SEAMUS CAHILL says he has no big race plans for Jimmy Lollie, his former sprinter and greyhound of the year who looked as good as ever when bolting up at Hove on Thursday.
It was his second race back after finishing last and lame behind Lil Risky at Henlow in October having been a very creditable second to Drumcove Lad on his comeback five months later at Perry Barr last week.
He put more than three lengths of daylight between himself and runner-up Zenas Jack on Thursday and declined the car park route at the second bend which has been a trait in recent races away from Hove.
“He’s been swinging off elsewhere but knows Hove so well and more or less drives a straight line out of the second turn there,” said Cahill, who is away in Ireland for his daughter’s wedding and likely to stay there a while as the hooley continues!
The encouraging news is that the Lollie came off as sound as a pound the but the trainer has no designs on any big race entries for him. “No plans at all in that direction,” Cahill continued, “he will stick to one-off events on Sky nights and the occasional sprints elsewhere.
Jimmy Lollie has now won an astonishing 72 races, the majority of those in the cut and thrust business of two-bend sprinting - a legend in his own lifetime if ever there was.
Hall Green and Oxford-based handler to quit training...
LIFE has rarely been more difficult in the business of training greyhounds and what drives home that message here at GOBATA is the number of owners, trainers and kennelhands we hear of who are turning their back on the sport in search of an alternative and worthwhile living.
Okay, so nobody forced them into greyhound racing but the vast majority of them got involved at a time when things were infinitely better than they are now and Aylesbury-based trainer Mick Peterson, son of another top trainer in his time, John Peterson, would vouch for that.
Peterson jnr, 28, followed his father into the sport but he has been forced to wave the white flag like others before him and will have had his last runners at GRA tracks Oxford and Hall Green, or anywhere else for that matter, come the end of May.
NOTTINGHAM came close to emulating that famous triple dead-heat in the marathon at Romford last year when on Monday a dead-heat for first and second was followed home by a short-head third and had the stewards looking for their magnifying glasses to ascertain the outcome of the William Hill Stayers Trophy.
In the end the stewards decided that nowt could separate the Charlie Lister OBE trained Tyrur Pudsy and Terry Munslow’s locally-trained Conkon for first and it was Maudabawn Jenny who came within a whisker a forcing another triple dead-heat!
It was a remarkable night at Nottingham as in the very next race there was another dead-heat for first, this time between Takemetherelater and Romeo Alliance in a once-round open while less than a length behind in third was Hather George.
Getting back to triple dead-heats, GOBATA’s Chris Page graded a triple at Walthamstow in the early 2000s but this and the Romford race apart we can only recall one other three-timer and this was at White City some time around 1974BC. Can’t remember the three winners sadly.
As for the Nottingham stewards, they must have gone to Specsavers!
IT’S Dog Day Afternoon at Swindon on Good Friday next week when Swindon host the BAGS/SIS Easter Bunny grand finals meeting - all nine of them - and before you run away with the idea that Gaming International have converted the track into a drive-in movie park fear not, the dogs will have pride of pace in betting shops nationwide with no horseracing taking place on the Holy day.
Better of course to go along to the meeting if you can, admission won’t cost you a bean and you will be treated to some exciting racing with those finals run over the sprint, standard and stayers’ distances, something to suit all tastes then.
The meeting is the climax to a seemingly unending series of qualifying races but the big day has come, almost, and each of those nine finals will carry a winner’s prize of £750, making the total purse for the meeting around the £12,000 mark for a competition which, by the end of it all, will have seen £100,000 going to some satisfied owners and trainers.
Students of form, either at the track or in the betting shops, will have the assistance of price guides for all races with the bookmakers expected to price up each and every race, possibly in advance of finals day.
Better to concentrate don’t you think on the live stuff, proper racing as it is affectionately known, rather than the Walt Disney-type productions that are Millersfield, Thunder Alley and Portman Park etc, etc, etc . . . zzzzzzzzz!
Not a single runner in the book this morning but the usual pick-up has begun...
ONE of the many frustrating aspects of working in a racing office is those trainers who wait until the eleventh hour to enter greyhounds for open races and a topical case in point is the Bettor.com Scottish Derby at Shawfield, which closes to entries tomorrow and gets under way on Saturday.
This morning, with little more than 24 hours to the closing deadline, the Glasgow track’s racing office had not a single entry in the book but by mid-morning a trickle turned into, well if not quite a flood, the typical last-minute rush with 13 runners in the book leaving the Shawfield hotline more difficult to get through to than the White House!
“The phones are going mad as I speak,” said racing manager Daniel Rankin “and I expect it to stay like this all day! Why trainers leave it so late I don’t know but all of us here are accustomed to it, I suppose you could call it an occupational hazard.”
PROMOTERS here take note that “recognising the increased costs of travel...” the Irish Greyhound Board, following on from major increases in prizemoney at the top end, Dublin track Harolds Cross will from next Friday be offering increased prizemoney.
The rises will focus on open races, A1 and A2 events with winners in these spheres getting a boost from 250 euros up to 400 thank you very much but equally good news is that seconds and thirds will also benefit with runner-ups now receiving 100 euros (up from 70) and thirds 50 euros (up from 30).
Rewarding the also-ran prizemoney is what trainers are pressing for here and while we are waiting for the powers that be to address the matter positively Irish owners and trainers will be both grateful and relieved that their difficulties have been recognised and acted upon.
Prizemoney for all other races at the Cross will remain at the current level and while some would quibble that only the higher class dogs will be in receipt of the boost it is a move in the right direction by the Board and one which will go down well with Irish owners and trainers.
Now just wait for owners and trainers of dogs at the lower end of the Harolds Cross scale to ask for similar increases, betcha a euro to a cent they will!
Six-figure purse looks sure to see the Irish here in numbers!
A RICHEST ever first prize of £125,000 for this year’s William Hill Derby promises to attract not only an against the trend bumper entry but also a larger contingent of Irish raiders, despite the fact of course that there are plenty of counter-attractions over yonder.
With the Easter Cup getting under way at Shelbourne tomorrow and the event likely to uncover a new talent or three, a good number of runners in the Dublin competition will likely be targeted at Wimbledon, including a strong hand it is anticipated of the Dolores Ruth’s Razldazl squad.
Team leader is likely to be Razldazl George, who runs in the opening heat at the Ringsend track tomorrow and who last year won four of his seven races at Wimbledon, only to disappoint somewhat behind Taylors Sky in the Derby final when all didn’t look well with the Rathangan runner.
THE Secretary advises that GOBATA’s annual general meeting will be held at 2pm on Sunday, 22nd April at a venue to be announced and we would ask all members to make every effort to attend. Membership is available on our website.
AFTER a slow pick up Galway now look certain to stage their Betfair 600 Trial Stakes this Friday, having at one stage being “badly stuck” for runners said racing manager Ollie Hester.
“I was looking for all six runners earlier in the week but now I’m confident the race will fill,” said Hester, who freely admits that his track is constantly in competition with state of the art Limerick a few miles down the road from Galway.
“Limerick is a higher end track and understandably attracts the top dogs but I’m both pleased and relieved that our race will go ahead,” added the RM
The winner will qualify for entry into the Betfair 600 proper at Shelbourne next month and it is a race steeped in tradition, greyhound historians amongst you will recall the event under its previous title, the Guinness 600 and Ladbrokes 600.
Other trial stakes for the event have been/are at Cork, Tralee and Limerick while the winner of the Cesarewitch at Mullingar will also qualify automatically.
NO frilly bits and pieces in tonight’s Sky coverage of the Betfair Trainers’ Championship meeting at Perry Barr but wall to wall coverage of the big event with interviews throughout with the six competing handlers and snapshots of some of the runners at home at their kennels.
“I hope the competition is exciting as it has been for the past two years when we had to wait for the very last heat to determine the winner,” said producer Dave Lawrence, “I’m fingers crossed it goes right to the wire again!
“Charlie (Mr Lister OBE) has a very strong team and looks the one to beat but I’m hoping our dog gives him a run for his money in the third leg.” Lawrence owns Guinness Kev in partnership with brother Clive, Hobbsy, Darrell and a “couple of Wimbledon owners” and the lads fancy their chances from the outside box.
They have backed him and one live wire snapped up the 12-1 early doors this morning, none of that was left by the time the rest of the gang rang their bookies! “The price went immediately after one of us got the 12-1, I’ll just have to get up earlier in future,” threatened Lawrence.
Also in the show will be recordings of last week’s Puppy Derby won by Pat Rosney’s Newinn Rocket at Monmore and Saturday’s SIS Gold Cup final at Shelbourne where Milldean Panther, winner of his first 12 races, has now been beaten in his two most recent!