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Monday 16th January 2012



Considering its only the middle of January where generally it's a quiet time in the Greyhound racing world it's astonishing that we have so much news over the last week just gone.

Benkaat Blue
On the racing front Saturday night's Betdaq Premier League organised by GOBATA kicked off at Yarmouth Stadium with the first of four legs and proved to be hugely successful. In the first of five races Benkaat Blue got our team 'Imperial Rock Its' off to the best possible start with a convincing win in the Puppy 462m in a good 27.95. It was a double celebration because Benkaat Blue carried not only our Joker which scored us a maximum 12 points but an added £1000 bonus (£500 to owner and £500 to Trainer) was randomly drawn on this particular race.

Lil Risky slightly stumbled out the traps and had to settle for the runners up position in the sprint and in the first of two Standard races Roookery Pedro was very unlucky when in a good position at the second bend he was dragged back to 4th place where he eventually finished. In an ultra hot six bend race Mountjoy Orion could only finish 3rd and going into the last leg we were two points behind Matt Dartnall's 'Team Desperate', with 'Team North East' a further four points behind and with their warm favourite and Joker to be played it looked their's for the taking but in a dramatic twist and one that makes the whole concept of the Premier League so interesting 'Team North East's Mill Spartacus suffered a bumpy ride and could only finish 4th to the 'Dunham Devils' Joker King Jaffa. At the back of the field both our Bit View Emma and 'Team Desperate's Junket Chick were doing each other no favours and could only finish in 5th and 6th. With the three leading point scorers on the night all at the back some quick working out of the final scores was needed and Matt Dartnall's 'Team Desperate' came out on top with 27 points, ourselves and 'Team North East' both missed out on winning on the night (carrying a £500 winning team prize) by a solitary point on 26 points. With the points accumulated on the night carried forward to the next leg again at Yarmouth Stadium on the 28th January both the 'Dunham Devils' and 'The Mad Hatters' had a great final leg to haul themselves back into contention with 19 points though Seamus Cahill's 'Irish Rovers' had a tough night and will need to pull a few points back in the next leg to get back into contention.

The Betdaq Premier League still has its sceptics and critics but the quality of the racing and camaraderie amongst the trainers and kennel staff is superb and though in its infancy the whole concept looks to be a real winner and a tonic to our industry in this current tough economic climate and I have no doubt that given a chance and with the help of some more funding the Premier League can grow in strength. Financially the prize money on offer to the owners matches that on a Sky nights and in just last night's first leg some £,500 was paid to the Trainers. This welcome boost matches what is paid to Chris Allsopp for winning the Trainers Championship for the whole of 2011!!

We are most definitely spoilt for choice now with Greyhound racing available to watch on television and on Saturday you could watch not only the Premier League on Premier Sports (433) but Racing Post's new dedicated Greyhound channel on 231 where they covered both Newcastle and Crayford. The funds available to cover the Betdaq Premier League are limited but we have to thank SIS for sending a production and camera team to Yarmouth at a reduced cost and to Premier Sports for beaming the pictures to us through their channel that was available on 'free to air'. GOBATA is instrumental in organising all this and Martin White and Chris Page amongst others deserve the highest praise for all their efforts. I've said it before and I will say it again, we are blessed to have the likes of Sky's Jonathan Hobbs, Errol Blythe and Darrell Williams available to cover the Premier Leagu. They are true professionals and their love for the sport shines through. The production, as I said on a limited budget, was much slicker and more professional than the previous show and was most enjoyable to watch with trainer come pundit Jim Reynolds proving to be a natural on television. I will also say watching some of the recent coverage over the last few weeks of Racing Post TV we are also privileged with the likes of Phil Donaldson, Jonathan Kay and Jason Berresford who are all excellent on our screens and we then have Dave Lawrence's superb Sky coverage with frontman Gary Newbon fast becoming a legend on our screens, stalwarts Dave Smith and the larger than life character Gary Wiltshire are popular while the gorgeous and knowledgeable Julie Collier make the show still a must for all greyhound fans, long may it all continue!

Our main kennel news this week as reported in last week's Racing Post is that my Assistant Trainer Patrick Janssens has decided to have a break from the sport to pursue other career opportunities and left the kennel last week. Despite rumours and speculation Patrick felt it was the right time to leave and both myself, Sarah and Linda and all the rest of the staff at Imperial Kennels wish him well for the future. Patrick joined the kennel back in 2002 whilst Linda was at the helm and in the last ten years for both Linda and myself he has been a major part of our success. Thoroughly respected by the whole industry, Patrick's reputation is second to none. We have been, and still will be, great friends and I dearly hope that he at some point returns to the sport as it can ill afford to lose someone of his stature, good luck Patrick.

Despite Patrick's departure we still at Imperial Kennels have aims and ambitions to be the at the top of the sport for many years to come and I am hungrier than ever to not only land some of the top prizes on offer but to win as many Derbys as legend Charlie Lister and I do feel that the sport is turning the corner. The exclusive story from Richard Birch in this week's Racing Post that Paschal Taggart has clear intentions to try and buy Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium is a major boost to the sport. It's common knowledge that Paschal has been after Wimbledon for many years, not gossip or speculation, and he is heading a major consortium to realise his dreams. In my opinion we have to have at least one state of the art stadium in the capital if the sport is to survive in the long term and the redevelopment of Wimbledon would without doubt be a huge success.

Good news may not be that far away concerning the future of Walthamstow Stadium. Next Monday on the 23rd January at Rushcroft School, which is situated at the back of the stadium, there is a public meeting (7pm - 9pm) where people can object and discuss with the council's planning officers the proposals put forward by its current owners L & Q. How they can get away with their plans that are going to lose up to £30 million of tax payers' money is beyond me, especially as Bob Morton has a viable alternative that includes a new state of the art Greyhound Stadium, so it's imperative that anyone who can go down and support SOS (Save Our Stow) in voicing their opinion should do so, it is and it will certainly be most important. If we can get a few hundred if not a few thousand in attendance it will send a clear message to Waltham Forrest Council that the iconic stadium known throughout the world should return to its former glories.

I had the pleasure on Thursday of a meeting at the offices in London of SIS who have recently secured a deal with Shelbourne Park and I believe now have the rights to show pictures from Ireland's top track across the world. Along with a decent sponsorship deal that sees them backing the Champion Stakes this could well have a major bearing on the future of Greyhound racing. SIS, who are not beholding to the big bookmakers, have thrown quite a bit of money at Shelbourne and let me tell you these are astute people and they wouldn't be doing that if they couldn't see a long term future for Greyhound racing. The first noticeable decision was that some of this newly gained money has gone straight back into prize money, this is the key to bringing owners back into the game.

Next Sunday we are thoroughly looking forward to the GBGB Annual Awards bash at the plush Riverbank Plaza hotel in London which has been sold out due to an unprecedented demand, another reason that seems to add to the theory that the sport is seeing an upturn in fortunes. We have some 40 owners and friends coming on the night and celebrations will as usual go long into the early hours of Monday morning. In all we have four dogs nominated for awards Blonde Fletch (Stayers), Jazz Apollo (British Bred), Aero Majestic (Stayers and Newcomer) and Lil Risky (Sprinter) which highlights what a fantastic year we had in 2011 and I would be a happy man if any of these greyhounds lifts an award.

Lil RiskyThe Betdaq Premier League has taken centre stage this week but we also have had a busy week open racing. On Tuesday Lil Risky grabbed our first Sky winner of the year when landing a sprint narrowly at Hall Green and on Friday at Romford we were out of luck in the Coral Coronation Cup semi-finals where all four of our entries failed to make it through to next Wenesday's final live on Sky. It wasn't all bad news on Friday as our win machine Mountjoy Osprey landed our first competition of the year the Category 3 Coral On TV Puppy Final. Again showing a scintillating burst of early and middle pace, he beat the useful Be Real by just over 2 lengths in 24.07 on a slow track to land a six time over course and distance. In the early stages of the Trainers Championship standings we are lying 3rd with 18 points with two trainers above us whom I'm convinced will be challenging for the title this year Liz Mcnair ( massive value at over 50/1 with Hills) and Kelly Findlay. Our price at the moment at 11/10 is so skinny and I would advise any punters to leave well alone. I will of course be targetting all the major Category 1 competitions this year but will be supporting the Betdaq Premier League in a big way, the prize money on offer is far too good to miss out on for both owner and trainer but obviously being invitation races any wins in the Premier League do not count towards the Trainers Championship and as I said earlier the prize money at the end of the Trainers Championship for running all over the country all year long is a pittance for what all trainers deserve!




On Monday Mountjoy Osprey landed his heat of the Coral On TV Puppy 400m with the minimum of fuss at Romford scoring by 5 1/4 lengths in 23.93.

Aldataro Lass
On Tuesday at Hall Green live on Sky in the supporting races for the Prestige final Kinda True ran well when 3rd to Taylors Cruise and Carden Twilight ran a stormer beaten just over a length to the useful pair of Luminous Park and Farley Zach over 645m. Lil Risky got us off the mark with a hard fought victory over Ministry Mayhem getting up by a head in 15.59 (-10). Aldataro Lass made a mess of the start when well fancied over 670m and could only finish 5th.

At Henlow on Thursday we were out of luck with winners but puppy Aero Bellagio improved for his first run the week before but found one too good in Bridge Bandit going down 1/2 length in 28.19 (-30). In a cracking 550m Aero Majestic also went down 1/2 length to Deanridge Rage in 34.07 (-50). Ballintine Molly ran a stormer when 2nd in a 550m beaten 4 lengths in a fast 33.78 (-50) and will be winning soon.

At Romford on Friday as said no luck in the Coronation Cup semi's but a great win for Mountjoy Osprey in the Coral On TV Puppy final.

Benkaat Boy

On Saturday in opens at Yarmouth supporting the Betdaq Premier League Rockburst Fanta was 3rd in the sprint but a quick fire double from in form Benkaat Boy over 462m (28.07) and Aldataro Lass made up for Tuesday's defeat at Hall Green with a last to first victory over 659m.




Only two graded races supporting the Betdaq Premier League. Paradise Riva led in top grade but just had her legs clipped at the first bend and lost a bit of momentum and eventually finished last. In an A2 Swift Chef was always up with the pace and got his head in front where it counts scoring by 1/2 length in 28.57.









Tonight a couple of runners in the 400m Coral On TV Maiden at Romford with Steam Machine and Risky Blue.

We will be back to Romford on Wednesday with some runners in the supporting races of the Coronation Cup that could include Mountjoy Osprey, Aero Majestic, Mountjoy Orion and possibly Lil Risky.

On Thursday we will be at Henlow with a view to putting a few puppies in the Henlow Puppy Derby trial stakes and back to Romford on Friday.




Good to see our first bet of 2012 was landed when Lil Risky took the sprint at Hall Green though we were out of luck later in the week with Rockburst Lenny and Mountjoy Orion. This week we will have plenty of open runners and I would want to see the card before I committed to a bet. For an interest though I think we can have a small interest on Ballintine Molly who will be entered on Wednesday in a 575 Maiden at Romford.

BALLINTINE MOLLY - 2 pts win - Romford - Wednesday



LIL RISKY - 4 pts win - Hall Green - Tuesday - WON 4/5

- 2 pts win - Romford - Friday - lost

- 2 pts win - Yarmouth - Saturday - lost