WHATEVER happens in the final on Tuesday week, Jaytee Patriot’s contribution to the Ladbrokes’ Golden Jacket is already firmly acknowledged following his breathtaking performance in the first semi-final of the 714-metre Category One at Crayford on Saturday morning.
The year may only be a month and a bit old but it would come as no surprise if when we reflect on the high points of 2017, Jaytee Patriot’s one-length victory over the talented Rubys Razzle at the weekend is still being talked about.
In what looked to be every inch about two runners – Jaytee Patriot was the 4-5 favourite and Rubys Razzle was 6-4, it was 8-1 bar – the latter set off in her usual slick fashion as Jaytee Patriot started moderately and paid the price for that when held up around the first, second and third bends.
As they crossed the line with a circuit to go, the sectional timer revealed that Rubys Razzle was more than nine lengths ahead of the third placed Jaytee Patriot. The pair were split by Trapper Kerry.
Those that had backed Rubys Razzle, who went into the race having won eight of her 10 previous starts, were entitled to feel confident enough to make their way to the bookies to collect their winnings.
But Jaytee Patriot was clearly not done with. He very rapidly started to close the gap and levelled with Rubys Razzle on the run-in before accelerating ahead to win by a length in 45.45sec (0.20sec fast). Both first and second go through to the final.
An injury to Forest Luck marred the second semi-final. The Kevin Hutton-trained runner had led to the third bend where she fractured a hock.
Kent St Leger winner Jimbobjoe took command as Forest Luck lost ground and Ricky Holloway’s runner stayed in front until the run-in, at which point Romany Rogue came with a wet sail to snatch the spoils. Richard Devenish’s dog scored by a length and a half in 45.77sec (normal).
Forest Luck received emergency veterinary treatment at the track and was latter seen by leading greyhound specialist vet Daniel Doherty. The prognosis is that Forest Luck will recover fully for a lifetime as a family pet, although the prospect of her having a litter or two hasn’t been dismissed.
In the first round Boylesports Star flopped out of the starting traps and worked his way through the field to win by an ever-increasing three lengths. So, when Dolores Ruth’s youngster broke quickly in the third semi-final, those in opposition will have been aware of the fate set to befall them.
In what amounted to a spine-tingling display of power-running the January 2015 whelp proceeded to defeat a field that included Ferryforth Fran, last year’s St Leger winner, by a shade over three lengths in 45.39sec (normal).
It was the fastest of the round from a youngster who is giving off all the signs of being something of a superstar over six bends if showing the improvement that would normally be the case from a dog of his age.
The £17,500 Ladbrokes Golden Jacket Final (714M), Tuesday, February 21
WHAT a fabulous final for the first Category One of 2017!
Champion Trainer Mark Wallis has two in the shape of Rubys Razzle and Ferryforth Fran bidding to secure him the event for the second successive year after Patches Kerry hacked up 12 months ago, and Hometown Honey prevailed in 2014.
Rubys Razzle has tremendous race-winning early pace and it would be folly to rule out Ferryforth Fran, the GBGB Stayer of the year for 2016 and winner of the St Leger and Ladbrokes Summer Classic.
Irish-based trainers have been less prolific. In fact, Paul Hennessy is the only trainer to have previously won the prestigious eight-bender back in 2004 with Group Skater. He has the incredibly determined Jaytee Patriot running for him from trap four.
Next door on the left is the amazingly precocious Boylesports Star. The January 2015 whelp is improving with every run at the track and looks a seriously player from trap three.
Jimbobjoe, the winner of the Kent St Leger last backend, will be the first greyhound since the fabulous Brian Timcke-trained Bobs Regan way back in early nineties to complete the Kent St Leger/Golden Jacket double if successful.
And Romany Rogue, the winner of the second semi-final, can make them all go.
Trap draw for the final
1 Rubys Razzle
3 Boylesports Star (m)
4 Jaytee Patriot (w)
5 Romany Rouge (w)
6 Ferryforth Fran (w)