Weblog: The view from the Hills
Jimmy Chews will be my fashion-conscious mutt
I always like to be fashionably late. That's the reason I gave for a slight delay of this next blog instalment, anyway. Although I don’t think I could have been more fashionably late with this one had I written it wearing Jimmy Choos.
Speaking of Jimmy Choos (note: if I ever own a greyhound, I’m definitely calling it Jimmy Chews), they are one item I certainly wouldn't be wearing in Newcastle on any Wednesday evening as it was pretty damn bleak out there. Complete polar opposite to the glorious weather we were treated to just a week prior.
But although the weather was rather un-glorious, the William Hill-sponsored card for the All England Cup Festival was pretty damn spectacular
The showpiece race was littered with stories, I suspect Jonathan Kay’s mouth was watering at the prospect. Kelly Macari bidding to be the first lady trainer to record back-to-back successes in the All England Cup with the favourite Mill Bling Bling - not to mention her old mentor Harry Williams fielding the second and third favourites Blue Artisan and Tudor Prince, ensuring half the field would be gunning to keep the honours on home soil.
Jennie Prest, our sponsorship manager, had her head down studying for her Sky appearance so I was to present the Angel Of The North Oaks trophy.
My old boss always said ‘you can’t eat value’. That’s my excuse for getting on the even-money about Mutual Decision for the Oaks, anyway. Pond Shefelia put paid to that punt, but it was great to be able to present local legend Harry Williams with the prize.
Kelly Macari landed the first of her big-race doubles with Unreal Timmy in the williamhill.com Northern Puppy Derby Final. It was all over at the first two bends as he pinged out and was not for catching, with an impressive time to boot.
Connections soon amassed on the podium. They actually knocked the whole William Hill logoed-up backdrop over, there was so many of them. Glad Jennie didn’t see as she’s very protective of her branding.
Only 20 minutes later, Kelly affirmed her place in greyhound history when Mill Bling Bling came through a troublesome first few bends for a pillar-to-post victory in the All England Cup. Cue the Mill crew mobbing the winners’ enclosure for a second time.
I’ve never seen a crowd like it at a greyhound stadium, despite the miserable weather conditions, there was a bumper attendance. Wasn’t the best nights for the firm in terms of profit however, with Capoley Ash hitting us hard after we went top price about Barrie Draper’s hound in the morning.
I suppose we do owe the punters one if recent weeks’ horse racing results are anything to go by. Our All England finals night was a huge success, and a record night for us - with six-figure turnover on the early prices. Only the William Hill Greyhound Derby surpassed it in terms of betting action.
With Sunderland and now Newcastle ticked off my greyhound stadia list, next stop on the tour will be Hove where I hope to be helping, and not hindering, the great Charlie Miller – aka Kate’s father – on the pitch. Having spent time with the Hills on-course guys on Derby Final night, I’m confident on more of the former, and I quite like the feeling of being with a hefty wad of notes in my hand, as it will surely never happen otherwise as far as my dog betting success is concerned.
But from the champions of the northern greyhound circuit, us punters will be treated champions of the equine variety this weekend with Frankel the star of the show on a fantastic first Champions Day at Ascot. I’m hoping Berkshire will provide me with more luck than Brough Park.