On Thursday Bruisers Bullet trials at Hove in preparation for the Coral Olympic and as well as trial stakes we have the Ballyregan Memorial race for Rubys Rascal.
On Friday Kilcree Diamond runs in the final of the Friday Night 500 Maiden and on Sunday we hope to have runners at Henlow with the Xmas Midi and Xmas Mini heats taking place.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Frustratingly Bruisers Bullet couldn't get a run at Dorotas Wildcat in the Star Sports 'Shootout' when second and despite running a blinder Rubys Rascal was second in the Colossus TV Trophy final. A good week of action coming up where we should really put Rubys Rascal up to win the Ballyregan Bob Memorial race at Hove though the draw (not known yet) would dictate on stakes.
RUBYS RASCAL - 3 pts win - Ballyregan Bob Memorial Race - Hove - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRUISERS BULLET - 3 pts win - Star Sports Shootout - Towcester - Wednesday - lost
RUBYS RASCAL - 5 pts win - Colossus Bets - TV Trophy - Towcester - Wednesday - lost