Open racing, the introduction of graded sprints and a change in the weather means the immediate pressure is off Monmore to appoint a new trainer.
First up on the open race scene is the Ladbrokes Stayers Classic which closes on Monday. It could be a wide open event with the track’s fastest 630m runner this year, Droopys Bonucci rated as “unlikely” to take part by trainer Dean Childs.
Honour Turbo and Apache Kid are due Classic sighters prior to racing on Thursday with Roxholme Poppy taking on local favourite Inch Forward in an open later in the evening. The Classic Final coincides with the first round of the Gold Cup and today’s trialists include the Draper duo Bull Run Button and Lostrigg Charlie who clocked 28.32 and 28.56 respectively, on going rated -10.
Racing manager Tony Williamson plans to introduce D1-D5 graded races over the 264m course with immediate effect.
He said: “Since the change of rules, any dog that has had four 480m races will be able to take part without a trial, though the majority have at least one line of sprint form from qualification trials.
“Trainers have always wanted them, and yes, it does help with the graded numbers. In two years we have gone from four, to five, to six meetings per week – that’s 504 dogs – and it has proven quite a challenge.
“The weather certainly hasn’t helped. On Friday we had our first rain after 37 rain-free days and it was long overdue. The heat doesn’t affect racing, our air conditioned kennels are superb, but it does mean the trainers have been unable to gallop dogs at home.
“I am pretty sure we will appoint a new trainer, but we are not under immediate pressure to do so.”
The recent decision to allow trainers to school pups at the track has gone better than anyone could have hoped admits the grader.
He said: “A number of trainers asked Jim Woods years ago but he said it would lead to lots of aggravation. It really hasn’t. The pups are schooled at the end of the trial session and before the race meeting. It gives us a bit of scope to catch them if they escape at the pick-up. At least half a dozen trainers have brought litters along, and to be honest, I enjoy watching them go round.”