Premier League supported by GOBATA Championship on Saturday

LOCAL DEE JAY is “plotted up” to win his BETDAQ Premier League proper race at Yarmouth on Saturday where he runs in the final leg of the night over 462 metres - that’s the message from his ebullient trainer, Kelly Findlay!

She says that a plum draw in trap one on the back of a sparkling trial at the Norfolk track on Monday (27.76sec.) should put him spot on and, such is her confidence, she will probably put him up as her joker chasing double points.

“The dog is well in himself and in fact our team this time around has more strength in depth than in round one and I think we’ve a good chance of scoring well for the Dunham Devils. Local Dee Jay runs in the penultimate race of the night, which doesn’t bother the trainer too much.

CHARLIE LISTER OBE will be looking for further honours at happy hunting ground Yarmouth on Saturday when he sends out his Scottish Derby winner Taylors Cruise for the first round of the GOBATA Championship, which supports the BETDAQ Premier League second round.

The Newark trainer is a member of the Golden Oldies team skippered by John Coleman and will be confident of valuable points in a competition in which the top two teams will be promoted to the Premier League next time around.

Taylors Cruise, a revelation at Shawfield last April, has faced stiffer opposition in an illustrious career and should not be unduly troubled by a trap four draw in the sixth race on the card but Lonely Boy will not have things all his own way in the stayers’ leg of the Championship with that grand old campaigner, Bower Hawk, in opposition.

HAD you been at the Save Our Stow meeting at Walthamstow last night, a meeting called by the local residents, you would have gone home with the distinct impression that it’s a dog track the residents want and never mind the housing!

An attendance of almost 300, including former Walthamstow trainers and other well known members of the sport, turned out for the meeting and the overwhelming opinion was that L&Q, the site owners, have a battle on their hands if they are to see their development plans come to fruition in full.

“It seems that nobody wants housing there,” said the Walthamstow racing manager of many years standing, Chris Page. “Virtually to man and woman they made it quite clear that there are enough houses in the area and that it was the track they wanted.”

It was estimated that 90% of the turn-out was made up of local residents and the greyhound representatives were very encouraged by their desires for the return of the stadium. A number of Waltham Forest councillors were there too and the SOS rank and file will be hoping they report back their hopes for a Walthamstow incarnation, hopes shared by most of the locals.

Walthamstow held their last meeting in August 2008, since when the track has remained pitifully dormant.

NEVER say die might be an appropriate motto for Seamus Cahill to take into leg two of the BETDAQ Premier League proper at Yarmouth on Saturday following his last home points position in the first leg there 11 days ago.

Cahill finished at the bottom of the pile with 16 points, 11 behind table topper Team Desperate for Matt Dartnall while Imperial Rock Its and Team North East dead-heated for second, a solitary point behind the Desperates, while there was another tie for fourth spot (19 points) between the Mad Hatters and Dunham Devils.

“We’re not out of it yet,” said the Hove trainer, who is single-handed with his Irish Rovers squad,  “and we’ll be back there on Saturday hoping to do a bit better this time. I have some dogs off just now but a few have been having trials and I’ll be busy choosing my team right up until closing time on Tuesday.”

While he waits to see how his runners come off their trials Cahill has definitely named two runners for his team. “Skywalkershearer will be in there and also Rayvin Again, they’re both in grand shape and I’ll be hoping they mark up some good points.”

Also at Yarmouth on Saturday will be the start of the GOBATA Championship. 


Derby champ has no peers in Oscars list...

THEY celebrated long into the early hours at Sunday’s annual greyhound awards bash in London with the main oscar of the night going to Taylors Sky as dog of the year, and rightly so.

Trained by Charlie Lister OBE, the Sky was indeed the limit in a tremendous campaign which saw him win the biggest race of all, the Derby, not to mention the Henlow equivalent and the Gold Cup at Monmore, his tally amounting to 12 wins from 17 races.

A Rolls Royce of a greyhound, with any number of gears not to mention overdrive, Taylors Sky is the epitome of the perfect racing machine, a slick starting close railer with an abundance of early speed plus the ability to get home plenty well enough.

It is all there, and while an intended trial for Taylors Sky at Henlow last week was aborted and his comeback consequently delayed, it won’t be too long before we can marvel once again at this fine hound, they don’t come along like this too often!

WATCHING Sky on Friday night last week led us to the unmistaken belief that the going for the following night’s racing at Galway’s Sports Ground venue looked sure to be on the holding side.

No, it wasn’t greyhound racing on show but the Heineken Cup rugby match between Connacht and  Harlequins, who went home with tail between the legs, even though they went down a by a mere one point.

Weather conditions were atrocious and hardly conducive to good rugby with the wind blowing a gale and the accompanying monsoon making ball handling nigh on impossible.

Needless to say it was a quagmire and the only good to come of it was that the track ground staff had absolutely no need to water for the meeting 24 hours later, coals to Newcastle and all that!

BETDAQ Premier League moves on while GOBATA Championship is launched!

TRAINERS were out in force at Yarmouth on Saturday, spinning their greyhounds round in trials in preparation for the GOBATA Championship, which gets under way there on Saturday and concludes at Doncaster on February 24.

Ted Soppitt and George Oswald made the six-hour journey down from Durham while Pat Rosney and Chris Lund, based in Lancashire and Yorkshire respectively, all considered a mortgage to cover diesel costs but clearly none is leaving anything to chance ahead of the big night.

Soppitt’s Paradise Aruba clocked the fastest 462 time in beating kennelmate Skywalker Jack two lengths in 28.14sec., an encouraging effort for a dog who has been making hay around six bends recently with wins at Sunderland and Sheffield. The time was six spots faster than the quickest graded winner of the night, Penny Midas, who skated the A1 in a time infinitely better than anything else! Jim Daly’s Head Iton Tom went well in beating Skywalker Gold in 28.25sec. while Lund’s Slippery Dave ran a smart solo in 28.24sec., all trials on normal going.

Old stager Bower Hawk, also better known for his exploits around six bends but who has not raced since August, would presumably have pleased Rosney with his 28.29sec. in beating travelling companion Crossfield Halle, the puppy who won well at Nottingham last Monday but will the Hawk make a successful return at the weekend, good chance we guess if he goes in the stayers’ race!
THE GOBATA Championship, a consolation event for the six teams who failed to qualify for the first round proper of the BETDAQ Premier League, go into battle at Yarmouth on Saturday week in a bid to win promotion back into the event proper.

The teams hoping for some Jose Mourinho-type inspiration are Ted Soppitt’s Pit Yackers, Pat Rosney’s Team Canissage, John Coleman’s Golden Oldies, Dave Smith’s Greyhoundscene Dream Team, Peter Goodfellows F@Ds Slick Rocknrollers and Ricky Holloway’s The Only Way Is SOS.

This promotion/relegation clash will be held over two rounds, Yarmouth as mentioned, and at Doncaster on February 24 and will be decided across four races at each track, sprint, standard, puppy standard and a race for stayers. Points will be as for the Premier League and jokers will continue to claim double points.

The top two team after the Doncaster second round will be promoted to the Premier League and the bottom two teams relegated and replaced by two sides from the qualifiers. With all to play for the Championship promises to be just as exciting as the PL Proper, the outcome of which will also be decided at Doncaster on February 24, grand finals night.

Draper star sparkles in sprint solo....

EDEN STAR, the triple crown champion of last year, made a pleasing return to the track at Wimbledon yesterday where he clocked 16.20sec. in a solo for Barrie Draper.

“The track was on the slowish side and I was happy with the run,” said Draper, who plans to get another trial or two into the dog before he bids for the Racing Post Juvenile Championship at Wimbledon next month.

The Star, who has won nine of his eleven races and finished second twice in the others since joining Draper from Ireland last year, would add yet another title to his port folio if successful in the Juvenile, having signed off with a victory in the Laurels at Belle Vue in November.

Your chance to approach the planners...

SOME have long given up the ghost of Walthamstow Stadium rising from the ashes but not Ricky Holloway and his dogged band of brothers, whose Save Our Stow (SOS) campaign has given not a minute’s piece to planning officers and current owners of the famous site, London & Quadrant (aka L&Q) since the track’s closure more than three years ago.

Former owners, the Chandler family, took the money and run back in 2008 with not a care for tradition, not to mention local residents and greyhound fans, and the fact that their forbears were founders of the famous old stadium on Chingford Road. ‘We’re alright Jack’ literally, if former MD Jack Chandler will excuse the pun!

Holloway and his SOS supporters will not, and never will, take the closure without giving their all in the name of salvation and nobody could accuse them of giving anything other than that 100%, but it has been, and still is, one helluva fight.