Tuesday 29th January 2013
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You can forgive us for our late Newsletter after the magnificent achievements from our kennel at the industry awards on Sunday night where owner Mark Currell, our kennel and our stars of the track won an unprecedented seven awards including the prestigious honour for Blonde Snapper as he won the Greyhound Of The Year title.
The London Lancaster by Hyde Park was the scene of a 500 people sell out for the GBGB 2012 Greyhounds Awards Night and for the first time myself and Sarah were able to spend the whole weekend in London. A great night on Saturday at the theatre was followed by a cocktail binge near Leicester Square and on Sunday after a shopping trip in Oxford and Regent Street we greeted over 60 guests of our owners and friends for the eagerly awaited black tie awards night.
Again the highest praise should be given for event organiser Annie Poole and her team including Lucy Dye, Amanda Duplock and Barry Faulkner who worked very hard to make the night so special. The awards were broken up in between a 3 course meal and the first awards went deservedly to Sally and Kevin Baalham (George Ford Award for Services to Retired Greyhounds) and Harry Williams (Harry Lloyd Award for Services to Greyhound Racing). No surprises when Ballymac Eske took the Newcomer of the Year award for the Drapers and then the excitement began for us as the beautiful and popular Lil Risky took the honours as GBGB British Bred Greyhound of the Year for ecstatic owners Jimmy Fenwick, Scott Fraser and Brian Usher, 'Jimmy' fought off tough opposition in Westmead Maldini and Romeo Recruit but his two Category 2 victory's at Monmore and the Category 1 Peterborough Derby plus being the joint top dog on Sky sealed his award, his dam Risk The Town took the GBGB Best Dam of British Bred for good measure.
Droopys Hope took the Press Association Bitch of the Year Award and then came two awards which we knew were being received. This didn't detract from how pleased and nervous I was as Mark Currell firstly stepped up in front of his delighted family and friends to collect his William Hill Owner of the Year Award and I think that there has never has been an owner who has won this award so easily over the years. I knew in about November that we had won the Coral Trainer of the Year Award but it still didn't stop my nerves as I collected the trophy for the fourth time. As I said in my Review of the Year (on Pete's Column) our team at Imperial Kennels is second to none in greyhound racing but to say I'm so proud is an understatement.
The Bags 2012 Kennelhand of the Year was jointly won by Madeleine Harnden (Peter Harnden) and Mark Perry (John Coleman) while Newcastle took the plaudits with their famous Bags Track Championship 2012 victory. Blonde Reagan who had won the biggest marathon race of the year the TV Trophy took the honour in the Coral Marathon Performer of the Year and at this point we sensed that the night was turning into something special, after Jumeirah Dubai took the Racing Post Sprinter of the Year Award Blonde Reagan took his second trophy of the night when our William Hill St Leger winner picked up the Press Association Stayer of the Year Award and again the Wallis and Currell team marched onto the stage to receive the award.
Baran Bali Hi for owner Steve Baran who is just recovering from a heart operation proved a perfect tonic when lifting the Bags 2012 Hurdler of the Year Award and we edged closer to the end of the awards. There was hush across the room when the nominees for the William Hill Standard Greyhound of the Year Award was announced and a huge roar went up when Blonde Snapper beat both Mags Gamble and Loughteen Blanco to the title. Now the only question was from the five main categories which greyhound would lift the coveted GBGB Greyhound of the Year Award. With Blonde Reagan winning both the Marathon and Stayer divisions many predicted the award was coming his way but obviously our Golden Sprint and Greyhound Derby winner Blonde Snapper held more sway with the greyhound writers and another huge roar went up when his name was announced by GBGB Chairman Maurice Watkins.
What a night! Mark Currell, rightly so, knows things may never get better in terms of greyhound ownership and no one would say he doesn't deserve his success as he has put so much money and time into our great sport. Mark was a proud man as he and his family shared in his moment of glory. Lil Risky was a most popular winner as well. Our kennel has seen a meteoric rise since those early days back in 1990 when I first walked into Imperial Kennels under my now mother in law Linda Jones where we only had a handful of dogs and some aspirations of matching the best trainers in the sport. To win a fourth trainers' title (six including Linda's two) is more than I could have ever dreamed of but at the same time the hunger is still there to be at the top for many years to come. For now though I will sit back and relax for a few days so I can take in just what a brilliant year 2012 has been on the track and thank you to all the owners and my staff and especially to our wonderful greyhounds for making me so so happy!
In other news we had a decent week on the track despite only coming second, third and last in the first major event of the season the Coral Coronation Cup at Romford won by Gerry Ballentine's Rockview Sail last Friday. Benkaat Blue and a very impressive Ard To Beat (29.73) won well at Hove on Thursday while Spingdale Hawk (35.68) and Planning (35.54) were both impressive at Romford on Friday. With the new Trainers Championship standings now up every Monday on www.thegta.co.uk website it couldn't be more satisfying to see us at this early stage sitting at the top of the table.
The Ladbrokes Golden Jacket kicks off this Saturday and both Ayamzabeauty and Mallogs Holly ran well in trial stakes at Crayford on Saturday night while Blonde Reagan (45.76) did a decent trial before racing. We had no runners at Yarmouth.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Open races at Hove (Thursday) and Romford (Friday) and on Saturday the first Category 1 event of the year the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket kicks off at Crayford.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Darian Chief was a close up third in the Coronation Cup Final and this week the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket kicks off at Crayford on Saturday. Blonde Reagan fresh from his double awards titles has been laid out for this event and will surely go close while Mallogs Holly could be a lively outsider.
BLONDE REAGAN - 5 pts win ante-post 5/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - starts Saturday
MALLOGS HOLLY - 1 pt e.w ante-post 50/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
DARIAN CHIEF - 1.5 pts e.w 16/1 - Coronation Cup - Romford - lost