The lads at Swindon were giving me some stick the other day. They wanted to know how much they would have to pay me not to take runners to the Produce Stakes. I told them I was looking for 20 grand.
It was all great banter. I love the Produce Stakes and think we have seven good greyhounds going for it. As for counting my chickens. . . I am in the game a bit too long to take anything for granted.
We won it two years ago with King Elvis, but have missed out with many other fast ones including King Turbo and Eden The Kid. There are some cracking young dogs in it this year.
Much as I would love to win it, my real ambition is to see the real King Lennon show the public how good he really is. In my opinion, the dog is an absolute machine and the fastest in the litter.
He only has two wins so far, from nine races, and he is now nearly two and a half years old. It has been one setback after another. First we had a major problem with a serious toe infection and then he broke a small bone in his stopper pad.
Nothing has been serious but I have never had the chance to get a few consecutive races into him. He was easily the fastest at the last trial session with a 28.55 (-20) run but this a dog who was 19 months old when he did 27.67 around Monmore (480).
In the long term, I think he will stay further but in the meantime, he has a decent draw on Saturday, running from three with an empty box on his inside.
He is as fit as I have managed to get him in a long time, so fingers crossed.
As much as I would like to see the ‘real’ King Lennon, I would obviously love to see them all do well. It is also a chance to assess the kennel.
It looks likely that King Diamond will be sold when the Produce Stakes is over and we already have someone interested in buying him. In the longer term, we might also think about ‘Cash’ and ‘Dylan’.
How many others go will depend on the progress of the youngsters who are coming through including brother and sister King Louis and Queen Franklin who both won at Central Park on Sunday.
They ran very different races and I was delighted with the pair. Louis showed great early pace to win his heat. He had missed the previous week and the going was -70, so he did well to clock 30.07, off a 3.27 split. Whereas I thought Franklin showed tremenous trackcraft and determination to come off the pace to win in 29.72 (-60). They are January 2018 pups by Leamaneigh Turbo out of Queen Asia.
We also have a 14 month old litter by Leamaneigh Turbo out of Skate On due to come through. They haven’t been schooled yet but I put them up behind the drag hare and they took my breath away.
We had a couple of small setbacks with Skate On only producing two bitch pups and Queen Anna having just the one bitch pup within the last month.
Thankfully, they are similarly aged and can all be reared together. They were only small litters but they are healthy and I love them to bits.
It has opened up another opportunity with Queen Izzy coming into season. She is a sister to King Turbo and will be mated to King Elvis.
I really want to get some bitches to Elvis, particularly bitches like Izzy. She never did anything wrong on the track, but like her mum Wee Tiger Tots, she had a slight streak in her. I sometimes wondered if there was a bit more in there.
Which is why I can’t wait to see what she will throw to Elvis, who was probably the most genuine greyhound I ever put a lead on.
He never caught anything live in his life, not even when they were being reared with wild rabbits coming into the paddock. But he was fanatical, absolutely manic to get the lure.
When he was racing, I would tell the track staff not to throw the dummy down at the end of trial or race because he would skid in from 20 yards away and try to rip it apart.
The next plan is to have him cover Queen Asia. Eventually, Turbo will retire and I can use him with the daughters of Skate On. We have three real quality dam line to work with, Skate On, Wee Tiger Tots and Shaws Dilemma and we can now mix them together. Plus Eden The Kid of course.
They should see me through to retirement.
Now the inflammation has died down, Cecil Law has had a better opportunity to assess Queen Beyonce and she is making great progress.
She picked up a shoulder joint injury in the Derby semi finals and although she will still be off for three months, Cecil seems confident that we can eventually get her back racing.
In the meantime, we are off again tonight to Hove for another trial for King Turbo with the first round of the Sussex Cup due to start next Thursday.