Coral Regency – Brighton & Hove 695m – £10,000
AAYAMZA ROYALE, the reigning GBGB Greyhound of the Year, rubber-stamped her place as a modern-day great with another major victory when winning the £10,000 Coral Regency Final at Hove on Saturday in dramatic last-gasp style.
On a superb night for 11-time champion trainer Mark Wallis, who landed a Category One double with the dual TV Trophy champion and Drumcrow Brent in the Coral Sussex Cup Final, it was the performance of the November 2017 daughter of Ballymac Eske and Ascot Lydia which raised the roof at the south coast venue.
A marathon star, Aayamza Royale dropped down in distance for the 695m event, but having won her semi-final hopes were high another major trophy could be added to her CV, although a last-to-first performance would again be required. And it was.
As Ragtime Arthur (Theresa Dornan) broke best and set the early pace ahead of Blue Tick George (Jim Daly) and Cold As Ice (Jimmy Fenwick), Aayamza Royale was detached at the back as the field approached the winning line first time but began to make her move down the back-straight, although was still in last place approaching the fifth bend.
However, tracking cleverly round the outside, ‘Lydia’ was now in full flow and powered up the home-straight to break the hearts of Ragtime Arthur’s connections to win by a short-head from the local hope, with Blue Tick George rallying well to finish a creditable third. The winning time was 41.56sec (+15).
Having finished third in the St Leger, winning trainer Mark Wallis was always confident Aayamza Royale could have a say in the Regency – especially having won back-to-back pre-lockdown trial stakes for the competition last year.
The trainer said: “Hove plays to her strengths. She won the first of her TV Trophys there, so had won over both six and eight bends – and you know she’ll be bang there given a clear run through and she’s tracked really well in the final, using all her experience – and then what a finish up the home-straight.
“I was at Monmore, so sent the A-Team to Hove – Daniel, Emily and Sid (Huett) – and they did a fantastic job! Finally winning the Sussex Cup is special for the kennel and to get a one-two was the icing on the cake – but Aayamza Royale’s win probably just tops that even. She’s incredible.
“We’ll see how she is over the next few days, but she looks pretty good now! Towcester have a new Category One competition for marathon runners so we’ll be definitely getting ready for that. Savana Volcano beat her in the Dorando and is top-class, too, but we’ll be hoping to confirm the TV Trophy form. It’s a great prospect.”
Aayamza Royale is trained by Wallis at Imperial Kennels for the Ayamzaboys Syndicate, headed by Nigel Smith and Mitch Brenner. The syndicate also includes members Steve Cragg, Andy Pelley, Dave Partner, Mark Banning, Nigel Shaw, John Hill, Richard Sanderson, Dave Rayner and John Stewart.
Mark Banning, joined by his wife Lorraine, said: “Nigel and Mitch are away in Scotland playing bowls – they’re on the circuit – but were both watching and were just blown away, as we all were. She never gives up and is absolutely one in a million.”