‘And it’s not mission impossible for Henlow,’ says RM...
THE GOBATA/Primus Telecommunications Grass Roots Intertrack competition draws to a conclusion on Thursday when Henlow host the third and final Southern leg, the six heats making up the bulk of what promises to be a first-class card with seven open races supporting the main event.
Those races include two heats of the Primus Telecom Seniors’ Derby, aka veterans’ Derby, where the eldest contender will be Matt Dartnall’s June 06 Me Buddy. The sprightly old-timer ran a highly satisfactory solo over 460 metres here last week and will be the one to beat from a prime trap one draw.
The ‘house full’ signs almost went up at Harlow on Saturday for the middle leg of the Grass Roots with racing manager Mark Schellenberg stating “the place was packed and far better than a normal Saturday meeting.”
GOBATA’S Dave Smith, whose branchild it was to get the Grass Roots show on the road with the able assistance of Terry Saunders and Chris Page, is delighted the competition has gone so well, so much so that he is keen to bring together Doncaster and the winners of the southern leg in a national Grass Roots final.
“Everything has gone very much as I hoped it would and I’m absolutely chuffed,” enthused Dave. “In fact it has gone down so well with the tracks that it’s absolutely crying out for a national final,” he said. “It could be run in the same format as the regional events with six heats both home and away.
“But to see this come to fruition we require a sponsor, or joint sponsor or even several joint sponsors, for each leg at £800 and if there is anyone out there prepared to come forward I would be delighted to hear from them, they can contact me on 07981 676357,” added Dave.
Harlow hopeful of outright victory at Henlow on Thursday...
THE £6,000 GOBATA/Primus Telecommunications Grass Roots Intertrack Championship could be accused of being stage-managed after a tremendous second leg at Harlow on Saturday which resulted in just two points separating the promoting track and Mildenhall overall.
Harlow go into this Thursday’s third and final leg at Henlow on 89 points, Mildenhall on 87 with Henlow bringing up the rear on 75, a total which means that the Bedfordshire track are far from out of it with the benefit of home advantage. The points tally on Saturday was Harlow 57, Mildenhall 36 and Henlow 33.
Both Harlow and Mildenhall scored heavily in their home legs with Harlow on Saturday winning four of the six heats. “But the final outcome is no foregone conclusion,” says GOBATA member Dave Smith, organiser of the competition along with Terry Saunders and Chris Page, also both GOBATA members.
. . . and read on for their secret weapon in the five box!
HARLOW tonight stage the middle leg of the GOBATA/Primus Telecommunications Grass Roots Intertrack Championship and, just as it was at Mildenhall in the first leg of the round on Tuesday, home advantage looks sure to play a major part in the outcome.
If the Suffolk track is cocky then Harlow can at the very least be described as quirky and the local dogs can not only gain revenge but this time send Mildenhall home with the wooden spoon similar to the one grudgingly brought back to Essex by Harlow in midweek!
However, Henlow trainer Dennis Elliott fancies he will have an ‘away’ winner tonight with Hi Rumble, who runs from trap one in the penultimate leg of the round. He missed his break and was beaten at Mildenhall but this could be a successful recovery mission.
GOBATA'S Chris Page presents the trophy to
connections of the Eric Cantillon-trained
Blackrose George, Tuesday's home banker at Mildenhall
MILDENHALL seized the benefit of home advantage when comfortably beating Henlow and Harlow in the first leg of the GOBATA/Primus Telecommunications Grass Roots Intertrack championship (Southern Region) on Tuesday.
The Suffolk track ran up a total of 51 points, clear of Henlow on 42 while Harlow totalled 32. But while MIldenhall takes what looks a healthy lead into the Harlow leg on Saturday, racing manager Michael Hill is pessimistic about the chances of holding on to that lead.
“You would have expected us to score well around here but I think we will struggle in the two away legs, particularly at Harlow,” he said. “We are having a little difficulty getting our team together for the return races but we will get there and give it our best shot.”
MILDENHALL hosts the first leg of the southern region GOBATA/Primus Telecommunications Grass Roots Intertrack
competition next Tuesday and are looking forward to a big turn out for what promises to be an intriguing clash against Harlow and Henlow.
"We have yet to finalise our team but I’m delighted to say everyone here is looking forward to the competition," enthused Suzanne May, who describes herself as a 'jack of all trades' at the Suffolk track near Bury St Edmunds and which is directly under the flight-path of the nearby by US airforce base!
"The competition will be good for the stadium and a win would be even better but we are not under-estimating the
strength of the opposition. On our side, however, is the conformation of the track, there's nothing quite like it so we are confident of a good show from our runners who know the place inside out.
In the end, the inaugural GOBATA/Primus Telecommunications Grass Roots Interack Northern final went right to the wire in an exciting final at Doncaster on Sunday. Doncaster began the final trailing Pelaw by 51 to 40 points but Doncaster immediately began to eat in to the deficit, winning 3 of the first 4 races to trail by just 1 point going into the last 2 races.
Doncaster then claimed a 1-2-3 in both of the last two races to run out winners by 77 to 49 points on the night and give them an aggregate score over the two legs of 117 points to Pelaw's 100 points.
Doncaster racing manager Mick Smith hailed this first GOBATA Grass Roots Intertrack as a great success and thanked GOBATA and Primus Telecommunictions for their work in support of the event. Smith also thanked the Shawfield and Pelaw racing offices for all working together to make the event run as smoothly as it did, and gave a special mention to the efforts of the Doncaster trainers who travelled up to Pelaw for the away leg. Those trainers were amply rewarded for their efforts by being the anchors for this historic win.
Doncaster's reward is £1000 sponsorship money which is to go to putting on a £500 graded stake for local runners at the track, supported by 5 other graded races which will have £100 added to the winners' prize money.
Well done team Doncaster, the GOBATA/Primus Telecommunications Northern champions!
The Southern event kicks off at Mildenhall on Tuesday 10th May.
Just two days now to the final of the big event and trainers from both Pelaw and Doncaster are looking forward to the racing. Dave Batey from the Pelaw camp commented, "We're really looking forward to Sunday's final at Doncaster. It will be tough but we hope we can do our track proud."
Doncaster trainer Alan Stevens was also anticipating a great day's racing. "More events like this are needed for owners and trainers at non-BAGS tracks. I would love to see Doncaster win the final but not knowing the strength of the Pelaw dogs the result could go either way."
Doncaster go into the home leg of the final 11 points behind Pelaw who made the most of home soil advantage in the first leg. Pelaw will be taking plenty of travelling support to the final and a carnival atmosphere is anticipated with a close result looking likeliest.