Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
Profusion of scalded cats as Nod and Lister take off
Halleluiah! I’ve finally got Date Tote’s 24dogs system of live internet pictures working and caught the last six heats of the WilliamHill.com Oaks on Saturday via my home computer.
I’d popped down to my local Hills expecting to see the live action there but, presumably due to a hiccup, it was announced only shows and commentaries were available. Wimbledon is generally covered exclusively in Hills shops.
Admiral’s [John Benbow] commentaries are always good value, but the line from the track was crackly and with other in-shop punters talking in the background, it was less than ideal. Back home I initially went onto the Hills site – but no pics there, and I couldn’t seem to get William Hill radio working either. Yes, I’m clueless.
Out of desperation I went onto 24dogs.com, where I still have some money in its system thanks to many previous fruitless attempts to access picture. Hey presto, a new link appeared to enhance my browser; suddenly I was in.
You have to pay a fiver to watch, no bother; this was money which had been dormant for at least a year. But you get it back if you bet the equivalent amount via the tote, and a small bet on Charlie Lister’s Boher Princess, paying 3-1, even put me in profit.
Spinkys Nod’s 28.35sec win was stunning, my notes included ‘scalded cat’ [I don’t ever recall using that officially whenI was Wembley racing manager in the 1980s!]. She flew out and her 4.71sec sectional will take some beating during the event.
Spinkys Nod has been made unseeded for the remainder of the Oaks – she did cut in markedly early – but may not break quite as well again.
Of the six heats I saw, most impressive for me was Boher Princess, a litter sister to Boher Paddy. She looked hopelessly sandwiched at the boxes, but showed remarkable determination to force herself to the front at the second bend. She might have been worth considering re-seeding too - she seemed wide to me on my admittedly small scale picture.
Friday night had some great action in the shops, with tremendousracing for the Betfred Eclipse heats at Nottingham on the Bags service. Coral TV’s big screens, and replays, are a treat – plus exclusive open race action from Romford.
‘Scalded cat’ could also apply to Charlie just now, he won the Yorkshire Leger earlier in the week with Lonely Boy to put him back in Trainers’ Championship range, and the way his Boher Paddy overhauled Mill Bling Bling, who had flown, was stunning.
Harry Williams’s Blue Artisan was majestic the way he destroyed his rivals, while Go Go Sonic, for Paul Sallis, and Fred Champ [Chris Allsopp] both showed exceptional early.
I loved the way Mark Wallis’s Jazz Apollo won the Kent Derby and for him to clock the fastest time of the night, 29.75sec, on a card of superstars, underlines his ability. Stuart Mason’s Bowtime Joey relished a return to four bends when just getting up in heat 5, while it wasalso good to see ‘Big Willie’ [Ballymac William, Dean Childs] back in the finale, where he ran well to take second behind Freds Champ and was arguably a shade unlucky.
With Mark Wallis and Chris Allsopp all guns blazing as well as Charlie, this Trainers’ Championship tussle offers a wonderful edge to just about every open.
Earlier I had been at Oxford for its midlands region home match in the Bags TrainersChampionship – an event which is proving extraordinarily competitive.
As soon as I had marked Hove down as certainties for the south region, it suffered a disappointing home tie and now Romford are going to take all the catching (which presumably means curtains for it now!)
I’ve no idea how the midlands region is going to end up as the two weakest performers at Monmore a week earlier, Perry Barr and Yarmouth, took off at Oxford. Yarmouth’s pup, Riverside Way, trained by Jenni White, put up a particularly noteworthy run.
A rules debate followed the last race here with the local stewards disqualifying one of their own, Jell On Ben, in the stayers. It looked a tad on the harsh side, though he plainly stopped chasing at the fifth bend. I wondered if ‘previous’ might have been taken into account.
However, the argument surrounded the two points he had given Oxford for finishing fifth. Oxford, citing the rules of racing and that disqualification equates to the forfeiting of all rights in the race, were right to say ‘nul points’. The Championship, however, does have a local rule that refers to dogs scoring once they have left traps –this presumably referring to anything that fails to finish, rather being disqualified. So it was decided that element was superseded.
Monday sees the Racing Post/SIS Betting Shop Manager of the Year awards,with the eight regional champions being honoured. I’m on a judging panel that meets most of Sunday as well and includes fellow greyhound enthusiasts Tanya Stevenson and Richard Hayler, once a GBGB bigwig, now MD of Ibas, the betting dispute solvers.
I hope to catch Yarmouth’s Bags Track Championship midland match Monday night in my local shop; the northern region continues at Belle Vue Wednesday afternoon, and the southern region at Sittingbourne Thursday night. Ina busy week, I plan to get to Swindon on Friday afternoon for its home midlands match.
As ever, when see me around, please do say hi.