Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
A Select night to forget for Williams and Macari
YOU’D say Harry Williams, and his loyal owners, have enjoyed far better nights than that of the Betfred Select Stakes at Nottingham on Wednesday.
At least all four of his team ran well, at decent prices too, with Mags Gamble (4-1 in Boher Paddy’s race), Drumsna Hero (12-1, a cracker behind Farloe Wolverine) Pond Shefelia (10-1, beaten a short head by Silverview Pinky) all finishing second.
But then Blue Artisan, returned 9-1, after appearing to have the big race’s £7,500 safely secured rounding the last bend, got clipped from behind by a ‘rallying’ (ie showing fighting pace) Mill Bling Bling, who then lost his head entirely and attacked Harry’s dog. He ended up third – although is promoted to second for prize purposes and deserves the £2,000 that entails (the others got a generous £750 each) as disqualification means Mill Bling Bling is technically relegated to last.
Mill Bling Bling has always been a bit temperamental, but on such a stage, I know his trainer, Kelly Macari, and the dog’s proud owners, will have been bitterly disappointed and embarrassed.
I know the feeling having been associated with Division Belle, when she fought in the second round of the Leger one year. Luckily for me I was in Ireland that night, but even from such a distance, I felt like hiding!
One thing you can’t accuse Team Macari of is hiding from the truth. They have always been realists, and had managed Bling Bling’s career with pragmatism. To land three Cat Ones last season was extraordinary, and he was unlucky not to have had a formal gong at the GBGB awards ball.
It was said beforehand that the Select might be his final race, and if so, it’s not the way anyone would have wanted his racing career to end.
But things can and do go wrong, and in a disheartening year for Macari, all you can say is that you can’t take away all the success that they have enjoyed with him.
In the early days of the sport, such an event as the Select fight would have led to a voiding of the race and re-run. It seemed to be quite common too, Mick The Miller getting involved in several such re-runs. Some greyhounds found the concept of chasing a mechanical hare bewildering, and it’s always been the case that a few of the really fast dogs were borderline in their temperament – a bit like John McEnroe!
However, there was a beneficiary from Wednesday’s fracas –Silverview Perky, who to her credit was not distracted by the antics on her inside.
Yes, she was lucky, but that’s all part of the game and there are enough times when things go wrong. It proved a fantastic Pinky and Perky double on the night for owners Toni and Ian Tungatt – and one of four winners for Charlie Lister OBE, leading one wag to call out ‘Charlie you must be tired out coming up and down for the presentations!’.
No he wasn’t, there’s nobody who takes more professional pride in winning than Charlie. And those four winners were the same races where luck deserted Harry Williams. If anyone deserves a change of that in the main race, especially after that infamous traffic jam which robbed Blue Artisan of a favourite’s chance in the event two years ago, then it's Harry.
You know you are unlucky when your dog gets involved in the worst fight in a major event that I can recall after 40 years in the game.
*Great to see dual Select hero Jordansoilutions parading before the big race. He looked in great shape and deserving of a best turned out award (cracking idea by Betfred for the TV races) all of his own. It added up to a Select hat-trick for Charlie. Congratulations to him, his partner Pat, and the entire team there.