Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
JFK: 28.08 felt celestial bordering on spiritual
A number of punters, during and after racing – whilst waiting for the third round draw – told me, in differing forms of words ‘you will struggle to find the right superlative for that’.
They were referring to Razldazl Jayfkay’s run, smashing Taylors Sky’s track record by nine spots, and setting (well we think, as this is something that is left to memory!) a 4.63sec sectional record too; all spoke with delirious smiles – exhibiting a child’s ‘Christmas morning’ excitement.
His truly stunning performance was a mixture of pace, power and balance – fearsome in a sense, yet a run that held balletic beauty too. Wow. Congratulations to his trainer Dolores Ruth and all his connections.
Darrell Williams, as he started to announce the full race result, said something like ‘wait for it’. It was obvious that this referred to a course record; the only question was by how much. 28.08. It felt ethereal . . . there, that’s it . . . the word that sums it up, and involves being celestial edging on spiritual.
The punters and I were there – for a priceless, unforgettable moment, and he is now the dog they all have to beat.
I don’t know how Maurice Watkins, the Greyhound Board chairman does it. As Richard Hayler, now head of the betting adjudication service but a former senior GBGB executive, tweeted during racing, I’d called on him to sort the track out - and, after some stultifyingly boring Friday night racing - give us some excitement. Just evoking the name of Watkins did the trick; this is powerful stuff. I’m going to have to be careful!
In the race immediately before JFK, Bowtime Sykes picked up Droopys Loner in what was a truly rousing thriller, and later we got a battle to savour between Boher Paddy and Blonde Snapper.
Thank you sir – yes, it’s possibly all coincidence, but I think I’m only going to ask Maurice to intervene again when it’s really important . . . you know, safeguarding the future of Wimbledon, that sort of thing.
I’m not sure what happened to Bubbly Phoenix at the start of his race, it was a bit like Taylors Sky the night before. The surface appears loose underneath, and he became unbalanced after breaking well. Don’t write off either of that pair – they are proper dogs. But Jaytee Pedro, in beating Bubbly Phoenix, is clearly a player – as are Ruth’s other Friday night winners, Razldazl Rioga and Razldazl Bugatti (they are June 09 litter brothers, Bugatti now faces unbeaten Irish rivals Tinas Nova and Judicial Ruling in Saturday's heat 8), Boher Paddy (he is running into peak form), Blonde Snapper (can and will lead anything), Coolavanny Bert (as beautifully balanced as JFK, and improving after a break).
Then there’s Scottish Derby hero Barefoot Allstar. His seeding was changed by Paul Hennessy from being unseeded, to middle. Wimbledon’s officiating team were of the opinion this was sensible and correct, I’m not so sure – and it must have been something Hennessy agonised over. The problem now is he’s stuck with it. There are 27 unseeded runners left in the Classic, nine middles and 12 wides. I thought Barefoot Allstar, who did move off, looked worse at the start because Droopys Bach was also turning sharp left, and Barefoot Allstar was then chopped off at the bend after showing excellent speed up.
It’s one of those things that there isn’t a right answer to – a bit like the seeding of Bright Redcliffe. Last year everyone saw him as a middle, but he reached the Derby final unseeded, this year he went straight out, carrying the middle tag, in the first round.
One view after the draw was Barefoot Allstar will break better from trap five in heat 6, a race where he has Taylors Sky and Young Sid on his inside, and Jaytee Pedro on his outer – so on that basis, it could prove to have been shrewd. It certainly makes it all the more interesting . . . so there you are, the williamhill.com Derby, after all, has finally taken off!
See you on Saturday, one of the nights of the year – and Sky Sports will broadcast it, and the remainder of the world’s greatest race, live.
William Hill Media Challenge - the leaders
(scores courtesy John Johnson)
1 Dave Clark (RFO) +13.53
2 Muttley +13.10
3 Admiral Benbow +11.00
4 Kate Miller (Hills) +6.41
5 Michael Fortune +5.15
6 Procter House (GBGB) +3.74
7 Richard Birch +3.38
8 Hobbsy +2.34
9 Kevin Riddle (Racing Post) +1.44
10 Ploughman (Wimbledon) +1.06
11 Dave Johnston +0.15
12 Graham McLennan (Bags) -1.07
13 Jonathan Kay -1.83
14 Jim Austin -2.79
15 Gary Wiltshire -3.01