It was semi final stage of the PGR Classic at Sunderland where Jonny Whiskers – just nine spots off the fastest 525 of the year at Galway, continues to enhance his UK reputation.
The four first round heats of the RPGTV English Puppy Derby dominated the headlines at Towcester though there were arguably some more high profile performances on the day. For a start, March pup Westway Zoro (29.40) was only one spot slower than quickest heat winner King Capaldi, when landing a maiden, despite giving away three months in age. Quarteira was only seven spots off his own FOY for the sprint but we’ll go with his kennelmate Ballymac Astra completing her own double in a new PB of 29.09.
Meanwhile Astra’s former kennelmate Ballyard Shawny was justifying his purchase by the Bloomfield Kennel with a 27.24 run over Henlow’s 460 metres. Only Bombay The Best has gone quicker this year (27.19/27.23)
For a dog with 28.79 Towcester 500m run on his card, it would be fair to say that Brinkleys Magic hasn’t yet fulfilled his potential. The PGR Eclipse could be redemption following a 29.65 trialstake win at Nottingham last Monday – finding a whopping 140 spots on his previous run.
Ricky Holloway was on fire at Crayford on Saturday with a four-timer including the fastest heat winner of the Ladbrokes Gold Collar, Razldazl Amanda (33.42). Comparisons aren’t easy, but considering Coppice Fox produced a 33.82 run after jumping four hurdles, that must rate as a superior performance? Razldazl Raido’s track record is 33.57.
Borna Rhythm, the previous quickest hound over the Crayford 540m hurdle course this year (33.84) was making his return to racing at Central Park on Sunday afternoon. But he was taking on Kent Derby third Asbo Lenny who bounced back from graded defeat four days earlier to clock 29.33.
There were a couple of exceptional runs at Doncaster on Saturday. Over the sprint, Kilbarry Meadows produced a 16.63 run, the fastest in six years and just 12 spots outside Pinpoint Mo’s clock. While over the extra lap, Trewmount Fury was just 14 spots outside the clock jointly held by Frisby Figo and Black Pear since 2004.
Last week’s Doncaster POW Ballyhimikin Mel continues in the form of her lift. Already the fastest over the Perry Barr 660m course this year, Barry Denby’s bitch shaved nine spots off that with a 39.82 run. Newinn This Way’s track record is 39.55.
Lightfoot Doak has been a regular in this feature, mainly due to her exploits over the Doncaster 450m course where she has 27.51 and 27.52 (x20) form. In recent weeks, Sean Parkers multi coloured bitch has been on the open race circuit with wins at Nottingham and Sheffield. The most recent win was a 28.79 run at Owlerton. Her dam’s best was 29.08 over course and distance, though she did win 660 opens too.
It was a good week for the litter with Doak’s brother Phoenix Elvis romping up by nearly 10 lengths in a Harlow 415m open. His winning time was 26.44 on going rated -20. By means of comparison, his recent form includes a 23.13 run for Crayford’s 380m.
On the subject of littermates, late week’s top Newcastle performer was Crooks Patsy with a 28.67 run. This week the mantle was taken over by big brother Crooks Cookie who completed an A2 hat-trick in 28.79.
Only Bellmore Sally has been quicker over Crayford’s 714m course than Capel Rose this year, and then only by nine spots. So it was no surprise when the bookies make Tony Gifkins’ bitch a 1-7f for Thursday’s 716m open at Suffolk Downs. It proved accurate pricing as she romped up by more than 14 lengths in 45.44.
There were a couple of very decent runs at Hove on Thursday including a new FOY for Ower Smasher over the 740m course with a 44.51 (-15) run. (Space Jet’s quickest last year was 44.00 on .15 fast). But how can we ignore the exploits of Hollow Man with a 29.88 (-10) run over the 515m course. (The fastest this year is Havana Bale Out’s 29.59 on .10 fast). That is 11 on the spin for the Champion Stakes winner.
Dave Lee’s Bluejig Baron managed a POW for both Harlow and Central Park within the same week at the start of his UK career. He can now boast a three track on his CV having impressively won a Swindon 476m open on Thursday in the fastest time of the week, 28.08.
Times are still proving a bit difficult to nail down at Valley. Two open winners on Friday were returned in 28.33 and 29.63. Glenmalure Flyer was the quicker of the pair.
In terms of comparisons, there probably isn’t much between Knockboy Kay 13.57 (225) and Cosmopolitan’s 23.90 (400) on Friday night. But Dan Brabon’s veteran is overdue an acknowledgement for her consistency at London Road where she has won six of her last seven.
On the same night, Oxford staged a minor open which might have been a Cat One Final. Having twice been turned over by Cooliogold, the top local Coppice Tenzin reversed the form after ‘missing trouble’ to win in 27.00 (-10). Yarmouth Derby winner Watch The Limo was third.
It would be quite unusual to clock 28.38 in a Monmore graded race and it not be selected as the week’s outstanding run. But that was the situation facing A1 winner Aero Squeak who just missed out to a 28.21 run by Swift Battery. Swift Iconic’s half sister saw off an A2 field by almost five lengths.
Ex-Monmore D2/A5 runner Orlas Taylor is carving out a new career at Pelaw Grange where she produced the week’s outstanding performance with a four length win in A2.
Home bred Aye Up Frederick was quickest on the clock over the standard distance on Sunday, though not by much. The A2 winner beat an A2 field including defending POW Ballymac Alyssa in 28.09 – though the meeting winning times make for interesting reading and suggest a general decent standard of hound: 28.12-A4, 28.13-A4, 28.14-A3, 28.18-A5 and 28.19 twice (A3/A5). (The 28.19 A3 winner was Russelstown Guy who had won A4 earlier in the week in 27.89.)
There was just one spot between the two fastest A1 wins at Yarmouth this week, though even without a difference in going allowance, the locals would have known that Alberts Legacy’s 27.98 (-20) was the superior run. That’s his last three over course and distance, albeit some four lengths off his summertime PB.