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Think up a good name for this May 20 party
MARK WALLIS really is setting a quite ridiculous pace in the Ladbrokes Trainer of the Year standings with Cornamaddy Jumbo's William Hill Springbok victory at Wimbledon just the latest success in what has been near total domination of the 2014 campaign to date.
But for Blonde Razor being outstayed by Scala Dromin in the Prestige final at Hall Green, Wallis would have landed virtually every competition of major note so far this year with Reel Trickyone having begun again where he left off by adding Romford's Coronation Cup title to the Essex Vase trophy he secured last backend and then Hometown Honey and Aayamzamodel picking up the Golden Jacket and Peter Bussey Memorial respectively on a memorable Saturday morning at Crayford.
Wallis is already more than 200 points clear as he bids for a third successive trainers' title with the Ladbrokes quote of 2-5 arguably erring on the generous side.
And all this, with respect, from a team of greyhounds who are clearly extremely talented but arguably without a world-beater in their ranks which makes Wallis's achievements to date all the more noteworthy.
Ever since taking over the training licence from mother-in-law Linda Jones, Wallis has been driven to maintain the highest standards and achieve the greatest success possible so it is a little surprising to say the least that he is not seen as even more of a go-to kennel when owners are contemplating the more expensive purchases. He can hardly do more to advertise his training ability.
Closest pursuer to Wallis, if can be called a pursuit from some 200 points behind, is Seamus Cahill who has also been in excellent form of late and landed Wimbledon's other big feature on Tuesday, the Racing Post Juvenile, with Droopys Odell who had also tasted success at Sheffield's Betfred mini-festival last month.
The 2010 champion trainer confirmed the excellent form of his kennel with a Hove double on Thursday followed by a Romford treble the following night which was kickstarted by winning debutant Brother John. The maiden contest he took appeared very hot by usual standards and he is a dog to follow as are runner-up Shaneboy Jim and even third-placed Dustin Eagle who showed excellent early before being swamped.
This is written en route to Dublin and a visit to Shelbourne Park for the Tote Gold Cup final where doubtless the latest state of play regarding Wimbledon's future will be a major topic of conversation.
The Irish greyhound community really stepped up to the plate by supporting We Want Wimbledon's hugely successful, not to say memorable and uplifting, Show Of Passion at City Hall last month and it was good to hear that the momentum that created is hopefully going to be built on with a celebration of the 86th birthday of the old stadium on William Hill Derby quarter-final night on Tuesday, May 20.
That is just one day after the anniversary of the first greyhound meeting there in 1928 and, courtesy of headline sponsor Hills plus with the backing of the GRA, a real party is being planned - but what to call it? Something with a 1920s theme perhaps and I'm sure all suggestions will be gratefully received as will offers of sponsorship and other support - watch for fuller details to emerge in the coming weeks.
Despite it being such a high-profile meeting, Derby quarter-final night often attracts a below-par attendance due to being on a non-regular racenight so it would be great to see the place packed this time around and the emailer to RPGTV on Friday evening who suggested getting the local residents involved was spot-on too as they will have a massive say in the final outcome of any future planning process.
Looking ahead, we're getting into the time of year where there barely seems time to breathe with big event following big event - Monmore's Ladbrokes Puppy Derby and Spring Festival reaching a conclusion on Cheltenham Gold Cup afternoon next Friday then the Coral Golden Sprint starting at Romford that evening.
Slightly further ahead is the Ladbrokes Scottish Derby at Shawfield with Chris Allsopp's Exocet having been strutting his stuff already in trials up there and that's not to mention the Ladbrokes-sponsored one-off Trainers' Championship meeting at Sheffield on March 25 where Messrs Wallis, Cahill and Allsopp will all be involved along with Barrie Draper, Paul Young and a certain Charlie Lister who will doubtless have a lot to say!
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