Weblog: A personal view from the William Hill PR director
Ideas are flowing, but we need to sort the weather!
Despite awful weather, the crowds gathered at Wimbledon this weekend to celebrate the opening of thewilliamhill.com greyhound Derby, and it wasn’t just to appreciate the lido that appears to have been developed in the car park!
Yes, the field-size was smaller this year, but pennies are tight, fuel is expensive, and in my opinion, it hasn’t detracted from the quality of the competition whatsoever. Whatever the reasons, it shouldn’t and doesn’t matter.The main protagonists are here, along with a generous smattering of greyhounds that, whilst not as well known, clearly still have the ability to land a £125,000 fairytale.
A few of those signalled early shots that all would not be made easy for the likes of Taylors Sky, Eden Star and Razldazl Jayfkay – the triumvirate who topped the betting in the minutes leading up to the first heat.
Observers only had to wait just one race before the first story of the Derby would emerge. On the phone a bit later, Steve Fluin – founder of the Champagne Syndicate and an utter gentleman – described the break from the traps by Bubbly Phoenix as ‘quite nice’ but if I was Steve I’d be less modest and describe is as ‘bloody awesome’. I must be a veteran watcher of well over 10,000 live dog races, and it is rare that something makes me gape in a greyhound race. So raise a glass:Bubbly Phoenix, I was very, very impressed.
But it would not be the only performance that gave us food for thought over the first round. Other notebook worthy performances included Friday night runs from Jaytee Pedro and Silverview Perky. Whilst ‘workwomanlike’ could be used to describe Perky’s run, she is a bitch I like, and one who runs Wimbledon superbly. I’d estimate that Charlie has got his dogs about 30% undercooked at the moment.
The science, for anyone that is interested, is quite simple. Running is about cardio-vascular fitness, the more efficient your cardio-vascular system, the better your muscles are adequately supplied with an oxygen-rich supply of red blood cells. When this supply is restricted – usually by a lack of fitness – the muscles don’t function as economically and cannot perform at threshold for so long. The best way of extending stamina and improving your performance is to reach your threshold and then boundaries are pushed further. The best way to do this is quite simply, to race. Charlie, guru and OBE-extraordinaire, knows this better than anyone. All his dogs who had a light pre-Derby campaign will improve for the first round. Write them off at your peril.
I always try really hard not to ramble too long with blogs. I have the attention span of a two-year-old who has chugged down a couple of packets of Skittles, so I willtry to be succinct and not lose anyone who matches me for boredom levels.
My performances of the first round – in ranked order:
1. Bubbly Phoenix
2. Tynwald Bolt
3. Judicial Ruling
4. Jaytee Pedro
5. Boher Paddy
We’ve been doing our best to use the Derby to promote greyhound racing this year. Jennie, in my team, some months ago, had the fantastic idea of putting a Union Jack-et on a dog as an April Fool’s spoof. She has been quite overlooked has Jen, as this was her idea and a fantastic one. From that great seed of an idea we simply evolved it to possibly work in a dog race, the GBGB amazingly agreed to let us do it, and so for thefirst time in the history of the sport, the racing colours were changed. History was made, and so a picture of Bubbly Phoenix – resplendent in his Union Jack racing jacket, has been distributed around all the major news desks and sporting publications, and will hopefully appear, promoting greyhound racing, in a newspaper near you!
We have plenty of ideas still to come, so I will cryptically advise you to keep an eye out for ‘Derrick’, and don’t forget to head down to Wimbledon for the next round. I promise the weather will be better!
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