Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
Top-class double-header is another TV treat
THE MONDAY COLUMN
FOLLOWING the variety-packed Crayford gala for the final of the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket last week, another cracking Sky card appears on Tuesday with the Racing Post/William Hill Springbok double-header from Wimbledon.
This year there are actually three features, additionally the final of the Lawrence Brothers Intertrack Trophy (9.24pm) marks 30 years of greyhound ownership by brothers Dave Lawrence (of Sky) and Clive (our RPGTV producer).
Dave has several runners on the card, and is involved with Ballygibbon King (7.26pm), Chicago (8.51pm) and Ballymac Brogan, the youngest in the Racing Post Juvenile.
Several of Crayford’s stars reappear, with Wiki Waki Woo, the Jacket winner, facing an even tougher challenge in Chicago’s race, the Racing Post Pricewise Stayers – an apt sponsorship, given the 33-1 Pricewise triumph by Jonathan Kay, who tipped Angie Kibble’s heroine before the Crayford event started.
Pricewise originated within the greyhound pages when the Racing Post was founded nearly 30 years ago – and then became an even more powerful and successful brand within horseracing thanks to some consistently tremendous tipping down the years.
Sadly missing from Wimbledon on Tuesday is St Leger champion Roxholme Dream – who had a rough ride in the semis at Crayford, where she effectively made the market for everything else.
The entire world knows the unwritten rule – the ante-post favourite can never win at Crayford! She instead trials this Monday afternoon at Monmore with the aim of running there next Monday in the heats of the 630 Spring Festival, with the £5,000 final on Friday week.
Kelly Gutteridge, a kennelhand of David Mullins, will make our 687m presentation. Gutteridge won a Twitter competition for a VIP table at Wimbledon and, along with Racing Post/SIS Betting Shop Manager of the Year Adam Hurley of Ladbrokes (who presents the Juvenile trophy) is a guest of honour.
Talking of social media, much comment was made of the third-bend collision at Crayford between Roxholme Dream and Farley Rio.
It was purely circumstances, with the bitch trying to chop off the much bigger dog. Her bravery was her undoing, and she’s a genuine superstar who was simply drawn the wrong side of her rival. Claiming Farley Rio was somehow at fault was at best folk talking through their pocket.
No arguments, though, that Crayford’s six-bend hurdle race, the Chief Ramsbottom, was deeply unsatisfactory given the stand-up fight from Newinn Hawk. Veteran Soviet Military, a kennelmate, proved the unwitting beneficiary.
But Tuesday's William Hill Springbok final is a vital encouragement in keeping hurdling going. What a tale, too, from Tony Cobb, whose Barnagrane Ash, an August 10 veteran, has reached the decider.
Twice previously she came into season beforehand and missed out. This year she didn’t and despite being rank outsider, has made it through. She sleeps with two retired dogs at the foot of Cobb’s bed. It’s a great story in Tuesday's Trainer View feature.
Of course much excitement surrounds the Racing Post Juvenile, particularly with the £250,000 William Hill Derby less than three months away – the heats of the world’s greatest race are set to start on Thursday, May 28.
With Monmore also showcasing six cracking puppy heats on Monday afternoon, Bags fans have never had it so good – don’t forget the Derby can be seen in the shops too this year.
Finally, best wishes to new Bags chief executive Phill Adams, whose expertise in streaming suggests a broadening of the sport worldwide.
It was therefore timely for Barry Faulkner, the Greyhound Board chief executive, to be pressing the case for equitable treatment between horse and greyhound racing this week.
The historic reasons for the difference are exactly that – set in the past. The sport needs to get fair shares from Betfair and other offshore companies. Greyhound fans should make their voices heard in the DCMS consultation.