I enjoyed the Greyhound Writers lunch on Monday and was asked for my opinion on Greyhound of the Year.
I think the two key players are Hiya Butt and King Elvis. Hiya Butt has one category one win, reached the English Derby Final again and could still win the National Sprint. Overall he has been a top class runner over two different distances.
King Elvis is the only dog to win three category one competitions this year. I know some people belittle that because two of them were confined to British breds but there are a number of confined events, including the Oaks.
Elvis was a pup for most of his races and would be a big boost for British breeding.
Just behind them, you would always have to include the English Derby winner, Astute Missile and the only greyhound to win two Cat Ones, Geelo Sapphire.
In June, Rubys Razzle, with a Cat One, a Cat Two and a runner-up in another Cat One must have been in with a chance but she went a bit off the boil.
Her brother Rubys Rascal is probably our strongest contender with a St.Leger win, third in the Regency, and of course runner-up in the TV Trophy, albeit that is a marathon and not a nomination for the top stayer.
We are well clear in the Trainers Championship, albeit, the ‘winner a day’ plan faltered in the middle of the year.
I hope we will still get around the 300 mark, though our record is 330. Those were in the days when we had a bigger kennel strength at Walthamstow and the track staged regular all-open meetings.
I hope the Trainers Championship meeting will be staged early in the year for the top six trainers.
Everybody looks forward to it, and I will be particularly pleased to see Patrick (Janssens) in there.
We worked together for ten years and I always knew he had the potential to make it to the top. To get there so quickly is a great testament to his ability.
We are looking forward to the arrival in the kennel of Irish Derby runner-up Black Farren.
He is already part of our plans for next year and we will probably be aiming at the Scottish Derby.
In the meantime we have the Olympic with Bruisers Bullet which starts this week. We missed out on a trial due to a cut foot last week and I think he needed the run. If he comes through the heats okay, I would expect him to come on for the run.
Things kick off quite quickly in the new year with the Coronation Stakes, followed by the Golden Jacket where I think Rubys Rascal should be a serious contender.
The closure of Hall Green means we lose a handy six bend competition between the two distances. I would have loved someone like Yarmouth to step in and take it over.
I am delighted that RPGTV will continue and expand next year. I am particularly pleased that their Friday and Sunday evening cards will be shown.
We have a lot of owners who live some distance away and although they follow their dogs on the Towcester app, this will certainly enhance their viewing options.
I don’t know whether the loss of Romford will affect our plans. I hope not. But with Kevin Boothby promising ‘runner money’ at Henlow on Sunday afternoons, that would have to be a tempter. Maybe we could do both.