Monday 24th May 2010
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Our kennel has certainly epitomised this year's William Hill Greyhound Derby which has been a rollercoaster ride. The twists and turns of the event have been incredible and absorbing, none more so than Adageo's brilliant and brave performances throughout each round. 'Delighted' was the word emphasised by last year's winning owners as Kinda Ready produced a stunning victory and 'delighted' is the key word as Adageo stretched every muscle he had to cross the line in third place giving ourselves and his owners Dick and Anne Barfoot a place in this year's premier classic final. Amazing, awesome and fabulous are other words that can describe the feelings thirty seconds after 'Brett' as he is known in the kennel ran his heart out from a poor semi-final draw in trap 4 to snatch that important 3rd qualifying spot right on the line. Toomaline Jack for Dolores Ruth had already set sail for home when Adageo, after an excellent break, was in trouble but Brett' s never give up attitude has been rewarded and we can now look forward to our second consecutive finalist and who knows lightning can strike twice!
I must admit that it has probably taken Brett's achievement in making the final to pick me up from the horrendous injury to our Eye Onthe Storm in the first round. I had to go to Wimbledon for the second batch of first round heats the night after Frankie's injury and, despite the heartfelt well wishes from all the other trainers and kennel hands, to say I didn't want to be there is an understatement. It shouldn't have got to me but it did and in Eye Onthe Storm I felt cheated that he would no longer grace a race track. I say now, even though he was no certainty at Wimbledon, this fella could have added to his three Category 1 victories he had achieved already and gone on to reach that superstar status reserved only for the likes of Westmead Hawk. So thank you to Adageo for the pick me up and a massive thank you to Patrick and Cheryl for their ultimate professionalism and all the rest of my staff for putting the smile back on my face - we will all go down to Wimbledon with our heads held high.
Even after the semi-finals had been run the drama had not finished and I would be lying if I said that I didn't punch the air with delight as 'Big Mac' drew the coveted six box for Adageo in Saturday's eagerly awaited show piece final. The one thing you can say about the five other deserving greyhounds in the final is look at their trainers, wow - Charlie Lister, Dolores Ruth and John McGee have won Derby's before, who would deny Fraser Black a first and what would be an emotional win and to add an international flavour we have a Hungarian trained greyhound in the final for the first time and his trainer Gabor Tenczel can be proud of his Lyreen Mover's scintillating progress in to the final. I would like to wish all the connections the best of luck but a word of warning to all these, we may be a 50/1 shot to win but make no mistake Adageo can do the impossible and land back to back Derby's for Imperial Kennels. I already rate his place in the final as good a training performance by my team as winning the Derby last year. Adageo only a couple of months back was competing in graded company at Harlow but now we are in a Greyhound Derby Final - that is special! The pressure is not on us and like last year we will go to Wimbledon and enjoy the night. We have a bit more up our sleeves and I have every faith in 'Brett' so don't say you haven't been warned, have a fiver or tenner on him so you're not gutted if he wins and you never know that famous Derby lap of honour might be repeated by us exactly a year later!
Support for the return of racing to Walthamstow Stadium is growing. SOS met with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and he has promised to help by looking into L & Q's affairs. A lead story in the Waltham Forest Guardian has highlighted the need to bring the Stadium back and we can help to by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and bombarding them with messages of why we should get Greyhound racing back to the iconic stadium. Don't leave it, do it now! and get everyone you know to do it, it will only take 5 minutes. It looks likely a deal can be struck where by the stadium could serve both purposes with a return of the track for greyhound racing and room on the far side for L & Q's social housing.
Worryingly we again had to settle for two runner up spots in finals this week. Rockburst Mason ran a blinder on Wednesday when collared right on the line in a Monkey Maiden Stayers Final at Harlow while on Thursday Eye Eye Pickle failed to defend his Monmore Stud Book title he won last year by a length after briefly leading at the last two bends before the renewed challenge of Vatican Seamus got the better of him. This has now meant that since we won the Blue Riband at Hall Green with Eye Onthe Storm in early April we have been second in no fewer than eight Category 2 or 3 events, Rockburst Canyon (Romford), Risky Wand (Harlow), Glenagower Champ (Harlow), Bim Bam Boozle (Peterborough), Directors Wit (Romford), Goldies Destiny (Romford) have all found one too good recently. Let's hope this trend reverses starting this week as tonight Bim Bam Boozle and Directors Spur face difficult trap draws in 3 and 5 in the Caffreys Puppy Trophy Final at Nottingham. On Wednesday Blonde Banjo runs in a Monkey Maiden Standard Final at Harlow, on Friday Catunda Mae and Bell Tornado line up in the Pete Hunt Memorial Stakes Final at Mildenhall while what better time to go one better than at Wimbledon in the William HIll Greyhound Derby Final with Adageo! It would be nice if this was to follow up a Champion Hurdle win for Rockburst Mason.
One of the best puppy competitions The Gymcrack gets underway on Wednesday at Hall Green. Go Commando is our sole winner to date when he won the event in 2005 and last year Eye Onthe Storm was third behind Droopys Bogart. This year we have seven entries all of whom look to have big futures. Blonde Fletch, Blonde Snapper, Blonde Gunner, Lil Rebel, Destroy The Camp, Kinda Close and Mountjoy Rock have all gone well in trials but the big problem is that they all lack a bit of experience, between them all they have only had about 20 races but I certainly think we will be represented in the live on Sky final in a couple of weeks.
On Monday in the heats of the Caffreys Puppy Trophy Directors Spur caught kennel mate Bim Bam Boozle to win by a 1 1/4 lENgths in a moderate and puzzling time of 29.89 (+40) some 80 spots slower than the other heats. On Tuesday the quarter-finals of the Derby took centre stage where unfortunately Eye Onthe Tempo's good run came to an end when he was 5th in his heat behind Westmead Scolari. Adageo made it through to the semi-finals with a strong finish to grab 3rd place behind the flying Toomaline Jack. In other Sky races at Wimbledon Directors Wit ran well when 3rd to Officer Donagh in the sprint while Join The Maids chased home Taylors Riviera in the marathon. On Wednesday at Harlow Risky Smasher added to his Maiden win when taking Div 2 of the Standard scoring by over 5 lengths in 26.31. Blonde Banjo won a messy heat of the Monkey Maiden Standard in 26.79 while Rockburst Mason was just caught on the line in the Monkey Maiden Stayers Final going down by a head in 37.61. A disappointing night at Monmore on Thursday with Eye Eye Pickle's defeat in the Stud Book Trophy though he did run well but heavy defeats for our other runners Corrig Vieri, Directors Ruler and Foulden Vieri. At Henlow Droopys Elbow faced a hard task when well beaten by Ten Large Down and youngster Blonde Gunner ran well when 2nd in the Maiden Puppy open.
At Mildenhall on Friday Catunda Mae beat kennelmate Bell Tornado by 4 3/4 lengths in 34.59 (-25) in the heats of the Peter Hunt Memorial Trophy. A busy day on Saturday with a few runners at Monmore where pups Lil Rebel and Destroy The Camp both found a lot of trouble when well beaten in their races but Kinda Close lost her maiden tag when scoring by over 4 lengths in 29.02 (-40). At Wimbledon the night didn't start too well with both Jogadusc Ace and Kinda Easy eliminated from the Derby Plate.
In the William Hill Derby semi-final no one expected Adageo to qualify especially from a tough trap 4 but a good break seemed to get him in a good position but he was forced to check up at the first bend. Finding himself in 5th position down the back straight it seemed he had a mountain to climb but he swept round the last two bends and got up for third right on the line to qualify for next week's big final. In the heats of the Champion Hurdle Rockburst Mason battled hard for a deserving victory in 29.91 holding on by 1/2 length.
On Sunday the charity day at Harlow with a full open card unfortunately didn't produce a winner for us with Chapelane Harry, Ayamzagirl and Risky Smasher all coming second best of the runners on an incredibility hot day.
Rockburst Eva opened her account in good style on Wednesday scoring by over 2 lengths in 26.53 calc while on Saturday from a few runners Sweep Clean got on the scoresheet again winning by 1 3/4 lengths in 26.50 (+20).
Siesta Smudge ran much better than Wednesday winning well in a good 26.11 (+20).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACE - ADAGEO
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight Directors Spur and Bim Bam Boozle take their chance in the Caffreys Puppy Trophy final while Blonde Banjo also looks to add some silverware to the cabinet in the Monkey Maiden final at Harlow on Wednesday. On Friday Catunda Mae and Bell Tornado should go close in the Pete Hunt Memorial Trophy final at Mildenhall.
Opens are yet to be decided for the rest of the week but obviously the biggest race of the year the William Hill Greyhound Derby Final sees Imperial Kennels have a second consecutive finalist in Adageo and we will look forward to the week and who knows what might happen. Rockburst Mason also runs in the Champion Hurdle Final and we should have a couple of other runners as well.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
It has to be said it seems like we could stop a train at rhe moment with all of last week's recommended bets biting the dust. On a recovery mission where can we look? Well I think the Gymcrack on Wednesday - we have some talented if somewhat green pups that are unexposed. It's hard to pick just one but forced to do so I would pick Blonde Snapper who has impressed me so far. Though having had only one race Snapper trialled well last week and is worth a small interest on him.
Now we have to say I nearly put Adageo up as an outside bet for the Derby for the readers at the start of the event but we didn't. He now trades at 50/1 for the final and I believe everyone has to have a little wager on this fella or they will be gutted if he wins.
BLONDE SNAPPER - 1 pt e.w ante-post - Gymcrack - Hall Green - Wednesday
ADAGEO - 0.5 pts e.w - Greyhound Derby Final - Wimbledon - Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
EYE EYE PICKLE - 3 pts win - Monmore - Thursday - lost
BELL TORNADO - 2 pts win - Mildenhall - Friday - lost
LIL REBEL - 1 pt win - Monmore - Saturday - lost
DESTROY THE CAMP - 1 pt win - Saturday - lost