Monday 25th June 2012
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READ MARK'S BLOG OF THE EXCITING
DERBY BUILD UP CULMINATING IN BLONDE SNAPPER'S FANTASTIC DERBY FINAL WIN
Our main news from the kennel this week is that two of our superstars from the last couple of years, namely Blonde Snapper and Ayamzagirl, have been retired. Both in their different ways have given us and their owners and the racing public a huge amount of fun and in the process
been at the forefront of our kennel's massive success in recent years.
Of course Blonde Snapper's retirement is the main talking point as it was only four weeks ago that he won the ultimate prize in our sport when landing the William Hill Greyhound Derby title in splendid fashion. Having been invited to his owner Mark Currell's surprise 50th birthday party on Saturday, arranged by his wife Kim and their two sons Jay and Luke; it seems like it still hasn't quite sunk in yet. The pleasure Blonde Snapper has brought to Mark is clear to see as we all relived that famous night at Plough Lane and I know what a heartbreaking decision it was to call time on his racing career but most probabaly the right decision. As for the future for Snapper he will in a couple of weeks' time hopefully embark on a successful stud career where his early pace and strength as well as a tremendous will to win can be passed on to his offspring. Details will be announced shortly about his stud duties.
It all seems a long time ago when on June 7th 2010 Blonde Snapper made a winning debut in a Romford Maiden over 400m beating Bubbly Cruiser by 1 length in a good 24.05 at starting odds of 4/1! A great debut but who could have expected that this was the start of a brilliant career. We took him from this race and threw him straight in the deep end as he then took his chance in the Gymcrack at Hall Green. A tough ask as the Gymcrack then was still seen as one of the best puppy competitions of the year. After winning his heat he then recorded a fabulous 28.25 when landing the semi-final and then ran with real credit when finishing runner up to the more experienced and classy Blue Artisan in the final. He then made both the finals of the Sunderland Puppy Plate and Wimbledon's Puppy Derby sponsored by William Hill where he was twice third to Rayvin Giovanni and a decision was made to finish his puppy career with a crack at the Harolds Cross Irish Puppy Derby. After a brilliant trial at the track sadly he came off lame with a fractured wrst and his career hung in the balance.
Amazingly, after some superb physio work, some seven months later Blonde Snapper returned to the track and recorded some scintillating trial times at Romford and Wimbledon and though still coming off a bit sore he returned to action in the 2011 Trainers Championship meeting where he ran an eye catching second to Bandicoot Tipoki and all roads led to a crack at the 2011 William Hill Derby. Backed down to almost ante-post favourite the unthinkable happened and he was eliminated at the first round stage in a five dog race where the first four qualified. To say we were gutted is an understatement and worse still a couple of weeks later, after an incredible 28.32 trial back at Wimbledon, he again came off lame with his troublesome wrist blown up like a balloon. It looked like his short career might be prematurely ended but again after some sterling work by us and our physio Ron Mills we were able to get him to Sunderland two months later to take his chance in the William Hill Classic. Brilliantly winning the heat and semi-final Blonde Snapper finally got the win he so richly deserved when smashing the track record in the final beating Lampard by a length in a flying 26.59 landing Mark Currell a famous Classic/Grand Prix double as Blonde Fletch also took the honours to make it such a memorable night.
It still wasn't plain sailing for the rest of the year as Blonde Snapper was 5th in the Select Stakes at Nottingham where probabaly the 500m was too stiff for him and maybe the same when he was next eliminated in the semi-final of the Kent Derby at Sittingbourne but he
returned to form with a brilliant second in the £20,000 to the winner Henlow Derby after one of the races of the year with the then Derby Champion Taylors Sky. A mistake at the traps cost him dear when down the field in a Sky open at Belle Vue at the start of November where he again came off sore meant that he would now have three months off over the winter which looked like it did the world of good. Returning earlier this year in good form Mark Currell and I decided to campaign him more vigorously, a decision that proved to be the right one as he
straight away won a heats and final of the Coral On TV Standard at Romford. Although perhaps not quite ready for a stiff 480m Snapper just had to be part of our Trainers Championship team at Perry Barr and though he was 5th behind Taylors Sky he ran well.
A few people were surprised we then entered him in the Golden Sprint at Romford but qualifying easily for the final again we had made a good move. On the night it looked as if most people didn't think he could win and he drifted out to 3/1 and when he was only 5th going into the first bend it seemed they were right but Snapper ran an incredible first two bends
and turned right on the heels of the early leader Fancy Socks who had beaten him in the semi's. As I've always said our fella is a dog for the big occasion and he simply blew his rival away storming home to win his second Category 1 event by 1 1/2 lengths in 23.99.
Just one week later Blonde Snapper lined up in his second William Hill Greyhound Derby and this time quotes of 80/1 loooked outragous given the current form he was in. A first round win in 28.69 was followed by comfortable qualification from rounds 2 and 3. In the quarter-final a
few critics were less impressed when easily overtaken after leading by Droopys Jet going down by 1 1/2 lengths in 28.51. Again many people thought that the gruelling third run inside a week would not be in Blonde Snapper's favour but Snapper, trained to perfection by my team, was
a revelation and went past early leader Droopys Loner at the 4th bend and gamely held off his former nemesis Taylors Sky to win by a short head in 28.51 - his fastest run in the event to date. The final has now been well documented and his famous and brilliant Derby win, where again a lot of people had written him off, is a fitting way to remeber the superb career of Blonde Snapper. In all he ran only 39 times in the highest class winning 20 times. He amassed an incredible £167,765 in prize money to be one of the all time highest earners in the history of the sport. I had always had a soft spot for Snapper, a beautiful and happy greyhound with a great temperament and will forever be thankful to him for making many people's lives a lot happier including mine. Thank you Blonde Snapper!
2010 - The Newton Abbott Racecourse Gymcrack Final - Hall Green - RUNNER UP
2010 - William Hill.com Puppy Plate Final - Sunderland - THIRD
2010 - William Hill.com Puppy Derby Fnal - Wimbledon - THIRD
2011 - WILLIAMHILL.COM CLASSIC FINAL - SUNDERLAND - WINNER - £25,000 (TR 26.59)
2011 - Primus Telecom Derby Final - Henlow - RUNNER UP
2012 - Coral On TV Trophy Final - Romford - WINNER £750
2012 - THE MILLENIUM STAND BOOKMAKERS GOLDEN SPRINT FINAL - ROMFORD -
2012 - WILLIAMHILL.COM GREYHOUND DERBY FINAL - WIMBLEDON - WINNER -
Ayamzagirl was due to compete in a Marathon at Oxford on Sky last Tuesday but an injury (inflamed superficial tendon) kept her off and now she has been retired and will shortly be off to the breeding paddocks. An interesting career for this enigmatic character is certainly vastly different to Blonde Snapper's but her highlight was on the same night as Snapper's Derby triumph when 'Bella' landed the prestigous Dorando Marathon at Wimbledon.
Racing 51 times in this country she won 14 races including the famous triple dead heat at Romford on 19th January 2011 which sparked so much National media attention. She was Sky's top winning greyhound in 2011 with six wins on five different tracks for her owners Mitch Brennen and Nigel Smith and the Ayamzaboys Syndicate and gave the racing public plenty to talk about with her quirky performances. Indeed in one race at Romford we were all convinced she stuck her tongue out at one rival as she passed them on the run in! Love her or hate her she will be sadly missed on the track by us all at the kennel but I'm sure we have not heard the last of her!
Back to this week's action and on Saturday the William Hill Festival at Sunderland begins with the heats of the Classic over 450m and the Grand Prix over 640m kicking off the bonanza of racing. Defending champon Blonde Fletch will head our Grand Prix team and will be joined by last week's Monmore Summer Stayers third Ballintine Molly as well as Dixies Air, Jazz Apollo and Swift Reagan while Lil RIsky, Ayamzaman, Castlebride Dan and Aero Prince will attempt to win our third WIlliam Hill CLassic title in four years after Jogadusc Ace and Blonde Snapper's
Rick Holloway has put himself forward for the GTA Chairperson position that closes for nominations tomorrow. I have seconded his nomination but one wonders whether any other trainer will put themselves forward. Talking to many other trainers over the last few weeks they would all seem to support Rick in this crucial role as we try and get some proper representation at the highest level and I'm confident that Rick will do an excellent job for our profession. If anyone does decide to stand against Rick, and good luck if they do, then I urge every Professional Trainer not to waste their vote. To me if you don't vote for who you want to represent you then don't start complaining about the sport and any personal gripes afterwards.
I was sad to hear a couple of days ago of the recent death of Mick Body after a long illness. Mick, a well known greyhound supporter, supplied our bedding for well over 15 years and followed the dogs from our kennel with great interest. He loved to chat to Linda and myself when he delivered the bedding about the sport and regularly sponsored a race or two at Henlow over the years. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Rose and Mick's family. Rose did tell me that shortly before he passed away Mick was so pleased to learn that Blonde Snapper had won this year's Derby for our kennel which did bring a tear to my eye, RIP Mick.
Our popular 5 To Follow competition is now available to take entries and you only have just over a week to get your teams in. It's FREE TO ENTER and great fun following your teams' progress right up to the end of the year and we have some fabulous prizes on offer for the first three home.
ENTRIES MUST BE IN BY 30th JUNE FOR THE START OF THE COMPETITION ON 1st JULY.
Please get studying and tell all your friends to have a go, it would be nice to get over 300 entries if we can, thank you.
At Monmore on Monday only Ballintine Molly qualified for Friday's Ladbrokes Summer Stayers final when second in her semi-final.
On Tuesday at Oxford live on Sky Ayamzaman was slightly disappointing when a beaten odds on shot in the British Bred race but Lil Risky put things back on track with a good win in the sprint in a fine 15.93. Blonde Fletch took a 640m leading off the 5th bend for a confidence boosting win before he travels to Sunderland.
On Thursday at Coventry Cuil Condor put in an excellent debut trial when recording 15.90 in a sprint while Bridge Honcho went well over 4 bends winning a trial by over 3 lengths in 29.53. Aero Prince our only runner took his heat of the Sprint competition in good style in a good
At Monmore on Friday Ballintine Molly was a well beaten third in the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic won by Mark My Word.
At Romford on Friday Confident Ramona ran well when second in the bitches race but Aero Joker just failed to justify her odds on price after a missed break from the notoriously bad 1 box.
No luck at Coventry on Saturday in the Maiden competition.
On Wednesday it was good to see Bit View Emma back on the winner's podium when she took an A1 in style in a good 27.90 while Risky Lass doubled up when winning again in 28.56
On Saturday not too much with Roberts Dancer and Swift Lucozade both second and Lil Magic winning an A3 first time out of season in 28.38.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight Steam Machine and Fridays Reason run in the Coral On TV Maiden Stayers heats at Romford.
Aero Prince runs from trap 5 in the Jamaica Sprint Trophy final at Coventry on Thursday.
We will be at Romford Friday and on Saturday the William Hill Festival of Racing kicks off at Sunderland with six heats of the Classic and Grand Prix.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Dixies Air couldn't recover from a slow start in the semi's of the Summer Stayers at Monmore and Ayamzaman was a bit disappointing at Oxford. Having said that he may be a respectable price up at Sunderland for the Classic won by his half brother Jogadusc Ace in 2009 so might be worth an interest. Blonde Fletch bids to defend his title in the Grand Prix and is hard to leave out of a staking plan and I would most definitely give Dixies Air a chance.
AYAMZAMAN - 2 pts e.w ante-post - William Hill Classic - Sunderland - starts Saturday
BLONDE FLETCH - 3 pts win ante-post - William Hill Grand Prix - Sunderland - starts Saturday
DIXIES AIR - 1.5 pts e.w ante-post - William Hill Grand Prix - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
DIXIES AIR - 2 pts e.w ante-post 16/1 - Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic - Monmore - lost
AYAMZAMAN - 4 pts win - Oxford - Tuesday - lost