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Trainers must ensure a strong mandate is given
SUPERB run by Ballymac Eske to break Monmore’s 480m track record on Thursday as Barrie Draper’s youngster lowered the old mark of 27.60sec by former kennelmate Farley Blitz by 12 spots.
Monmore’s 480m course is the fastest in the country and, habitually, when the clock goes there it gets described as a world record which then, equally habitually, tends to elicit a letter from former NGRC man/Stow RM Tony Smith saying it is a ridiculous claim as so few tracks race the distance!
[NB Sheffield RM Sam Tweed points out that it is, in fact, the Owlerton circuit which boasts the fastest 480m track record courtesy of another Draper runner, Eden Star, who clocked 27.39sec last June]
Let’s just leave it at Ballymac Eske being a brilliant prospect, as is his Hove conqueror Farloe Tango, and revel in the fact that we get to see him again – either at the Wolverhampton track or on RPGTV – in the final next Thursday when it would be folly to discount Julie Bateson’s Fridays Daryl who was running away with the other heat of the Ladbrokes.com 480 Puppy Trophy when the hare had to be stopped in the interests of safety.
With lots drawn to decide the qualifiers from that contest, I’m sure there was a big sigh of relief all-round when Fridays Daryl proved one of the successful trio.
Incidentally, don't forget that next Thursday's RPGTV programme will be the first on the new channel number of 212 after a shuffling of Sky's Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). Friday and Saturday this week remain on 231.
It has been a week of track records with Kinsley going clock-tastic during the Betfred Gymcrack final meeting on Tuesday. Big-race winner Droopys Hope wasn’t one of them, but George Oswald’s bitch looks a good prospect all the same as do the pair who chased her home, Blazing and Rathanny Ruso.
Kinsley came across very well and all I have heard subsequently have been good reports about the evening. John Curran, who owns the West Yorkshire venue with Keith Murrell, is a promoter who really lives up to the job description and many of his colleagues could do worse than take note.
Sky’s cameras head to Tralee on Saturday for the Betdaq Race of Champions which, having watched the heats during the Kinsley broadcast, must be a good chance for Shelbourne Geoff and his starry set of connections.
My main focus will be on Sunderland and the start of the Williamhill.co.uk Festival of Racing with the first round heats of the £25,000 Classic over 450m and £15,000 Grand Prix over 640m.
Both competitions have attracted fields commensurate with their value and prestige, and the good news is that Hills’ director of stadia Joe O’Donnell reports that Sunderland miraculously missed the unprecedented deluge which hit sister track Newcastle just 10 miles away on Thursday.
The evening Bags meeting was lost with four feet of water in places, but conditions at Sunderland will hopefully be as good as they can be as a fantastic night’s racing is in prospect. Nyla Fantasy, one of those Kinsley record breakers on Tuesday, catches the eye in the Grand Prix in which she finished third last year.
Off the track, the main issue is the election for Norah McEllistrim’s replacement as Greyhound Trainers’ Association chair which is a two-runner contest between Ricky Holloway and John Simpson.
The pair come from different ends of the establishment spectrum with Holloway the outsider looking in and Simpson already very much part of the greyhound political scene.
For Simpson that is both an advantage and disadvantage. Knowing and understanding how the system works and how progress is achieved is a huge asset, but conversely the dreadful lack of communication – and consequent disconnect with the electorate – from the GTA over the past few years will do him no favours by association.
Holloway is being styled as the people’s champion and clearly commands large support, especially from those connected with Gobata. His campaign is unlikely to win any awards for diplomacy, but should he be successful it will be interesting to learn whether he can moderate his approach to fit in with the well-established framework outlined in the Donoughue report.
Voting forms are going out to all professional trainers over the weekend and, ideally, there will be a huge ‘turnout’ from those eligible to take part in the election. Whoever wins needs to have a strong mandate.
Main event in the early part of next week for me is the Betfred Select Stakes luncheon in London on Wednesday when members of the Greyhound Writers’ Association will meet to pick the runners for the £7,500 contest two weeks later.
The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, but already the contest is shaping up into the usual high-class affair with a mixture of the old and the new having been put forward.
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