And just to think, at the beginning the ruling body would only grant him a permit licence!

THERE is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Charlie Lister will be putting up his kennel charges despite the fact that he has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list for his services to greyhound racing!

The award pays not only a huge compliment to the man from Newark but also to greyhound racing as a whole as no such recognition has ever been bestowed on the sport and it is an honour that Lister had no idea was coming his way.

Lister, GOBATA vice-chairman, with typical modesty, said today that he sees the OBE as an award not so much to himself but to the game he loves so much, a game which, it would not be outrageous to suggest, he is a master of.

 
 
Kelly’s dog is in training as a hurdler... 

KELLY FINDLAY, on top of the world after her best-ever season as a trainer, says her sights are now firmly fixed on the BETDAQ Premier League proper.

“It was marvellous to finish fourth in the trainers’ table and to be amongst the likes of Charlie Lister, Chris Allsopp and Mark Wallis but the new year is nearly here and it’s time to start all over again and now and we’re going flat out for the Premier League,” said Kelly.

The Billericay-based trained is a strong link in the Dunham Devils team captained by Jane Houfton who, along with husband Dave, is firmly committed to the BETDAQ event. “They are really behind the competition as are the rest of the squad,” added Kelly.

She intends to trial several runners within the next ten days or so in readiness for the Yarmouth rounds on January 14 and 28 and, in Local Dee Jay, who has done her proud on the flat this year, the dog will go into the competition with an unorthodox preparation.

 
 
. . . and kennel inspections deter ‘Greyhound Trainers’

REGISTRATIONS of trainers with the GBGB are falling at a rate of 100 a year while the number of new greyhounds registered is also dropping.

Trainers, new or current, must apply for renewals at year end and, as was the case in 2010 when the drop was 105 compared with the previous 12 months, a similar drop is expected when the numbers for 2012 are counted.

GBGB registrar Dave Levy anticipates a similar fall off for the new year, although the final count won’t be known for a few weeks yet. “We give trainers a week or so’s grace to get their renewals in, some get lost in the post and the like, but it’s looking like the numbers will fall at a similar rate which would give us approximately 900 registrations for 2012,” he said.

 
 
And Williams pays tribute to Ian Lavery’s efforts

HARRY WILLIAMS, an integral member of BETDAQ Premier League side Team North East, says that team captain, Ian Lavery MP, is calling his side together for a tactical talk at the Newcastle meeting on Thursday.

“Ian is very much focused on the Premier League and playing a true captain’s part,” said Williams. “He sends texts on a regular basis to all the team members so that we all know what’s going on and Thursday’s get together is essentially to consider our team for the first round proper.

“Ian has taken on the responsibility of running the show and really is a great man for greyhound racing, his enthusiasm is infectious. It would be great if we could reward his efforts by winning the competition.”

 
 
CHARLES FANOUS’ Mad Hatters BETDAQ Premier League team will be put through their paces at Yarmouth in early January in preparation for the competition proper at the Norfolk track.

“I’ll be trialling dogs, so too will Karen Peake and Paul Philpott and, depending on who does what and how quickly, we will start to put our Yarmouth squad together,” said Charles.

Almost certain of a place in the Mad Hatters team skippered by Fanous is Miss Magpie, a 12-1 winning joker for them in the qualifying round at Doncaster. “She was a good thing I thought,” added the Premarket man, “and never mind the 12-1 SP, some of us had 16s!”

But he won’t, however, be sending out too many more winners from his Papplewick, Notts kennels and is looking forward to a new challenge. “I’ve sold my house and will soon need to dismantle the kennels as the family is moving to the south of France,” he continued.
 
 
A few alterations here and there but pretty much it’s as you were
JUDGING from what the BETDAQ Premier League qualifying trainers have to say there are unlikely to be wholesale changes from the runners that have carried them through to the first round proper at Yarmouth and Doncaster.

One or two handlers say they may make changes to their runners but the overall feeling is that it will be pretty much a case of as you were, including Mark Wallis, who envisages perhaps just one, at the most two, changes to his original line-up.

Wallis’s Imperial Rock Its team will be no pushover in the Premier League, where he is partnered by the in-form Paul Sallis, not that Mark is out of form exactly, is he ever! “Between us we have a decent squad but I’ll definitely be looking to boost the team with an open racer or two,” he said.

 
 
WILL the six teams who do battle in the first round proper of the BETDAQ Premier League flex their muscles when the competition gets serious at Yarmouth and Doncaster in January and February?

While the qualifying round produced some top class action at those venues, team captains with aspirations of lifting the overall BETDAQ championship title will be giving considerable thought on how to improve their chances of outright victory.

Team North East, captained by Ian Lavery, Imperial Rock Its, led by Mark Wallis and Team Desperate, under the sole charge of Matt Dartnall, won their qualifying groups, thereby upholding the bookmakers’ view that these are the squads to be feared. 
 
 
Quarantine ban lifted after two dogs die following trials...

IT was business as usual for trainer Paul White at Hall Green on Monday following the lifting of GBGB quarantine restrictions at his Stoke-on-Trent kennels which were imposed after the death of two of his trial runners at the track earlier this month.

The restrictions, put in place while the ruling body awaited results of post-mortems on the two greyhounds, were lifted on Friday after the tests came back negative for any infectious diseases. The tests were conducted by former Coventry vet, Richard Payne.

“Everything was shut down here and the GBGB also ordered tests on another 15 runners at the kennels and all, thankfully, were given the green light,” said White, who described the past two weeks as the “worst weeks of my life in greyhound racing.”

 
 
Bull and Pooley two more trainers to quit for pastures new

ONE of the ever-growing number of trainers to leave the sport recently is the Gainsborough-based David Bull, who has ceased his attachment to Nottingham and is now “doing better thank you” running a cafe-cum-bistro in his home town.

“The catering business was a far better option for me than greyhound racing which, I am sad to say, is no investment at all these days,” said Bull, who joined the Colwick Park track six years ago but who has now “packed it up altogether.”
He continued: “In the end I just couldn’t make the greyhound business pay and I really had only two options, stay in the game or get out and into something altogether new, it was a no brainer, I’m now out of the dogs and doing okay.

 
 
New home for the Grand National...

THE GRA have played musical chairs with their big races again, but with a different spin this time. Stadium closures over the years have seen our biggest track-owning combine shuffle around major races such as the Cesarewitch and Scurry Gold Cup to the point that it became difficult to keep up with what event was where!

They kept those competitions within the group but the GRA have given the boot to the Grand National at Wimbledon, an event which nearly died a death this year until Primus Telecom stepped in with a sponsorship deal.

In future the National will no longer be staged at a GRA track but at Sittingbourne, who will run the competition alongside the Kent Derby with the two finals scheduled for August 21. Sky have provisionally booked live coverage of what will be a bumper meeting.