Weblog: A Ladbrokes look at the sport
Looking forward to a busy Yarmouth showcase
My first week back at work after a summer holiday looks like having a distinctly doggy feel to it with this blog entry serving as a suitable warm up for the top class action, both open and graded, which is due at Yarmouth and Crayford over the next few days.
I missed the opening heats of the first ever (and certainly not the last!) Metro Cup at Crayford, but text reports which eventually reached me in Kefalonia alerted me to the fact that Mutro ran a reasonable race considering her return from season, far better than we may have excepted given her drift on course to 25/1 from 12/1.
It’s a shame she hasn’t made the final but it goes to show that we put the cup together not as a benefit for our charge, but with a view to organising something to reward top grade six benders at the track. I’m pleased that Muttley of the Racing Post shares my view here.
Thankfully, I managed to catch a recording of the RPGTV show featuring the inimitable Rab McNair and also have to thank the boys on the sofa for their plaudits, especially Hobbsy who decided to promote me to the position of PR Manager! David, if you’re reading please note you’re still the boss . . . for now!
The final is rich in quality and even money favourite Lordsbury Mayo is clearly the one they all have to beat. It may be worth a second look at Kiltomey Simba however, who steps in after Fernhill Fury’s disqualification. Barry O’Sullivan was keen to play up his chances when we dissected the Metro Mutro performance and he could easily prove the value on the night with the jolly in five sure to attract the bulk of the cash in the ring.
I’ve also got to extend my thanks to the Metro again for their involvement in this project and continued coverage in the Tipster column. With any luck Mutro will continue to improve out of season and return from the doldrums to deliver readers a long overdue win just in time to put a few quid away for Christmas.
Before all the fun gets underway in South East London there’s the small matter of a trip to the coast. In an ideal world I’d have gone to take in all three days of the Eastern festival before adjourning to the stadium on Wednesday and Thursday nights but I’ll happily take a trip to the seaside on the day for the big final. All signs point to a superb night; the restaurant is already sold out and has been for some time now thanks to a bumper crowd transferring from turf to sand and this really pleases me since all too often the Sky cameras pan to wide shots of desolate betting rings and sparsely populated terraces. Our Pall Mall night at Oxford a perfect example, albeit due to a clash with an England match. Perhaps it’s something we need to consider at a local level when tracks race on a night unfamiliar to regulars.
A buoyant crowd should keep on course layers on their toes all night and I’m looking forward to stepping into what I hear is a lively ring. There are two dogs on the undercard who should give me reason to do so with puppy Ballyfinn Oscar the first in the 7.40. Connections were pleased with recent wins in moderate graded company and are confident this youngster will shoot through the grades before making open class. In the hands of master trainer Mark Wallis, the February 11 whelp will be rattling home late from his middle draw.
Another dog who ought to see out every one of the 843 metres in the marathon is top Crayford stayer Powerfast Pigeon. Our trainer was keen to mention that they’d tried in vain to get the bitch into a stayers open with a series of contests at tracks around the country not filling. Clearly a sign the dog looks prime to return after a spin round her home track but there’s no doubting the size of the task on her plate given Aero Gaga lines up in the same contest.
As for the final, I’m not so confident in it being a straight match between Taylors Sky and Bubbly Phoenix, despite the prices. Phoenix’s peerless qualification is there for all to see and if he hits the lids as they go up it could be curtains for his rivals. Anything other than a clean break though may allow kennelmate Milwards Matt to enter the equation with a late swoop coming as he plots the longest route round to the line.
I’ll be breaking my pre-final parade duck on the night as a stand in for our greyhound governor Richard Harkness who is currently recovering from illness. It goes without saying that we all wish him well and I’ve been informed he’ll be back on screen soon, leaving me in my favoured position; going toe to toe with Gary and Dave in the ring!
As always drop me a line on twitter @LadsAlex if you have any feedback or an idea of a winner.