Monday 26th April 2010
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Obviously all eyes are on the William Hill Greyhound Derby that gets underway this week and I will review our chances below. Firstly it was a week that so nearly produced a couple of big wins, both Bim Bam Boozle in the Peterborough Puppy Derby last Wednesday and Directors Wit in the Golden Sprint Final on Friday finished creditable runner ups. Bim bam Boozle was the outsider of the field as they went to the traps but a slick exit from trap 2 gave him an opening lead but trap 1 Alfies Options paced up inside him and as in previous rounds he moved wide to impede Bim Bam Boozle and letting eventual winner Total Reality up on the inside for a dream run. Bim Bam Boozle who started in bottom grade at Harlow only a few months ago renewed his challenge going into the third bend but had no answers to the winner going down by 1 1/2 lengths in 25.50, a very good effort none the less. On Friday Directors Wit also lined up in trap 2 in the Golden Sprint final with trap 6 King Lee an odds on shot after a track record equalling semi-final win. As the traps opened it was trap 4 Ardbeg Mentor who flew from the traps with King Lee completely missing the break and losing his chance. Directors Wit, after a moderate break, paced up well and for a second looked dangerous but a race winning move by Ardbeg Mentor chopping Directors Wit off at the first bend proved decisive with him scorching away for a near 7 length success in a flying 23.56 a new track record. Directors Wit kept on for second and can be pleased with his overall event.
In an eventful week some sad news was the retirement of top class hurdler Bomber Bailey who after leading at Sittingbourne in a race on Thursday something clearly wasn't right as he faded but still only went down a short head coming off lame. A visit to the vets the next day revealed a break in the pisiform bone which unfortunately is a career ending injury. In all Bomber Bailey had 47 races winning 18 times including the 2009 Springbok at Wimbledon. He broke four track records at Harlow twice, Sheffield and Henlow and gave his owners Neil Todd, Keith Blackham and Barrie Clegg an enormous amount of pleasure. He will after a few weeks enjoy a happy retirement. This game has a habit of producing highs and lows and no more so illustrated than after Bomber Bailey's injury their new purchase Lil Rebel (soon to be Bomber Barclay) a September 08 pup out of Priceless Rebel was thrown in at the deep end in the Coral on TV Maiden Trophy. Having his first ever race in the heats on Monday he got the run of the race to win in 24.76 but in Friday's final he produced a brilliant performance showing guts and speed to get up and win by a neck in 24.08 (+20) to take the £750 first prize. This beautiful natured fawn pup was recommended and sold to us by Jimmy Fenwick and looks to have a bright future and will be one of our leading fancies for the Gymcrack at Hall Green which starts at the end of May.
Last night's pre Derby function at Henlow organised by GOBATA was excellent and those that travelled to see a panel of trainers including myself, Nick Savva, Charlie Lister and from Ireland Pat Buckley plus Richard Birch, Floyd Amphlet and Gary Newbon for the media had some honest and in depth opinions to take home with them. Comperes Darrell Williams and Jonathon Hobbs were again proved second to none in asking some searching questions and with Clive Lawrence showing some footage of the potential Derby winners and Star Racing on hand to give some great ante-post prices the night could well turn out to be an annual event.
Well the William Hill Greyhound Derby draw is now done and unbelievabaly a total of 207 entries line up in Thursday, Friday and Saturday's first round heats. No-one seems to understand quite how the interest has shot up with so many entries but it's a pleasant surprise and despite the disappointing drop in prize money the quality looks astounding. After winning last year's premier classic with Kinda Ready we are sitting in an enviable position with this year's ante-post and worthy Derby favourite Eye Onthe Storm. No doubt he has a tricky draw in trap 5 in the opening round but if luck is on his side he looks the one all other connections fear. In all we have 13 entries the largest of any kennel in the event and have done well not getting any drawn together. Here briefly is my assessment of their chances:-
EYE ONTHE STORM - ante-post odds 8/1 - heat 10 - Thursday
No doubt the people's champion and one of the shortest priced Derby favourites for quite a while. Devastating turn of pace and has a determination to win that is unrivalled. Recent Blue Riband winner breaking his own track record at Hall Green, his third Category 1 win of his career and winner of 19 of his last 22 races all in the highest company. Tough first round draw in trap 5 will have all supporters biting their fingernails and not the best record (1 from 6) at Wimbledon but without doubt a great chance of landing back to back Derby's for Imperial Kennels.
DALCASH SCOLARI - 66/1 - heat 33 - Saturday
A brilliantly fast and lightly raced dog who showed on Trainers Championship night at Doncaster that he is up there with the best. Knocked over from a poor draw in the Blue Riband semi-final he has come back with two very good trials at Wimbledon and is one of the best backed dogs in the event. Again a very tough first round heat with only the first two qualifying and a draw in trap 3 is far from ideal but with luck on his side this heavyweight could go a long way.
EYE EYE PICKLE - 100/1 - heat 1 - Thursday
Another who showed he has what it takes to go a long way when beating Bandicoot Tipoki at Doncaster and a recent impressive trial (28.77) tells us that he is a much better proposition than when he exited last year's Derby at an early stage. Older and wiser he will still need to get some help with draws on the rails like his first round heat but feel sure he has quarter-final plus written all over him.
JOGADUSC ACE - 125/1 - heat 29 - Saturday
Last year's semi-finalist seems to have retained all of his ability and would have given Eye Onthe Storm a race in the Blue Riband final if he hadn't stumbled out of the traps. Scintillating early pace and a great record around Wimbledon could again see this kennel favourite in the latter stages of the competition but is another of ours who faces a tough first round heat and draw.
DIRECTORS SPUR - 150/1 - heat 17 - Friday
Youngster who made the high class Monmore Puppy Derby Final and with only 8 or 9 races to his name could find the whole pace of the event too much but with limitless improvement left to come bookies aren't taking any chances. Should go a few rounds and then who knows what might happen.
EYE ONTHE FLASH - 300/1 - heat 5 - Thursday
Frustrating at times, brilliant occasionally as his recent track record at Sittingbourne shows. This full brother of Eye Onthe Storm at 300/1 in the ante-post market could attract a few followers. Consistency is the key to him and he has the ability to make an impact in the event.
ADAGEO - 300/1 - heat 31 - Saturday
Largely unheard of dog in our kennel with a few wins in the grades at Harlow but yet to win on the open road. Blistering trial (28.66) around Plough Lane has had a few people asking questions about him and is one of a few wide seeds. Wouldn't surprise me to see him go a few rounds.
KINDA HANDY - 500/1 - heat 9 - Thursday
Representing winning connections from last year Kinda Handy has been campaigned mainly over shorter trips and has had his moments. Maybe a chance of using his good early to nick a couple of rounds but would need to improve to feature in the latter stages.
KINDA EASY - 500/1 - heat 27 - Saturday
St Leger hero who loves Wimbledon and dropped back in trip for the Derby could be one of those wide seeds who can keep qualifying but has a tough first round heat to overcome. Won in last year's first round at a big price.
ALL THAT NOISE - 500/1 - heat 25 - Saturday
Recently stepped up in trip and was impressive in his 575m Romford victory. Not a total forlorn hope of getting through to the next round or two but another which faces a tough first round.
AERO BOLT - 500/1 - heat 12 - Friday
Promising youngster who hasn't had the best of luck to date but that could change. Looks a strong sort and could need to be stepped up in trip after the Derby. Hard first round heat.
EYE ONTHE TEMPO - 500/1 - heat 16 - Friday
Big outsider but more han capable of qualifying a round or two. Has a good draw in trap 1 on Friday and that might be worth a second look.
BLONDE BANJO - 1000/1 - heat 3 - Thursday
Totaly unexposed young dog who has just come i to the kennel. Didn't trial too bad and may cause a surprise or two.
So there we have it - if asked I like recent Scottish Derby winner Nambisco with in form trainer Carly Philpott and I think both Nick and Charlie could do well with Westmead Grant and Yahoo Jamie.
A very brief look at last week's open scene and as said Lil Rebel opened his account on Monday at Romford. Bell Tornado got back to winning ways at Harlow dropped down in trip. No luck at Sittingbourne on Thursday with some costly defeats and on Friday Catunda Mae got off the mark with a 575m Maiden Stayers win at Romford. Lil Rebel as said won and both Rockburst Mason (2nd), Jogadusc Jasper (4th) and Blonde Fern (3rd) ran well. On Saturday plenty of seconds at Monmore with only Foulden Vieri(28.33) on the winner's podium.
Only the one winner on Wednesday when Destroy The Camp (26.27) bolted in and on Saturday there were overdue wins for both Lord Pishy (26.17) and Justins Princess.(26.24).
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACE - LIL REBEL
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Three pups on at Romford tonight in the Coral on TV Puppy Trophy heats in Rockburst Canyon, Mountjoy Rock and making her debut Lil Magic. Opens at Harlow Wednesday and Sittingbourne on Thursday with new pup Rough Jetson making his debut. The William Hill Greyhound Derby gets underway with 35 first round heats taking place over three nights Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Wimbledon. Opens also at Romford on Friday and Monmore on Saturday complete a busy week.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Directors Wit gave us a great run in the Golden Sprint at Romford eventually finishing runner up and giving our e.w ante-post followers a good payout. This week the Derby begins and it's difficult to follow last year's ante-post selection Kinda Ready who won at juicy odds of 66/1. We have in Eye Onthe Storm the ante-post favourite and I expect him to drift out to 10/1 after a nightmare first round draw and he owes us nothing so we must have a bet on him. Of our others I think Eye Eye Pickle at around 100/1 looks worthy of supporting.
EYE ONTHE STORM - 5pts win - William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon, - Thursday
EYE EYE PICKLE - 1 pt e.w William Hill Greyhound Derby (100-1) - Wimbledon - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
DIRECTORS WIT - 2 pts e.w ante-post (25/1) - Friday - Romford - 2nd 33/1