...including the bookmakers after Victoria Falls’ 25-1 National victory!
TUESDAY’S Sky show from the Grand National meeting at Wimbledon had a real buzz about it, provided by some thrilling finishes plus more newsy and interesting pieces than usual and, if there were ratings for Mr Murdoch’s greyhound racing shows, then this week’s would be close to the top of the pile.
More on the big race shock later but you have to hand it to Ricky Holloway and his supporters of the Save Our Stow (SOS) campaign who, when the opportunity arises, don’t miss a single trick in getting their message out there!
Every parader at Wimbledon wore a white coat bearing the SOS logo while every runner wore a red jacket on parade with the same message, including the website address where folk can lodge their objections to the housing development plans of the owners of the Walthamstow site, London & Quadrant.
National saved by a whisker but is the thrill wearing off?
THERE has been some debate recently over the decline in popularity of hurdles racing with, for instance, today’s piece in the Racing Post by Richard Birch in an interview with Wimbledon trainer, Jason Foster, highlighting the point.
“The outlook is bleak,” says Foster, “and my biggest worry is that nobody seems to be doing anything about it.” He alludes to the fact that if it were not for a last-minute sponsor coming forward for this year’s Grand National “there might not have been one...”
That hurdle racing is nowhere near as popular as it was in the seventies and eighties is undeniable yet, at the same time, there is no denying that it makes for a fine spectacle, especially for racegoers new to the sport.
Dartnall’s hot dog downs the Caffreys...
MATT DARTNALL could round off August with back-to-back big race wins when Farloe Skywalker lines up for tonight’s Primus Saver Grand National final at Wimbledon.
The race is worth £7,500 to the winner, the same as Farloe Iceman picked up for the Dartnall camp for his win 24 hours earlier in the Caffreys Puppy Classic final over 500 metres at Nottingham.
Not lacking in the early pace department, the Iceman never saw another rival when bolting up by four lengths in 29.79sec., improving chunks on his winning times in the heats and semi-finals.
The winner is from a September 09 litter by Premier Fantasy out of Farloe Reserve, the same dam as the Dartnall National finalist, whose sire is Droopys Kewell.
The Iceman was the joint eldest dog in the Nottingham final along with Ted Soppitt’s Skywalker Teddy, who chased home the winner.
*Wimbledon’s Grand National meeting is on Sky Sports 3 at 7.30pm
Owners and trainers give a big vote of confidence to BAGS experiment...
IT was a case of déjà vu at Sittingbourne on Sunday night where, following the previous Sunday’s open race extravaganza, the ‘house full’ signs were posted in the restaurant and, while it wasn’t exactly shoulder to shoulder out on the terraces, it was a sizeable throng nevertheless.
There has been a great buzz at the Medway track these past two Sundays, with owners and trainers, not necessarily those in the higher echelons of their profession, grateful, no make that delighted, that the meetings have provided them with plenty of opportunity to run their greyhounds in opens.
And the Sittingbourne racing office staff have certainly done their bit in catering for all tastes by advertising opens over all distances - they raced over six distances on Sunday! - and nobody has complained about the quality of entry.
Reigning champ McGuigan knocked out in round four...
THERE will be no repeat of last year’s Irish Derby final result following a night of upsets in the quarter-finals (round four) at Shelbourne Park on Saturday.
So many of the leading fancies waved goodbye to the competition that the chances of the hitherto so-called lesser lights are now looking a good deal brighter!
Out went the Fahy dogs Tyrur McGuigan and Tyrur Big Mike, first and second, in that order, in the final 12 months ago, while most considered the elimination of Razldazl Jayfkay the biggest turn up for the night.
But it’s crunch time at Shelbourne tonight...
EVERYONE is entitled to an opinion and ours is that as the event closes in on the final stages of the Ladbrokes Irish Derby this renewal is one of the best in memory in terms of competitiveness and sheer class.
Okay, so we haven’t witnessed any track records at Shelbourne Park - and are unlikely to - but this is a fascinating competition with more than just one fairytale just waiting to happen at the end of it all in a fortnight’s time.
We are down to the last 24 tonight and many questions will be answered, such as will an in-season bitch who already has a litter of six months on the ground down in Tralee progress, will Dolores Ruth’s apparent stranglehold on the event continue and will the Fahy camp see last year’s first two in the final, the Tyrurs McGuigan and Big Mike, move into the penultimate round?
Puppy open puzzler at Crayford...
WHO was it that once described greyhound racing as animated roulette? Got it yet, well it was none other than Sir Winston Churchill in making one of the rare gaffs of his distinguished career and one which hardly endeared him to the sport’s populous and still rankles to this day more than half a century later!
But those then who stand by the Churchill line will no doubt be lumping on a runner in the puppy open at Crayford this weekend. That this is a notoriously tight track and not everyone’s cup of tea is reflected in the entry for the race,
there is not a single visiting runner in the 540 metres line up.
However, what more appropriate winner would there be than the trap one runner, the Julie Luckhurst-trained Droopys Roulette? Mind you, he wouldn’t be our idea of the winner, although the Racing Post puts him forward as the one most likely to succeed.
British-bred Derby the highlight of a superb card on Sunday...
LAST Sunday it was the John Smith’s Kent Derby final at Sittingbourne and if that tremendous meeting wasn’t enough to give you an open race hangover, in the nicest possible way that is, there is more of the same down at the Medway track this Sunday!
No fewer than 13 opens are down for decision, ranging from a two-bend dash up to a testing eight-bender for the Knockies Hannah TV Trophy Final Challenge and, in all, races over six distances, a feast if ever there was.
Total prizemoney for the meeting exceeds £12,400, so plenty in it for the owners and trainers and there’s something for racegoers too, other than the racing, to look forward to, Sittingbourne are waiving admission charges for the night, so you are six quid up before you start!
...but truth is that breeding is still in decline...
WHILE everyone lately is waxing enthusiasm over British breeding, thanks in no small part to the Dunham Greyhound Centre’s sponsorship of British-bred Derbys at Newcastle and Sittingbourne, the bottom line is that home production has never been at such a low ebb.
The statistics are down, and still on the slide, both here and in Ireland with the trend across the pond brought on by the not so gradual decline of tracks in Britain.
Fewer tracks spells fewer meetings, with the inevitable knock-on effect that the demand for greyhounds has diminished considerably in recent years. Add to this the depressing economic climate, the price of fuel and everything else, and the upshot is that fewer people are in the market for dogs.
Newcastle next for Macari runner...
FARMING the big races in the north is fast becoming a lucrative business for County Durham trainer, Kelly Macari who, on Tuesday, won her second consecutive Steel City Cup final at Sheffield with Mill Bling Bling.
Successful in the competition 12 months ago with Mill Pinpoint, she later took Pinpoint to Newcastle where he won the £10,000 All England Cup. Since then, however, he has had more than his fair share of setbacks but in Mill Bling Bling she has a more than capable fall back.
“He ran a cracking race on Tuesday and everyone here, the owners, staff and whoever else wants to join in, will go out for a big celebration dinner next week,” said Mrs Macari, who celebrated her 26th birthday the day after the Sheffield race.