Welcome to the Wallis Weekend Write-up where our headline story is the return to form – with a bang – of the fastest Derby second round winner Crafty Shivoo. The Empress Stakes winner set a new PB of 28.59 on Saturday night, a 22 spot improvement on her previous best.


24 hours earlier, kennelmate New Destiny was the fastest heat winner of the Coronation Cup with a 34.82 run, some 36 spots quicker than the next fastest winner which happened to be her kennelmate Ballymac Diana. Not only did Destiny clock the fastest 575 of the year, her half sister Coonough Crow recorded the quickest 750 in 2024 on the same card (47.51).


While at Monmore on Saturday, the MWD’s Ballymac John and Garfiney Blaze clocked the respective FOY times for the respective 480 and 684m trips. Contrast and compare? Apart from being something of a shock, John’s run was half a length quicker than Links Maverick’s best run this year. It would have placed him fourth on the 2023 table, again headed by Tom Heilbron’s runner at 27.70. As for Blaze’s 41.14 (+15) . . . that was the quickest run since the kennel’s Bombardier beat Chubbys Dubh a length in 41.03 (+20) back in 2021.


At Central Park, Adam Sears’ My Lennie celebrated his first day as an adult with the quickest heat win the ARC Silver Salver at Central Park. By way of comparison, his winning time of 16.29 (N) is seven spots off Emers Sammy’s quickest of the year. (Paul Donovan’s runner clocked 16.48 in his heat). Last year’s winner Flashing Willow clocked 16.00 (-10) in the final following heat wins in 16.28 and 16.19.


Queen Joni bounced back from her Derby disappointment with a 29.14 (-10) near eight length win for Hove’s 500m course. That gives her the fastest and fourth quickest runs of the year. Her track record is 28.81 (N). She has 21 wins in 28 races – and is moving on with her career!


Sticking with the subject of brilliant British bred brindle bitches, step forward Agile Annie. Debbie Calvert’s strapping lass (32.5kg) was close to her second birthday when clocking a calculated 30.50 on her first sighting of the Doncaster 483m boxes last summer. By October she had lowered her PB to 29.26 and on Saturday night she set a new fastest time of the year, 29.19. In fact, it was the quickest run over course and distance since Dropzone’s 29.13 recorded two days short of four years ago.


Nottingham’s lightly used 255m distance had two heats of a sprint competition on Monday. There was only four spots between the two winners and two lengths between all six qualifiers for tonight’s final. Quickest of the two, and of the year, was Always Wishing with a 14.93 run. That was only a length outside Quarteira’s FOY for 2023.


There would be decent grounds to make another Simon Deakin trained runner, Kilara Jacko, the Perry Barr POW following a 28.26 win in A2. The question is though, would he have beaten Swift Prank (5-4f) in Saturday’s tasty A1 that also included defending champ Swizz Star, Noels Choice, Good Spark and Moyar Brew? Despite the slower winning time, 28.44 (-10), and Jacko’s struggles in higher grade, probably not. In fact, there aren’t many quicker at the Barr than John Rigby’s brindle . . . apart from Darley Diglake – obvs.


Newcastle was running particularly quick on Thursday as the 29.00 barrier was breached seven times. Quickest of the lot though was the Jimmy Fenwick trained pup Ballymac Lineout with a 28.42 (+20) run in A1. It was his third win in his last four outings which included a 640m open.


Meanwhile at Sunderland, Magical Camilla made just her second start in six months in A1 on Sunday. It went pretty well too with a 27.21 win. It was only her sixth race since winning the Angel Of The North at Newcastle last July.


There were a string of decent runs at Swindon on Thursday including a 28.24 win for Gurtnara Paddy with Eze and Sallowglen Hope finishing behind him. But the top performance is surely the 41.29 run from Ballymac Madgie. The 11 length win over the 682m course was the third fastest ever, better only by track record holder Ballymac Mags (41.18) and Baggios Champ (41.25).


The opens have been easier to win than the top grades at Oxford this week with Saturday night A1s both breaking 27.00 when the open winners didn’t. Quickest of the lot was Rachel Hill’s Laid Back Joe who followed up a 26.82 run with a 26.72 success.


Essjay Swallow has hit the ground running since arriving at Harlow. Unraced in Ireland, the August pup has three career outings at Harlow resulting in two wins including the quickest time of the week, 26.44 (+20) in A2.


When Notesinurpocket arrived at Suffolk Downs and clocked a calculated 23.43 at 19 months old, it seemed was destined for a big career. Unfortunately there has been minimal progress in the last six months though he did clock the fastest time of the week in Tuesday’s A1, 23.76.


Last week’s POW at Yarmouth, Chelms Chris (27.96), was one of only two runners to break 28.00 at Caister this week. However, neither he or Garnacanty Girl (27.90) are the selections. That honour goes to Swift Unkind who was only two spots off the fastest sprint of the year. . .in career performance 108.


Only two hounds broke 28.00 for Kinsley’s identical 462m trip. Lynnway Touch saw off A2 in 27.99. Homegrown Sydney won his A3 in 27.87. Quickest of the trio though was Dave Cooper’s Moss Row Gemma who was two lengths quicker than Touch on the same card, and defeated the reigning POW Ballymac Don, in 27.83.


The choice of Different Speed at Valley might look like a rubber-stamp award for his completion of a 12-timer. It largely is. However, this particular race he could easily have lost. Having been badly hampered in traffic at the first bend and almost stepping over the hare rail at the second, Kate Harrison’s hound demonstrated a fabulous will-to-win on the run home.


Sticking with the ‘prolific sprinters’ theme, Romeo Victory went to traps for the 22nd time this year at Sheffield on Sunday and won for the 12th time, though a 16.32 run doesn’t quite nail it. Instead, the selection is last weekend’s Three Steps runner-up Savana Heross who beat a decent field including (New Destiny’s litter sister) Innfield Charm and Grand Prix winner Farneys Willie. The 720m win goes onto a Sheffield win CV that includes 480m, 660m and 934m. A different ‘Three Steps’ competition?


Crayford swapped one ‘Razldazl’ Performer of the Week for another. Last week it was 714m star Razldazl Rolex. This week it was litter brother Razldazl Hermes who is an interesting hound in his own right. Ricky Holloway’s six bend open winner and underperforming hurdler contested a 380m Cat 3 final on Sunday evening and set the fastest time of the year. The 22.89 was just half a length outside Brinkleys Poet’s track record.


And finally, a reminder of the ‘they are not machines’ philosophy. Gurtnacrehy Axel spent most of last summer at Sunderland where he became an A2 regular. He switched to Pelaw later in the year and soon won an A3 in 25.69. He was KO’d in A2 and then hit the inside rail in a solo trial. His confidence seems to have disappeared. Lesley Eagleton’s black expensively slid down the grades with 10 consecutive defeats. (13-8f, 15-8f, 6-4f, 1-1f, 4-6f, 4-5f). Finally, last week in A6 and at 1-5f, he got his head in front and won in 26.08. A rejuvenated Axel reappeared on Sunday, and despite three steps up the grading ladder, saw off an A3 field in 25.75.