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Absolutely spot on 2012 start from Russell Senior
IT didn’t take long for the New Year to get up and running in greyhound terms with a quickfire Prestige at Hall Green going the way of Express Trend, trained by Liz McNair and her irrepressible husband Rab.
Rab is always cracking value after a winner and this was no exception as he waxed lyrical about the May 2009 bitch who had been something of a bridesmaid prior to this victory. Having put her in my Ten to Follow just a few days earlier, I’m still trying to work out how I didn’t tip her in heat or final although the horrid-on-paper trap draws on both occasions were off-putting.
Thursday saw me in the Racing Post Greyhound TV studio with Errol Blyth for what proved to be a really fast-moving show.
There was a brief spanner in the works when the traps failed to open for the first of Henlow’s sprints meaning that Hove’s following race was off first, but the Bedfordshire track did brilliantly to get back on schedule within a couple of races for which all at RPGTV were extremely grateful.
Or should that be ‘absolutely’ grateful? That turned out to be the buzzword of the night after Errol, during a break, had innocently remarked that he’d spotted himself using it too much the previous week.
All of a sudden, we were both infected and the word just kept coming out of our mouths involuntarily although I’m not quite sure I believe the emailer who congratulated us on getting our 100 up!
Racing-wise, it was a fantastic night for the Champagne Club with Bubblys Ebony, Olly and Swallow all winning at Henlow, while there were two major notebook winners at Hove in the shape of Seamus Cahill’s Guinness Smokie and Ken Tester’s Britania Richard.
July 2010 youngster Guinness Smokie was opening his account at the fourth time of asking when destroying a decent top-grade sprint field for early speed, while it was a winning debut in maiden open company for March 2010 pup Britania Richard in similarly impressive style and also in 29.62sec which was the only sub-30sec run of the night over 515m.
The Coral Coronation Cup semis were Friday’s highlight on RPGTV and it was subsequently good to report that Spinkys Nod was fine after a bad-looking tumble in the first semi won by Rockview Sail.
The winner’s trainer, Russell Senior, was nominated by colleague Phil Donaldson as one to watch this year and that prediction already looks a wise one with not just a potential big-race Sky breakthrough on the horizon with Rockview Sail at Romford on Wednesday, but wins up-and-down the country on the board.
Senior was 52nd in the final standings in 2011 but it would be no surprise to see him challenging for the top 10 this time around as is his stated ambition.
On Saturday, I channel-hopped between RPGTV and the Betdaq Premier League at Yarmouth on Premier Sports, a meeting which had attracted a very strong line-up.
I do understand the point that has been made that something appears to be missing when it comes to the Premier League, for instance one leading greyhound aficionado said to me that he felt watching it was like spying on a private party to which you have not been invited.
That said, by its nature, even title, the Premier League is not going to be all-inclusive, but the prize money is excellent and all behind the concept should be applauded in that regard, but I’ll reiterate a point I’ve made before that there needs to be a better narrative. Basically Saturday was the first quarter of the final – and the team element must be pushed harder as a unique selling point, ie no more one-trainer ‘teams’ and no contrived collaborations.
The Jokers, whereby double points are scored, is a terrific idea and judged by results so far punters should heed them. And, ending back where we started, didn't Rab McNair look very fetching in his orange Joker bib when successfully parading King Jaffa in the finale? Okay, maybe not.
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