Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
Cork beckons as a refuge from Harnden telling off
AM LOOKING forward to Cork on Saturday, and the Pat Hennerty Laurels final. It’s always a quality event, and although massively disappointing for Jerry Griffin to have to withdraw St Louis Charlie (split web), having six unseeded runners qualify was unsettling.
The McKenna family has a fantastic record in the event, with Owen himself training the second last year (with Tubbertelly Dubh to Tyur Enda) and third the year before (Boherna Best, to winner Sevenheads Bay and Oran Classic), and sending out the winner in 2007 (the wonderful Catunda Harry) and Boherduff Light (2004). This year his Varra Captain has battled through – he was a half length runner-up in a thrilling Kerry Agribusiness Leger final at Limerick back in July.
Ladbrokes make him their 10-1 outsider, with Leeview Jet heading the market at 2-1, then 9-2 Deerfield Music, 5-2 Razldazl Rioga and its 4 Beaming Dilemma.
Am going there the long way round via Doncaster (horse) racecourse where the last 24 in the Racing Post/SIS Manager of the Year will gather on Friday to meet a judging panel which includes Tanya Stevenson and former Greyhound Board key man Richard Hayler (now MD of bet dispute adjudicators Ibas).
Last week I thoroughly enjoyed visits to Mildenhall and Henlow, but I ended up getting a telling off from Peter Harnden for my Romford internet report – written from a Coral betting shop on Friday.
Pete wrote to me afterwards: “I came away from Romford on Friday night as pleased as any trainer could be. Salacres Vision , who had earlier in the year reached the Category One Golden Sprint Final at Romford , had just won in impressive fashion on his first try over 575m. In fact he didn't just win, he won by a wide margin of five lengths , clocking 35.54sec on a normal track and after suffering early trouble.
“Wins like this give you the boost that you need , especially after the long hours put into getting the dog fit again. Chris Brentnall my assistant deserves a special mention for the work he puts into bringing injured dogs back to the track. So I drove back to my kennel late at night looking forward to reading a glowing report an impressive six bend debut from Vision.
"Maybe not with absolute surprise but certainly with a degree of disappointment I read Jim Cremin’s report. Saddened by the fact thatit chose to concentrate on an apparent poor effort by runner up Droopys Comedian rather than the impressive performance of our Vision. Now it isn't a pop at Clemmo, who is a top man and a top trainer, however I am left wondering had Vision beentrained by one of the so called 'big name trainers' , would the report have been a little different?”
Ouch! It’s always helpful to get feedback, although at least when I later debated his viewswith Pete, he admitted he had been grouchy.
Anyway, I’d beforehand watched the race thinking the one to be on was Salacres Vision, and afterwards rated Droopys Comedian as best used to make ‘your market’!Pete had shared that view, so it looks as though it was at least a profitable journey too.
Talking of profits, going back to Harlow’s Sky final, I’d like to record my thanks to Hills’s London area managerTerry Johnston for the second time giving me a charity bet for retired greyhounds after visiting his new Holborn 'kiosk' by the station, run by the delightful Ralitsa Vasilovska, assisted by Sam Lewis. His £50 went on Sean Walsh’s Benro Blackie at 4-1 (oi oi!). Given Terry’s previous nifty was on 8-1 William Hill Springbok winner, he must be my lucky charm. Retired greyhounds salute him.