The Jay & Kay Tours Kent St.Leger began life at Ramsgate and arrived at Crayford in 1986 writes Floyd Amphlett.
In fact, two of the trainers have already won the event. Although Linda Mullins won it with Droopys Paul in 1998, when John was her assistant trainer; her son won it in his own right in 2014 with Borna Champ.
John Spracklen won the 2001 final with with Moreton Jazz, who at 16-1 is the biggest priced winner ever. Of the last 19 finals, eight have gone to the final night favourite.
Roxholme Poppy is currently trading at 4-9f with the sponsors (following her impressive semi final win) but is 8-13 with Coral.
Slippy Maggie (who won the other semi) looks far better value at 3-1 with Coral and Betfred. Moreton Madras followers are best off with the 12-1 from Betfred, with the same company offering 14-1 about Master Kelly, 40-1 Cleaning Doctor and 50-1 Swift Tarquin.
Assistant trainer Michael Kemp said: “Anybody who knows me, knows that I am the least optimistic person you can find when it comes to our dogs. But I really think that Maggie can win it. First of all, according to her breeder she is six to eight lengths faster from trap one. It is quite a big statement but she has only ever had trap one before once and she did an 8.89 sectional for the 550m. As far as I am concerned, she should now be back to her best after her season and I think she is due a big run. Also, I expect the two to move to middle and I can see our other runner Master Kelly moving in from the traps and cramping Roxholme Poppy. The five is a very good bitch but I still think we can give her a run.”
Linda Green, the trainer of Cleaning Doctor said: “I saw the other day that ours is a 33-1 shot. She is not. She has been a bit unlucky because her best two lines of form have been in void races. In the first at Hove, she would have been a close second to Ninja Penny, over a distance that is too short for her. Then in the race at Crayford, she popped out in front, and although we didn’t know she would stay at the time, it now transpires that she does. Unfortunately a dog was knocked over and ran back towards the field. She is very lightly raced, I know she can break aster that she has done, and would settle for a decent run from her But we won our first ‘Cat 3’ at Hove last week, and Doctor is our first ‘Cat 1’ finalist, so why not?
John Spracklen said: “Ruby will be doing her best, but I really don’t see how she can beat Roxholme Poppy who looks a class apart. Last year, when (Madras) started out, she didn’t get the 710 metres at Perry Barr. But she is definitely getting stronger. I wonder if she might eventually get a marathon distance. She is a lovely genuine bitch who could possibly lead the inside runners but I would settle for second or third with a decent run.
John Mullins said: “We are up against it. It is as simple as that. But it is Crayford and I would like to know what would happen if he could lead up. But there is a worthy favourite in trap five, and would need a lot of luck to be anywhere near her if she got a run.”
Assistant trainer Mark Keightley said: “She is absolutely spot on, physically and mentally. If she gets beat, there will be no excuses, she hasn’t needed any treatment. If she comes away, I don’t see anything catching her. The only way that the six cuts across her, is if she misses it. If there was only one downside, its the fact that Hayley and I are away at a wedding on Saturday and someone else will be taking her to the track. Poppy really is ‘all Hayley’ and having someone different with her could have an effect, we really don’t know.”
Michael Kemp said: “Kelly has been a fantastic dog for us over a long career. He gives every ounce in every race. He isn’t really a stayer, or a true wide runner. He is really middle-to-wide and has a 23.25 sectional for the 380 metres which means he can possibly bully the favourite on his outside with Maggie benefiting on the rail. But if he was to clear the field and win, I would be absolutely thrilled to see him get a deserved ‘Cat 1’ race. He is a lovely greyhound who will always give you a run for your money.”