Dunham team run away with Premier League title at Doncaster

JANE HOUFTON, team captain of BETDAQ Premier League champions Dunham Devils, heaped praise on team member Kelly Findlay after last night’s clear-cut win in which the Devils finished the competition more than ten points clear of runner-up Matt Dartnall and his Team Desperate.

Mrs Findlay sent out no fewer than three of the five last round winners, and they didn’t need the aid of a photo-finish to determine the outcome, the fabulous three romped to a 14-length aggregate winning margin!

“Kelly is a top trainer, her dogs are running very well and it was great to have her in the team,” said Mrs Houfton. “All our team members have loved every minute of the Premier League, it really is a great concept and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

“See you in the second division next time,” he says

SEAMUS CAHILL, languishing at the foot of the BETDAQ Premier League table under the guise of the Irish Rovers, will need a near miracle to take the title at Doncaster tomorrow when both the PL and the GOBATA Championship will eventually be decided.

Cahill’s squad will take just 28 points into the final round, some 24 points behind narrow leaders Imperial Rock Its representing Mark Wallis and Paul Sallis and doesn’t rate his chances of overhauling those at the top of the pile.

“Far from winning the Premier League I’m getting accustomed to the idea that I’ll be in division two next time around so that hope for a miracle is looking like even less than a dot on the horizon! But the dogs will be doing their best, it’s really out of my hands now.”

The trainer attributes his league placing to “what has been a very slow start to the year for the kennels.” He added: “We had kennel sickness and coughing here through January and this set everything back a few weeks, we’re gradually getting going again but as far as the Premier League is concerned it looks like the comeback will be too late.

“We’ve all got an extra joker this time and I’ve nominated Skywalkershearer and Rayvin Again but at this stage I don’t really know who’s joking who! When the competition comes around again though we’ll be going for it big time but I wouldn’t want any more problems like we had this time with the sickness.”

It’s grand finals night at Doncaster..

THE trap draw for the final round of both the BETDAQ Premier League and GOBATA Championship,  to be run at Doncaster on Friday, produced some intriguing contests yesterday and probably none more so than the last leg of the League, the eleventh race on the card.

The race brings together Local Dee Jay from the much in-form Kelly Findlay kennels but whose aspirations as a hurdler have been put on the burner behind the bank burner. He never took to the  jumping game but as a flat runner he is up there with the best of them.

The Dee Jay has a perfect pitch in trap one and will need it with the presence in the line up of Munster Champ and Mags Gamble but there is no ignoring his splendid 29.33sec. (calculated) trial here last week and if stepping out smartly the others will need to play catch up.

Munster Champ looks the big danger, he has been in good form for Mark Wallis (Imperial Rock Its) recently and, conversely, he too could not be better drawn in trap six. Mags Gamble was beaten in an untidy race at Newcastle on Saturday and the form should not be taken at face value.

One peculiarity to emerge from the draw is the presence of Munster Champ in that final leg of the Premier League. Peculiar because the dog is owned in partnership by Team North East captain, Ian Lavery MP, but runs for the Mark Wallis and Paul Sallis side.

How this came about we are unsure but Team North East are represented here by Mags Gamble from the Harry Williams kennel and could be the chief threat to Local Dee Jay and Munster Champ.

While the Premier League offers a feast of top class racing the four legs of the GOBATA Championship look equally fascinating, particularly the puppy race in which Dean Childs introduces the September baby, Aero Lillie.

Running for the first time in front of what will likely be a full house at Doncaster is a big ask for one so young but she ran a very smart 29.57sec. solo here last week and clearly has ability and is one for the notebook, if not for Saturday!

Her main rival is surely Farloe Kyle as a hound out of the Barrie Draper kennel these days is synonymous with winner. He too has run a good trial here but is drawn in trap four and on the immediate outside of the Childs runner, it is to be hoped they don’t spoil the other’s chances on the dash down to the first bend.

Plenty then to look forward to up in Yorkshire this Friday and for those of you who can’t get to the track you can see it all live on Premier Sports (Sky channel 433) – don’t miss it.

DONCASTER last night was unrecognisable from seven days earlier there when the Premier League meeting was lost due to freezing temperatures and the accompanying crusty track conditions.

But many of the trainers who will hope to go back to Donny next Friday were out in force last night when no fewer than 33 aspirants for the final round of the BETDAQ Premier League and GOBATA Championship were put through their paces in trials.

“Unlike last Friday the track was in brilliant condition and there were some decent runs by the dogs coming back here next week,” said racing manager, Mick Smith. “I particularly liked the look of Matt Dartnall’s Ballymac Pet in a six-bender who, although she was caught close home, was impressive nevertheless and she’ll be a force to reckon with in the stayers’ race next week.”

Eleventh hour cancellation thwarts one and all..

DESPITE the tireless efforts of the groundstaff at Doncaster on Friday the BETDAQ Premier League meeting there was cancelled at the eleventh hour when plummeting temperatures way below the local forecast forced the meeting to be called off.

In the hours leading up to the start of the meeting it was all hands to the pump in an effort to keep the surface frost free but when it dipped to minus eight degrees, five degrees colder than forecast, the management, after consultation with the vet and trainers, admitted defeat.

The meeting was eventually cancelled just minutes before the first race was due off and there was hardly a complaining word from owners and trainers. “We’re all going home with the same number of dogs as we came here with and they are all sound, that’s what matters,” was how Mark Wallis summed up the decision to cancel.

Premier channel for Premier event!....

THOSE with access to Premier Sports (Sky channel 433) will have no excuses for missing a single race as the Inaugural BETDAQ Premier League Greyhounds builds to a climax on grand finals night at Doncaster on February 24.

The first qualifiers went out on Sky last week and supported the Yorkshire St Leger final but for those who have expressed concern that they will be unable to watch the remaining five meetings of the Premier League need not fear.

Yes, Premier Sports is a subscription channel but come 7.30pm on Saturday, 3 December, the Yarmouth qualifiers, and what a show this promises to be, will be available to ‘all-comers’ as the station switches over to free view.

There are five nights of the Premier League coverage to come, after the Yarmouth qualifiers in little less than a fortnight’s time the cameras go back to the Norfolk track on January 14 and 28 for the Premier League proper and then to Doncaster on 10 February and then back to the Yorkshire venue when the event will draw to a conclusion.

DONCASTER’S Yvonne Freeborn says she was pleased with Wednesday’s meeting featuring the BETDAQ Premier League Greyhounds qualifiers and Yorkshire St Leger final.

Company secretary Freeborn stated that this was the first-ever Wednesday meeting at the track and said that “all things considered I was pleased with what was a very exciting meeting and pleased also with the attendance.”

She continued: “As it was the first midweek meeting we’ve ever had and bearing in mind that greyhound folk are creatures of habit and not used to racing here on a Wednesday we did fine and don’t plan to do anything different when the Premier league returns here.”

The Premier League grand finals night goes ahead at Doncaster in February.

IF you had a pound to win on each of the six Premier League ‘joker’ dogs at Doncaster on Wednesday and your selections included Granard Bound (2-1) and Miss Magpie (12-1) then you would have more than doubled your money - £16 back for a your £6 outlay!

That said, you would almost have had a heart attack watching those two winners just about scrape  home, Granard Bound by a head in the leg two and Miss Magpie by a short-head in leg four. But, as the saying goes, an inch is as good as a mile and well done if you were on.

That trainers were not trying to pull the wool over the punters’ eyes was obvious as many of the jokers ran with credit and one or two were unlucky. It was clear that the backers were taking the jokers seriously and this is why it is our intention to name the jokers 24 hours in advance from now on.

The next qualifying races are at Yarmouth on December 3 and you can check out just whose jokers are whose by visiting our website the day before, and we’re not joking!  

And the Premier League gets a warm welcome too at Doncaster  

IT wasn’t to be a winning swansong for Droopys Arshavin in the Yorkshire St Leger final at Doncaster, that man Lister spoiling the party again with his ultra consistent Lonely Boy, whose 41.08sec. winning time was the fastest of the entire competition.

50 points for Charlie in the Trainers’ Championship closes him in on Mark Wallis and Chris Allsopp at the top of the table and write him off at your peril. It was Charleys Noire who ran second to Lonely Boy with the game but luckless Droopys Arshavin back in third.

The inaugural races in the Premier League proved extremely popular and with teams playing their jokers, a cluster of top trainers and top class greyhounds, all helped make it a recipe for success. Original ante-post favourites, Team North East, topped the points totals on 28 followed by The Mad Hatters on 25, Team Canissage 23, Pit Yackers 22, Allsopp Race Firm 19 and STT 18. 

. . . and the BETDAQ Premier League also gets under way on an outstanding card    
IF you can’t get to Doncaster tonight then slippers on, pull up the armchair, ask her indoors to leave you in peace and then soak up the Sky Sports 3 coverage of the big night.

The meeting, featuring the final of the Yorkshire St Leger, is complemented by the first qualifying races of the BETDAQ Premier League Greyhounds and all five races, along with the Leger decider, will go out live, plus two other events.

Two of the Leger finalists, Droopys Arshavin and Native Spree, are trained by Stuart Mason and George Oswald respectively and they are in for a busy night as both also have runners in the Premier League.

Their staying dogs have performed admirably in the Leger and look sure to be in the hunt for the £8,000 purse but supporters would do well to consider the fact that both finished behind Lonely Boy, trained by a certain Mr Lister, in the Great North Run at Newcastle last month, as did another of tonight’s finalists, Luminous Park.