Monday 23rd February 2015
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Another cracking week for 'Team Wallis' as we scorched past the 50 open race winners tally for 2015. As predicted by myself Black Francis gave us a decent squeak of defending our Ladbrokes Golden Jacket title with a semi final win and a small matter of a demolition job in the Sunday matinee opens at home track Towcester with five superb winners.
I can't recall going past 50 open wins before March in our illustrious history at the kennels and Blue Moment made it win number 50 with a battling performance to record his 5th win from 6 starts at the Northamptonshire track. It was another good day as we landed five of the six opens yesterday and only a narrow short head defeat of Vanbasten stopped a clean sweep. I don't quite agree that our kennel basically 'cleaning up' on Sundays should become such a negative in the press and less importantly some well known forums for a couple of reasons. Firstly we are sending out some of our strongest open race dogs which surely is what people would want to see, if we didn't then the track will only get slated for not attracting the top dogs in training. Secondly I feel the greyhound writers should be a bit more positive about the opens, great prize money is on offer and trainers not only receive 15% of the win money but Towcester give another £10 to away trainers for each runner. This has to be applauded as it doesn't happen anywhere else and at a time when trainers are massively feeling the pinch this has to recognised as a major step forward. Also not forgetting Towcester offers some high class facilities which I remember only a few months ago the journalists were making a huge point about saying that facilities at other tracks were making it impossible for the sport to move forward, it can be such a frustrating game at times! Yes of course we need a competitive betting market for the bookmakers but even when tracks, owners and trainers provide this service we still only get the 'drippings off our noses' from the bookmaking industry when it comes to paying for that so called competitive market!
Tomorrow the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket Final once again sees a race without the original ante post favourite as Roxholme Dream crashed outof the event at the semi final stage after being rugby tackled at the third bend by Farley Rio leaving our own Black Francis in front who eventually held off the late challenge of Malls Pride. Both Racenight Jenny and the back to form Bubbly Time were impressive in the other semi's but timewise there's not a lot to choose from all three and you certainly couldn't discount our other three rivals as Crayford is certainly a track that can spring up surprises, still the £17,500 should be a cracker and who knows Black Francis might keep the title at Imperial kennels.
A title that we have held for the last three years is the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy over 540m and we have a live chance of making it four in a row if Jimmy Nailed On can break in his best styl. It a good final but he seems like he is coming in o form at the right time. The whole meeting moves from its traditional Saturday morning slot and it will be interesting to see if the crowd and atmosphere is as good as the event caters for Sky on a Tuesday night.
We are coming around to a busy time of the year with the Ladbrokes Spring Festival at Monmore and the Coral Golden Sprint at Romford only a couple of weeks away and we should be well represented. After a cracking start to the year it's good news that we have some more of our stars returning from rests and injuries with Adageo Bob, Evanta Evita, Vanfrankie, Do It For Twiggy and Kilmagner Mike all booked for trials this week while also Aero Nemesis returns to our kennel for hopefully a crack at the Golden Sprint and another tilt at the Derby. His form has been patchy but hopefully we can rejuvenate him and who knows he may go one step better than last year's semi final.
Our first action of the week was a winning one as Black Francis landed a controversial semi final of the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket at Crayford on Thursday in a fine 45.44. Jimmy Nailed On ran well enough when second beaten 2 1/2 lgths in his Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy heat behind fast winner Farneys Cookie.
At Romford on Friday What A Laugh produced a superb 3.71 sectional when winning a warm 400m Maiden in a decent 24.07. Lets Havit Right and Huggies Buck were close up 3rds from our five runners.
A busy day Sunday with the feature being the Bunny Bookmakers Gold Cup at Henlow and we had high hopes for both Blackstone Marco and Blonde Razor but without making excuses the going heavily favoured the wide seeds and they both struggled in the going finishing 3rd and 5th respectively behind Kevin Hutton's Old Fort Cracker who ran well in the conditions. Ilewin Allot and Aero Gerry got stuck in the mud as they say when both 3rd in other opens but Aero Babooshka made it three wins on the spin in the sprint with a very good 5 1/2 length victory and she will now be stepped back up in trip.
Earlier in the day there were six opens on show at Towcester and after a successful last few Sundays we maintained the momentum as Cloudbursting was made to work hard by Cluxtons Free when winning his 4th race on the trot by a head in 15.42 on a slow track in very poor weather conditions. The two heats of the Sunday £500 Standard were won by Domino Storm who beat a game Calco Flyer by 3/4 length in 28.43 while Blue Moment was also made to work hard when getting the better of Ballymac Bobbyjo by the same margin in 28.65. Blonde Nipper showed some terrific middle pace to make a winning debut by 3 1/4 lengths in 28.51 and he looks a lovely prospect. Vanrooney may gave been a 1/7 shot but his display of front running over 686m was as they say 'worth the admission price to see' and ran out a 13 length winner in 41.77 with no doubt that he would have gone inside his best time had the track been anywhere near normal going, a great day all round.
Not a great three days for our graded runners and it was a struggle to get anything close to winning from over 20 runners Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Dehavillands Boy was closest when 3rd on Friday. Benkaat Boomer, Aclamon Josie and Parkers Poison were all runners up on Saturday but Swift Whirlwind made it a hat trick of wins when scoring well in an A3 in 28.43. No joy on Sunday with our four runners.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight the heats of the Steve Simmons Standard Trophy see Evanta Fantasy, Huggies Buck and Evanta El Greco put their Golden Sprint preparation into action at Romford.
Ladbrokes Golden Jacket and Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy night at Crayford tomorrow should both be cracking races and it would be great if Black Francis and Jimmy Nailed On can emulate the Hometown Honey and Aayamzamodel double of last year.
Runners at Romford on Friday and the highlight of Sunday's Towcester open card will be the Sunday £500 Standard final with Blue Moment, Domino Storm and Calco Flyer looking to land the trophy.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A huge night for our followers as Black Francis bids to land a lovely touch in the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket Final at Crayford having been selected at a whopping 33/1 (a little bit of 50's was available!), he will be around the 5/1 mark. Also Jimmy Nailed On recommended at 12/1 in the Peter Bussey Memorial Final will be around a third of those odds to win for what could be a superb double! We will rest on our laurels until after these races.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BLACK FRANCIS - 1.5 pts e.w ante post 33/1 - Ladbrokes Golden Jacket - Crayford - final Tuesday
JIMMY NAILED ON- 2 pts e.w ante post 12/1 - Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy - Crayford - final Tuesday