The above words were how I started my last blog. How right they were to prove to be just a couple of days later down at Henlow. The night started well , then just got better and better. Salacres William (ex Glenalbyn) was bought from Liam Kirley over in Ireland on the recommendation of Shelbourne racing manager Declan Carey. William has been a good dog to the kennel , a dog with powerful early and middle pace he won our kennel a couple of finals at Nottingham last year. At the beginning of September 2011 however he was to suffer a gracilis injury that would lay him off for the whole of the winter and beyond with serious doubts as to whether he would actually race again , never mind win another open. Chris Brentnall my assistant though did a wonderful job on him , as he does with any dogs who do suffer from the curse of injury. Prior to last night William had raced four times at Nottingham , 3 times over the sprint trip and once over the 500m. He would obviously have needed a few runs under his belt for fitness , though admittedly he hadn't really shown any of his old sparkle. His race at Henlow though looked a winnable race , on paper at least. Coming away reasonably well ran the bends brilliantly considering he'd not seen the track before , taking the lead before coming off the final turn and powering away for a comfortable success. Welcome back to the winners enclosure William !
Second up on the night was Salacres Vision. Previously mentioned on this blog page , Vision was stepping back upto 4 bends for the first time in over 6 months. He'd been running well in his sprint races , winning an open at Doncaster and a graded sprint at Notts. Stepping back upto 4 bends was always going to be a test though. Turning in a handy position going down the backstraight he showed blistering backstraight pace and went a couple or so lengths clear coming off the final turn. Fitness began to tell a little but this dog has got the guts to go with his class and he dug in deep to hold on by a head , phew.
Next up on the night was Salacres Town. Thomas as he is known in the kennel is probably the fastest dog we have. The dog has a touch of class about him , which anybody who has taken a look at his old Irish form when running as Dirty Old Town would know. Thomas seems to like Henlow , the Henlow bookies seem to like him even more , hence his disappointingly short sp's. Still , they've not been too far from the mark with their assessment of his chances so far , they must be good judges. Sent off the warm 8/11 fav Thomas was in a menacing positon going into the final turns. Given a run the writing looked on the wall for the two leaders and in all honesty he looked booked for a comfortable success. He ended up winning by 12 1/2 lengths , flattered a little after Tony Tuffins Darket Pearl suffered a horrible injury coming around the final turns. My thoughts go out to the dog and connections. The win for Thomas was soured somewhat for myself and Mark Pierrepont once we realised Pearl had suffered so badly. It's the worst part of the sport , in fact it's the worst part of any sport , animal or human , though with anything in life there is alwas a risk involved , but all the same not nice when it happens and my thoughts go out to all connected to Pearl.
So far so good. 3 winners from 3 runners. That was the easy part done , Salacres Sparky was next up in the final race of the night. Sparky is owned by myself and Mark and he's somewhat of an enigma. The dog can run , when he wants to and if he's in the mood. If he was in the mood it looked a winnable race. He seemed in good spirits with himself so it was all fingers crossed. Trap 2 being vacant gave him a chance of securing a run. The traps opened and he grabs a decent pitch from Holycross Girl in Trap 1. So far so good. The 5 and 6 set off in front and though Sparky had cleared the 1 , he somehow managed to get himself in a bit of a private battle with Mr Haytons Magna Fiddle against the rail. His chance looked gone going down the back straight , 8 lengths off the pace and though finally clearing Fiddle surely he had too much to do , didn't he ? Slowly but surely he began to make ground , it might be close but it looks like being too little too late. 5 and 6 came together off the last bend though , the gap opens up and Sparky powers home for a 1 length victory. Job done , well done Sparky , his first win for 6 months and what a time to do the business.
To score 4 open race wins on one night is one thing , to score 4 on an away track , from only 4 runners. It's what makes us carry on in this sport when you wonder at times if it's all worthwhile.
It might be some while before we have another night quite like that , but we'll live off the memories for sometime yet.