Jackpot runner Galloping Moon landed the Brighton Belle for Kevin Hutton and the Yates Family with kennelmate Lassies Gift finishing runner-up at Hove on Thursday night.
Kevin Hutton said: “Moon is a lovely bitch with a great record (27 races – 10 wins, 9 seconds). She was originally bought by my father after winning an unraced stake in Ireland for Sean Dooley. She hit the ground running and started winning opens, but we couldn’t find a buyer for her.
“She was priced at £4,000 and was on the website for weeks with no interest. Then one day we had a phone call from Rod Yates. The family had started to go to Towcester and loved it. Mrs Yates had a decent win on the bingo and they were going to buy their first greyhound with the winnings.
“Rod, Jack and Alice have really taken to it. They are regular visitors to the kennel every Sunday and Moon is giving them so much enjoyment.”
The Towcester Derby winning trainer is thrilled that the Northamptonshire venue is to re-open and plans to run dogs in the Saturday night opens, as well as at new home Monmore.
He said: “It is just the news that the industry wanted to hear. No matter how many times you walked into the place, there was always a ‘wow’ factor. The idea of turning it into an ‘English Shelbourne Park on a Saturday night’ really appeals to me. The industry needed a flagship.
“I will run dogs in opens there, but I will continue to race at Monmore. It was too much when we were running five meetings per week, but they have been so accommodating and we now only do a couple which is ideal.
“We are there again on Saturday for the ‘festival night’ – what a card that is.”
It has been a transitional year for Kevin and partner Donna. They completely refurbished their whole establishment, from kennels to gallops, to staff living quarters, but are now re-building the kennel strength.
Kevin said: “We needed to free up the space to get the work done and cut the numbers in half. We are now looking to build again, but not to the levels when we were at Towcester with over 100 dogs. We currently have around 55 on the strength though the optimum is probably around 80.”
New Hutton hounds to look out for in 2o2o include Ballydoyle Blake and Avion Charlie.
Kevin said: “Blake was bought after a 28.50 trial at Shelbourne and trialled this week in 28.19 at Swindon. He is out of Fear Emoski and looks like a strong running dog who will want 550 or further. Avion Charlie, who was called Tullig Kay Cee is unraced but has a 28.38 run.
“But we also have a lot of young dogs coming through. The first litter of Forest Natalee pups (by Laughil Blake) all had their first handslips last week and all chased strongly.
“We also have seven by Ballymac Vic out of Dorotas Star, who are a couple of months older, who are being schooled by Kevin Lostie and apparently are going very well. It will be a while before they are racing, but definitely something to look forward to next year.”
Irish Oaks winner Forest Natalee has a second litter, by Droopys Jet in the paddocks and has come in season again.
Kevin said: “She looks in absolute superb condition, you would think she was still racing, so I am toying with the idea of a mating to Magical Bale.”
So would the litter be for sale?
Kevin repies: “I doubt it. Certainly existing owners in the kennel would get first refusal.”
Despite his and Donna’s huge interest in breeding, Kevin relies on others to do the rearing for him.
He said: “We simply don’t have the facilities and I don’t believe in trying to rear if you can’t do the job properly. John Mullins has 11 pups for us from Natalee’s and Star’s second litters.
“But there are very few people around prepared to do it. We have had numerous phone calls from owners asking if we can whelp a bitch down. There is definitely an opening out there for someone.”
On the subject of British breeding, Kevin will have a particular interest in Signet Hawk, who clocked the fastest time in the semi finals of the BGBF Sprint at Harlow on Wednesday.
Kevin said: “I owned his dam Dorotas Irena (Droopys Oscar-Droopys Danneel, May 14). I sold her to Mark Beattie and bought a couple of the (Ballymac Vic) pups from Mark, at 12 weeks old. Hawk was one of them..
“He won some opens with him, I think he reached the semi finals of the Romford Puppy Cup, but he pick up a metatarsal injury.
“It was the same time that we were cutting down on numbers and I offered him to Luke Morrison who was able to keep off the track while he recovered. I am delighted to see him doing so well.”
Last but not least, how are things going for ‘The Wildcat?’ who stands at stud in the Droopys Kennel in Portlaw?
Kevin said: “I spoke to Michael (Dunphy) last week and he said the dog was busy. All the stud dogs had a quiet spell, as always happens in the autumn because nobody wants December pups, but I gather things have really picked up.”
In fact, the Derby winner’s first litter are already winning races at Poole. Whelped in March ’18 they were bred by Keith Elliott out of his brood Ballyoak Badger.
The star of the litter to date, Ballyoak Freddie has won four of his last five races, clocking 26.96 in A3 last time out and has now joined the kennel that made his father famous.
Kevin said: “Keith has asked me to have a look at him, and he certainly looks promising. Paddy Kehoe also has a litter out of Forest Dot who I am also keen to keep an eye on.”