BY the time the Premier League qualifiers are all over at Yarmouth this Saturday chances are that Bury St Edmunds trainer Eric Cantillon will need a new set of tyres for his dog van – and a service too come to that!
“I brought three dogs over from Ireland for the Premier League and they all ran three trials in ten days and I‘m back again at Yarmouth tonight and Wednesday with other dogs I have in mind for the competition,” said Cantillon, whose kennels have been in outstanding form in recent weeks.
A trainer who clearly leaves nothing to chance, Cantillon’s Blackrose Jets team are, according to the man, all in fine fettle. “The dogs from Ireland would have had ten days to freshen up come Saturday while the rest of them are on their toes.
“My family and I are really looking forward to Yarmouth and you can sense the camaraderie amongst us trainers, it’s great stuff.” So is a table in the restaurant at the Norfolk track at the weekend, but try getting one, Eric tried . . . and has been accommodated, mind you he booked weeks ago!
Saturday’s BETDAQ card live on Premier Sports
THE draw for the Yarmouth qualifiers in the BETDAQ Premier League this Saturday produced some interesting contests yesterday and Kelly Findlay, representing Jane Houfton’s Dunham Devils, will be particularly pleased with the trap one plucked out for her Kent Derby runner-up, Local Dee Jay.
The dog, who came over from Ireland just before the Derby with the intention of trying his hand at hurdling, has been schooled over the jumps but has never in fact raced competitively over hurdles, having done nicely thank you restricted to the flat, winning seven times in 19 starts.
But trap one or not, the Dee Jay will need to be on his toes against the likes of Matt Dartnall’s Farloe Ironman, a fast improving youngster who has won five of his nine opens including the last two in smart time over 515 metres at galloping Hove.
“We’re the outsiders but will learn plenty,” he says
JIM REYNOLDS, captain of the Romford Raiders BETDAQ Premier League team, says the competition is a work in progress as far he and his fellow team-mates are concerned.
“We are going to Yarmouth on Saturday as outsiders for the event and we knew we would before even entering,” said Reynolds, “but we’re all looking forward to the challenge and we will do our best and, should we happen to qualify, well it would be a big bonus!
“What we will take away from the inaugural running is the knowledge of how to approach the Premier League next time round. It is very much a learning curve for the Romford Raiders this time and we will learn plenty from the experience.”
However, not everyone shares the captain’s PL prospects, and this includes the punter who tried to back the Reynolds team at a first show 500-1! Did he know something the team members didn’t know?
Yarmouth prepared for a Premier League full house....
YARMOUTH have been busy with trials the past week and expect more of the same during the next few days as trainers put their runners through their final paces in readiness for next Saturday’s big meeting there featuring the final qualifiers in the BETDAQ Premier League.
It will be a very busy night up there in Norfolk and if anyone wants a place in the restaurant then you might be best advised to seek the whereabouts of Stan Flashman, who could probably get you tickets for a royal wedding if you had enough dosh!
Local trainer Mark Wallis will have plenty of supporters next weekend and, partnered by Paul Sallis, says between them “we have a strong team.” Wallis continued: “I reckon it will be a great night, I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me they will be going, the atmosphere will be fantastic.” Wallis plans to trial four of the team on Monday.
. . . but the Dunham team are keeping mum
THE Dunham Devils BETDAQ Premier League team spokesman Mick Livesey is keeping his powder dry when it comes to naming their prospective runners for the Yarmouth qualifiers on Saturday week - and can’t be persuaded to give us much of an inkling!
No names, no pack drill then, but the Devils have a formidable look about them, trainer why that is, with Dunham Greyhound Centre proprietor Jane Houfton, James Hayton, Kelly Findlay, Liz McNair and Tony Collett all combining with Livesey to muster a big challenge.
“We’re keeping quiet about team selection for the time being, the less said the better as far as we’re concerned, but this much I would say, we have a pretty strong-looking squad of runners and, without wishing to boast, can tell you that we fancy our chances,” said Livesey.
Their CVs are second to none!
IF it were to be decided on experience then the Golden Oldies team of John Coleman (captain), Charlie Lister, Nick Savva and Martin White are as good as weighed-in for the BETDAQ Premier League title!
The show moves on to the Yarmouth qualifiers on 3 December and you can see it live on Premier Sports (Sky channel 433 from 7.30pm onwards) but, from what we can make of it, as likely as not there will be more greyhound fans making the trek to Norfolk than there will be huddled around the box.
Between them, the Golden Oldies quartet have put more collars and leads on greyhounds than most of us have had hot dinners, no wonder then that their chances of PL glory are far from being under-estimated by those engrossed in the excitement of the competition.
THE Irish Rovers Premier League team will be a one man band at Yarmouth, courtesy of Seamus Cahill, who is yet another trainer who stresses the importance of a trial around the Norfolk circuit, who stage their qualifiers on 3 December.
“A few of mine went round last week and will be going back for a second look next week and I will finalise my team on Monday,” he said.
“All my dogs are fit and well, and just as well really as this really is a busy time what with the Oaks and Eclipse in progress and the big competitions coming up at Monmore at the Lawrence Jones Memorial festival.”
There is plenty of strength in depth at the Cahill kennels and that’s the main reason the trainer is among the PL favourites.
THE Hopefuls Premier League team nearly did themselves a disservice when one of their owners suggested “we could call ourselves the hopeless” says Simon Lee, kennelhand to Irene Barnard, team captain of the predominantly Yarmouth-based squad who are at ‘home’ in the Norfolk qualifier on Saturday week.
However, a team member put a spin on the Hopeless tag and came up with The Hopefuls instead. “And that’s just what we are,” continued Lee, “we are hopeful more than confident as all the top trainers are taking up the challenge.
“But we are confident that we have a good team and one thing’s for sure, we won’t be beaten for lack of course knowledge. Yarmouth isn’t the easiest track in the world to run but most of our dogs know their way round there pretty well.”
Pruhs and Allsop dogs go on trial twice at Yarmouth...
THE word on the street is that team F@Ds Slick Rocknrollers will take a lot of beating in the BETDAQ Premier League Greyhounds championship and when that confidence is backed up by team member David Pruhs then the Peter Goodfellow-skippered side must be taken seriously.
The F@Ds go to Yarmouth on Saturday week for their qualifying races and Pruhs, along with team colleague Keith Allsop, won’t need the satnav to find their way there!
“We are taking the Premier League very seriously,” said Pruhs. “Keith’s going for his second lot of trials there on Thursday and I’ll be back for a second look round for the dogs at the weekend. I’m not sure what folk are saying but with Frank Taylor and Paul Young completing the team we must be in with a fair sort of chance.”
He wouldn’t take 150-1 about Premier League chances now...
THEY say there is strength in numbers but try telling that to Dave Smith, captain of the Greyhoundscene Dream Team BETDAQ Premier League side.
Dave heads up a team of five trainers and has been planning his strategy for a number of weeks along with team-mates Jim Daly, Lee Gifkins, Phil Simmonds and John Mullins but the sick, lame and lazy list has all but scuppered most of those plans.
“When I put the team together I really thought we had a good chance of winning the Premier League,” said Smith. “We are currently 25-1 with Sports Bookmakers to take the title but due to unforeseen circumstances we should now be trading at around the 150-1 mark and I’m not sure I’d even be interested in that price!”