I thought the Crayford staff deserved tremendous credit for making such a great effort with the Golden Jacket card on Tuesday.
Although there were a few non-runners, and probably the smallest crowd ever to witness a Golden Jacket Final, the track was in excellent condition and very safe. I am not aware of any injuries on the night, certainly ours all appear to have come off sound. We were worried about the roads, but they were good, and in fact, because of the weather there was less traffic.
I thought Shotgun Bullet was as good a Jacket winner as I can remember. Our two Jacket winners (Hometown Honey, Paths Kerry) won from the front and Derek’s dog was absolutely dominant.
Rubys Rascal did his best but couldn’t get a clear run. Cincinatti needed to break, and didn’t, which was the end of his chances.
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It was a good night for the kennel though with a four-timer headed by Saleen Ash. I did say last week that I fancied him in the Peter Bussey Memorial and he didn’t let us down for our first ‘Cat 2’ winner of the year. Ninja Penny was fifth.
It is the seventh year in a row that we have won that particular competition. Although we tend to have a lot of good 540/575m dogs, I don’t really know why we’ve had a such a stranglehold on it.
Our other three winners were Kiltrea Mike, Parkers Dynamite and Garryglass Champ.
Saleen Ash and Ninja Penny are among are five runners in the Essex Vase on Friday. It is a big step up in class for both of them.
Murrys Act looks the one they all have to beat but among the more experienced runners I would be thinking ‘possible finalist and you never know’. I would be particularly hopeful that Saleen Ash, Boylesports Duke and Roswell Romanov could be thereabouts.
Romonov, who was runner-up in the last running of the Essex Vase (Dec 16), was a little bit unlucky at Crayford, but probably finds the 575 on the short side for him as he has got older.
We have four in the Golden Sprint though again, I think ours have a bit to find to be contenders. Kilcree Diamond and Cotton Pants probably represent our best chances, though Kilmore Lemon looks a worthy favourite.