Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
My congrats to Lorraine Sams and Dolores Ruth
LORRAINE SAMS looks a cracking appointment by the Greyhound Board as a new stipe, after the promotion of Duncan Gibson to GBGB manager of welfare and integrity services.
Lorraine [story in Thursday’s Racing Post] will look after Hove, Crayford, Sittingbourne and Henlow, plus some 130 licensed trainers, though will first wind down her kennel – she has Ministry Missile in the semis of the Romford Puppy Cup this Friday.
Her early grounding from John Coleman will stand her in good stead. John always set an admirable professional standard as a trainer, but Lorraine is tough and versatile too. For instance, colleague Phil Donaldson reminds me of the success she made of the old Channel 425, starting off as a nervous guest, before flourishing into a confident regular.
I was surprised, when ringing for her reaction to the news, to learn that she is 50 - and can see why it’s the right time for her to take this new path. Her experience and commonsense can only be helpful at the Greyhound Board, and of course she has the experience of handlingone of the true champions of recent years, 2007 Greyhound of the Year Spiridon Louis [Mike].
Although it was a tremendous tussle for that title with Barnfield On Air, who had been favourite, I wrote a blog on this site in November 2007 which explained my feelings prior to the vote:
“I remember driving back from Peterborough in early May after watching ‘Mike’ make his eight-bend debut.Knocked from pillar-to-post, he was thoroughly well beaten, or so it seemed. Somehow he found the guile, energy and determination to weave his way through and catch the useful, and on the night, heavily gambled Spankee Moved. Had I been stopped by the police on the motorway home I would have been positive for sheer excitement and joy at witnessing one of the all-time great runs . . . this is what greyhound racing is about: professional showmanship. 9-4 [to be Greyhound of the Year] is the wrongprice.”
I reckon Lorraine will make the transition, which isn’t easy, well – as did the likes of Frank Melville, Eric Vose and Irene McNally.
Another admirably successful lady is Dolores Ruth. I first met her when she was over with Shanless Slippy, the year he ran unbeaten through the 1996 Derby. Since then she has proven a wonderful ambassador for the sport in general, enthusing about the English and Irish Derbys in a manner that remains priceless.
With tremendous support too from Liam Marks, and her band of loyal owners, they have all put particularly determined effort into a Derby challenge either side of the Irish Sea in recent seasons, so the victory of gallant Razldazl George in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Irish Derby final seemed fitting - it was certainly exciting, even if the race proved unusually rough, principally due to having six unseeded runners.
Good news too of former champion staying bitch, Bodell Clare, who last month produced ten pups, five blues and five blacks (six dogs, four bitches). It’s her first litter, and all’s said to have gone well, with Hazel Kemp describing the pups as a good size, despite there being so many of them.
I hope to get to Romford for the Puppy Cup semis Friday, roads permitting, and then up to Nottingham for the Great Greyhound Gathering, a show with an emphasis on retired greyhounds, on Saturday morning.
Some of the novelty classes sounded fun, which include fancy dress (parader and greyhound), waggiest tail, prettiest bitch and handsomest dog.
The award of 'Dog judge would most like to take home' could be read several ways!
More details: click thu Great Greyhound Gathering.
As ever it’s a busy period with the William Hill Leger kicking off that night at Wimbledon, and Harlow making its Sky bow on Tuesday – I will be ringing the trainers involved in the main event there for their views.
Do stop me and say hi when you see me around.