The story on Mo Twentyone reads almost like a fairytale and is about to have a fitting ending.
It was just over three months ago that Gary Wiltshire phoned and asked if I would take a little bitch who he wanted to run in memory of Mo Done.
Mo was married to Betfred boss Fred Done, but had died recently after a long battle with cancer. Regular readers to the Star website may remember the story.
At Mo’s funeral, they had told the story of how in her early years, she would run illegal bets and would identify herself on the betting slips as ‘Mo 21’.
Gary decided to buy a little bitch and rename her Mo Twentyone, and to race her for charity; in particular The Christie, where Mo Done spent her final weeks.
Gary said he wanted ‘the prettiest, not necessarily the fastest’ little bitch, and when I saw her card and videos from Ireland, he was as good as his word. She was beaten a long way in all four races at Limerick.
I had some doubts that she would even grade, but she probably was the prettiest little bitch you could have laid eyes on and with a lovely temperament to match.
She clocked 29.13 in her first trial at Belle Vue but continued to improve and went into A7 where she actually won second time out.
I was quite surprised when I took a call a couple of weeks ago asking would it be okay if Fred Done and his daughter, son in law, and two grandchildren, could come to the kennel to meet Mo.
They duly turned up and spent nearly an hour here. They really took to Mo, as Julie and I knew they would, and Fred asked to be shown around the kennel. What a lovely family, really nice people.
Fred was interested in how they were fed, and what happens to them when their careers were over.
The family came to see her run last Sunday. Unfortunately, she was up to A5 and was up against it and was beaten.
I then received a phone call saying they had so fallen in love with Mo, that they wanted to re-home her straight away.
So on Saturday, Mo is off to live with Fred Done, in what we can only guess will be a life of absolute luxury, being loved and spoiled. I’ve already told her she has landed on her feet.
We will be sorry to see her go, but the plan is that she will join Fred for some of his appearances on Betfred TV.
Told you it was a fairytale ending
It has been a quiet year for us, compared to the last couple, having lost The Other Reg to a hock injury back in July.
So I am delighted to have another crack open racer in the kennel with Tommy Smith having bought Droopys Trawler.
Tommy has had a number of fast dogs with us including Mileheight Alba and Blissful Scolari, and in my opinion Trawler is right up there.
I thought he was superb when he won the Northern Puppy Derby for Andrew Wood and just as impressive on his first look at Nottingham without a trial.
He must have been 12 lengths adrift at halfway and was only beaten three quarters of a length in the heats of the Puppy Classic. He was knocked over in the next round and hasn’t raced since.
He had his first trial for me at Nottingham on Monday and clocked 29.86 (+20) for 500m. By way of comparison, Salacres Barley has won a stack of open for Pete Harnden and won again in the fastest open of the night in 30.10.
In the short term, we are thinking about the Eclipse though the longer term ambitions are over six bends.
Dogs of the calibre of Droopys Trawler seldom come on the market and we have had our fingers burned with some expensive Irish dogs recently.
Just one example, we paid five figures for The Other Rocky and has just been sold on as a grader for Perry Barr having reached no better than A2 at Belle Vue.
We haven’t given up on The Other Reg who picked up a chip in his hock in the Select Stakes. He will spend three months on the lead, and looks very good, though the acid test will always be that first trial back.
We also have Azurri Genesis on the open race strength and should soon have Fridays Marie in action.
She pleased me in her trials clocking 16.90 for a sprint at Newcastle and 15.15 for two bends at Belle Vue.
I also have three promising youngsters sent over by Jim O’Donnell. When others have let me down, I can always rely on the ‘Newinn’ dogs and I have three: Mac, Bangor and Billy, who I am expecting big things from.
Although I love open racing, I also enjoy the atmosphere with a few graders at Belle Vue.
We have room for 28 dogs, or which I would plan to have around 20 graders and eight open racers. Luckily we have a full kennel and a waiting list of dogs to come in,
The one thing I don’t miss about open racing is the travelling and I am sure a lot of trainers and kennelstaff will back me up when I say it has got worse.
There used to be a time when you could say ‘it took me three and a half hours to get here, but I will be home in two and a half’.
Now with all the road works and closures, the journey home is usually longer that the journey to the track.
Finally, I would just like to send my thoughts and wishes to Central Park racing manager Peter Miller following his health setback.
Peter is one of the good guys in the business. Whenever I would travel to Hove, he was always very kind and welcoming and a top racing manager to boot.
Get well soon mate!