Monday 20th January 2014
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Last week's magnificent performance from our team in the Coronation Cup Final at Romford where we not only won but unbelievably managed a 1-2-3-4 capped off a tremendous start to 2014 for the kennel. I can honestly say I don't remember having so much media coverage since we were in the 2012 Greyhound Derby final with Blonde Snapper. With the first 2014 Sky/Bags coverage (which was not in place last year) and not too much else on the open race front and of course having four runners in the final our kennel has been very much the centre of attention for the last couple of weeks and without a doubt going into the final I felt the pressure, in a nice kind of way, as we were really in a no win situation being long odds on to land the first major race of the calendar. I needn't have worried as Reel Trickyone completed a magnificent six weeks adding the Coronation Cup to his Essex Vase and Henlow Cesarewitch trophies to owner Chris Richards' cabinet. Chris also picked up the GWA Greyhound Of The Month award for December to ensure he had a memorable night.
Pic by Steve Nash
The final itself was a great race and one our kennel can savour for a long time as we were only just over a length away from a quadruple dead heat from our quartet. My main pre race concern was that our four stars might come together at the first bend and spoil each other's chances and as well as giving the utmost respect for our other two rivals the betting suggested we were in the driving seat. As the lids opened Aayamzamodel, Reel Trickyone and Hometown Honey all broke well with Jazz Tilly also only 3/4 length behind in the dreaded trap 1 slot and it was a 'close your eyes moment' as they arrived at the first bend together. Something had to give and Jazz Tilly pinned on the rails was foced to check into the middle losing a vital 4 lengths. Aayamzamodel drove the bend well to lead but crucially Reel Trickyone came off the second bend to turn right in her slipstream with Hometown Honey being pushed wide back in third. Both our two rivals Farloe Smurfette and Tambourine Man did each other no favours and were out the race and from our point of view it was a case of which one of the four was going to win. Going down the back straight Aayamzamodel had not shaken off Reel Trickyone and as they approached the 5th bend he loomed large on her outside while Jazz Tilly showed incredible middle pace to pass Hometown Honey for 3rd. Rounding the last two bends it was as if Reel Trickyone said to Aayamzamodel 'move over the champion is coming through!' and he duly passed his kennelmate and set sail for home. That should have been it but a storming finish from Jazz Tilly and Hometown Honey made Reel Trickyone pull out all the stops and at the line he only had 1/2 length to spare over the very unlucky Jazz Tilly with Hometown Honey a head away in 3rd and Aayamzamodel just another 1/2 length away in 4th. I could breathe a sigh of relief as all came home safe and sound and as much as I feel for the connections of the three losers they could not have run any better and I was a very proud man standing on the podium with Reel Trickyone.
It was a nice surprise on the supporting card to see Cornamaddy Jumbo win the hurdle race on his debut. I thought I had pitched him right in the deep end when facing some experienced jumpers including Grand National winner Mash Mad Snowy but our novice showed some terrific pace and jumped like an old pro in winning in a fine 24.48. Thanks has to go to a Rick Holloway for schooling Jumbo and though he has a little bit of age about him we can look forward to a very successful year with him. He now trades as 4/1 joint favourite to win the Springbok next month.
The fantastic victory in the coronation Cup has already seen us shoot to the top of the new Trainer Of The Year standings with over 80 points and as much as the title is not my main focus of attention this year it's still nice to see such a healthy lead. What I most want to achieve is to keep up the incredible strike rate we have had in major finals especially in the last couple of years. I'm determined to make sure it is fun and a joy to be an owner in our kennel and not pressurised and with a reduced strength of around 40-45 greyhounds consisting of about 10-15 pups coming through the grades at Yarmouth and around 25 open racers where competitions are their main goals.
This Sunday we are off to the GBGB Awards bash at Manchester and are thoroughly looking forward to the evening. As well as receiving our Trainer Of The Year award we have three nominees in the various categories, Aayamzabella in the Marathon, Bridge Ruth in the Bitches and most likely our best chance of picking an award Adageo Bob in the British Bred category. His chance was enhanced when his mother Blonde Pearl was voted the Dam Of The Year. Whatever the results it's a great night for the industry where it can celebrate the achievements of the top greyhounds of the year, why certain people think this is a night to be political is beyond me but some do unfortunately.
Apart from the sensational performances of our Coronation Cup stars and Cornamaddy Jumbo at Romford we didn't have too much luck on the supporting card in some very hot races.
On Thursday at Hove the promising Evanta Evita opened her account at the second time of asking in a 515m Maiden. In horrendous conditions with gales and a lashing rain it was no surprise she struggled to get home after showing blistering early pace and in the end hung on to win by a length in 30.13. Evanta Prince nearly made it an Evan Herbert win double when bolting out the traps in a Maiden Sprint but just clipped the rails at the first bend and lost his footing eventually finishing 4th.
Last night at Sittingbourne we got off to a good start as Hillcross Kansas defied odds of 10/1 to win a 480m Maiden by a comfortable 4 1/2 lengths in 29.43 and Adageo Brae also returned to the winner's podium when beating kennelmate Rosealinda by over 3 lengths over 500m in 30.54. No luck in the Bookmakers Maiden Final as both Saffrons Dream (4th) and Ilewin Aggen (5th) found plenty of trouble in running. Darian Star looks in good form and chased home the useful Jolly Bullseye over 480m and was beaten a length in 29.12 with Benkaat Blue back in 4th.
All our six runners ran well with Ille More (3rd) and Ollie Blue (3rd) while Adageo Lad was 2nd in top grade. Hillcross Miami returned to the track to narrowly take an A4 in 28.87 while Toosey Milly won an A2 in 28.77.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
On Wednesday the Partex Marking Systems Prestige heats kick off with three heats and with only the first two through to the final both Blonde Razor and Hometown Honey face some stiff opposition.
We will be at Hove Thursday, Romford Friday and Sittingbourne Sunday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Yes I know! the first four home in the Coronation Cup and we weren't on any! Our recommended bet on Thursday Evanta Evita won at Hove but at the silly odds of 2/5 we won't be giving up work yet!
The Partex Marking Systems Prestige kicks off on Wednesday and despite being very competitive given the form our kennel seems to be in both Blonde Razor and Hometown Honey should be worth an interest. Blonde Razor does have a difficult draw in trap 5 but trialled well over course and distance last week and has been laid out for this event.
BLONDE RAZOR - 5 pts win ante post - Partex Marking Systems Prestige - Hall Green - starts Wednesday
HOMETOWN HONEY - 2 pts e.w ante post - Partex Marking Systems Prestige - starts Wednesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
EVANTA EVITA - 3 pts win - Hove - Thursday - WON 2/5