Monday 10th September 2012
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READ MARK'S BLOG OF THE EXCITING
DERBY BUILD UP CULMINATING IN BLONDE SNAPPER'S FANTASTIC DERBY FINAL WIN
I've spoken to many trainers and owners this week and there is without doubt a great deal of concern being shown about the condition of many tracks and the way they are being prepared for our greyhounds to race on. Trainers at some tracks have reported a higher injury rate than normal, yes it's true that August/September for some reason always seems to see a few more injuries than anyone would like although the reasons for this are yet to be fully investigated. Here is where we have a real problem, John Haynes, who at the moment sits on the Board at the GBGB as our current Practitioner Director for owners, breeders and trainers, is the man who is called out to sort any problems out regarding track conditions but let's ask 'What actually are his qualifications in this area?' and 'why are we not using experienced and proper groundsmen like John Foster (ex Wimbledon) Jeff Sealy (track expert) and trainers who have their own tracks like Nick Savva to oversee any necessary work that needs doing at any particular track?' Having spoken to Charlie Lister a couple of days ago he has at least 65% of his current kennel out of action due to injuries at what he sees as badly prepared tracks. He was dismayed to find out that Mr Haynes' answer to most problems is to 'dig the track up, sometimes twice a week'. No wonder the GTA has given Mr Haynes a vote of no confidence as their current practitioner. If all this wasn't bad enough we then also find out that Mr Haynes gives the contracts to do the work on these tracks to friends of his or to a company called SSS (whatever that stands for) which involves a relative of one of our track promoters! you couldn't make this up if you tried, it all stinks in my opinion!
The condition and preparation of our tracks is only one issue the current GTA Chairman Rick Holloway has been called about by his members this week. Other issues like the prize money budget for 2013, which the GTA has been invited to, are high on his agenda as well as gathering unity amongst fellow trainers who at last are 'growing a pair' - as they say enough is enough. Like I've said on many occasions for years the bookmaking industry has made us all feel like we are only a small part of their portfolio but we really are the 'goose that laid the golden egg' and without the trainers and owners they would not have a product to show. It is, at the moment, all about showing 'live content' so the shops can make millions on the roulette machines and greyhound racing is the key product they rely on to do this and it's time we reminded them about this.
There are a lot of distractions at the moment but I am still totally focussed on winning some more big competitions and to put the Trainers Championship to bed which I think one more Category 1 victory would do. For the majority of the week our kennel looked completely out of form. Last Tuesday at Doncaster veteran Blonde Fletch started slowly and was never a factor in the Yorkshire St Leger final and in the race of the night Jimmy Wright's Derrane Jake just got the better of Blonde Reagan in the 708m. At Yarmouth on Wednesday it was a real blow to see some of our kennel stars bow out of the East Anglian Derby at the first stage but luck wasn't quite with us. Castlebride Dan (no sort of run), Bridge Honcho (never ran track), Lil Risky (slaughtered out the traps with the worst seeding of a dog I have seen in many a year) and Ayamzaman looked all over the winner at the third bend before running into the back of Taylors Sky).
With no winners at Henlow on Thursday we went into Friday's Champion Stakes quarter-finals with no real expectations but Dixies Air provided us with a real lift when demolishing a top class line up including Westmead Maldini by over 8 lengths in a fast 35.42. Admittedly the winning margin flattered a little bit with plenty of trouble in behind but it was a performance of real strength. Our other semi-finalists looked slightly outclassed and Dixies Air faces some stiff opposition in next Wednesday's £10,000 to the winner final in the shape of Be Real (35.43) and Droopys Robles who beat Smiler Jack in 35.40.
A major boost to the kennel is the news that three top class bitches from Ireland are here or on their way to the kennel,.Subway Ruth (Bridge Ruth) winner of the Longford Derby and Irish Cesarewitch has been purchased by Peter Bridges with breeding firmly on his mind. Airforce Diva impressive winner of the valuable Tralee unraced stake earlier in the year and Irish Derby semi-finalist won well on the supporting card at Shelbourne on Saturday night for owner Simon Wooder and is making her way over this week and look out for Munster Trophy (Risky Trophy) a 28.57 winner from Limerick. If there's one big race that has eluded our kennel over the years it is the bitches classic the Oaks and who knows one of these three could give us a serious chance.
As said above Blonde Fletch was out of luck in the Yorkshire St Leger final at Doncaster on Tuesday when only fifth and in supporting races both Blonde Reagan and Carden Twilight were second and Planning ran a good race when third in a puppy race.
Despite our big guns going out the East Anglian Derby at Yarmouth on Wednesday both Darian Creek and Darian Chief ran well to qualify in third and Benkaat Boy put in a solid performance when second.
Aero Joker was best of our runners when third at Henlow on Thursday and Dixies Air was mighty impressive when winning his semi-final of the Champion Stakes at Romford on Friday. Darian Star was best of our three runners at Coventry on Sunday when second.
Just three graded runners on Wednesday and Aero Apache was most impressive winning by 5 lengths in 28.18 and a welcome return to the winner's podium for Steam Machine in an A2 by 1/2 length in 28.19 with Kinda Neat back in fourth.
On Saturday veteran Lil Magic was just touched off in an A2, Wednesdaywhacker won well in an A4 by 6 1/2 lengths in a career best 28.10 while Swift Freeze won by over 8 legths in a fast 27.74 in top grade.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
The East Anglian Derby continues tonight at Yarmouth and all three of our runners Darian Chief , Darian Creek and Benkaat Boy face stiff tasks.
The Coral Champion Stakes final worth £10,000 to the winner on Wednesday at Romford is a cracking final and Dixies Air bids to go one better than he did in the Grand Prix at Sunderland in July. we should have some interest in the supporting card.
The Olympic kicks off at Hove on Thursday and Bridge Honcho will lead our team while we will have runners at Henlow on the same night and Romford on Friday and Coventry on Sunday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A great call with Dixies Air for the Champion Stakes after his superb win in the semi's last Friday and the 25/1 we took looks real value with him now trading at a best price 9/2. Ayamzaman was desperate in the East Anglian Derby first round but bit the dust Darian Creek still survives and could still surprise. Bridge Honcho returns to Hove on Thursday and is worth including in ante-post vouchers to win the Olympic.
BRIDGE HONCHO - 2 pts e.w ante-post - Coral Olympic - Hove - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
AYAMZAMAN - 2 pts e.w ante-post 33/1 - East Anglian Derby - Yarmouth - lost
DARIAN CREEK - 1 pt e.w ante-post 100/1 - East Anglian Derby - Yarmouth - continues tonight
DIXIES AIR - 1.5 pts e.w ante-post 25/1 - Coral Champion Stakes - Romford - final Wednesday