Weblog: At large in the greyhound world
The force is with Paul Young's Derby team
IT’S been a good week for Paul Young.
On Wednesday night his Young Sid ran away with the Ladbrokes Blue Riband, earlier that morning Bubbly Phoenix put up another stunning trial over the William Hill Derby course, and kennelmate Jaytee Apache was clearly on the upgrade in the same session.
When I’d earlier in the week rang Paul for his view of the Blue Riband for our regular Trainers Quotes feature on big events, I started by asking him ‘where’s this dog come from?’ . . . which again shows as you getolder your memory isn’t as sharp as it once was. He reminded me of the excitement surrounding Young Sid’s arrival last year, explaining:
“I’m delighted for his owners who have shown enormous understanding – which says an awful lot about them, a syndicate of ten that include some long-standing friends – given he was a £50,000 buy last year, but it felt he was more like a talking dog when he went wrong. We ended up giving him some four months off, but again it’s taken more time but he’s come right and now won his last four. You couldn’t call Sid a good looker, but he can run, and I’d dearly love to win something – this Ladbrokes Blue Riband is an opportunity. There’re all on ante-post, we’ve got here unbeaten in the event, and while we’d prefer to be drawn inside, a good dog can win from any trap, and that’s what he is. He will go to Wimbledon next, and join my other two runners – Bubbly Phoenix and Jaytee Apache. Sid went round there last year and handled it well.”
Owners: Young At Heart Syndicate
And when both Bubbly Phoenix and Jaytee Apache went so well Wednesday morning, you did feel the force was with him.
So hehas a Derby team of three – and you’d have to say it is as formidable as anyone’s. Those who took 66/1 about him for the year's Trainers' Championship last week will be feeling hopeful.
It struck me watching Wednesday’s trials that there were fewer ‘no hopers’ taking a look round, and a striking air of realism from those that were there – one reason why the field is a relatively small 132. Times are tough.
It’s also possible the debate over the trip being moved some 20 yards down the straight put off a few short runners, though I would come from the school of thought that prefers a trip at around that point on safety grounds. Of course this is all a matter of opinion and experience. If you had a good dog get severely injured at that point, and it has happened, you would take a differing view. But on balance, and having used various systems myself down the years, I tend to think most greyhounds realise the race is over and are slowing down anyway – it’s helpful if the hare driver does accelerate the hare right away after the line. The longer the slow down period for the runners, in general, the better. Personally, I’d be cautious about using a curtain too.
Anyway, the entry means the first round should indeed be a gentler introduction that normal, with thefirst four qualifying from every heat, and the first five from some. It all starts on Friday and Saturday of next week, with the draw 1pm Sunday. I’ll be there bashing it out, live onto this site, and we’ll also carry live reporting of the trials before racing ahead this Friday and Saturday – as well as for every actual race of the Classic.
Look out for a fantastic offer in the Racing Post with a voucher that can be used for free admission for four people, including racecard and a free pint, throughout the period of the Classic, with the exception of the final - Saturday May 26 (discounted £12 tickets available from 0870 840 8905).
Do come along and join the excitement surrounding The World’s Greatest Race. I can’t wait!