With doubts over major competitions at a number of tracks in 2019, John Watson, join owner of Doncaster with his father Ted, has pledged that the Doncaster St.Leger will definitely take place.

John took a more hands-on role from the popular Yvonne Freeborn when the popular GM retired at the start of the year and inherited a slickly run operation with greyhound numbers at a record high.

John said: “Alex Hopkins has her first runners from this evening. She is bringing twenty plus, from Sheffield after her previous contract expired. The kennel strength is very strong at the moment, but we are always interested in new trainers.

“At the moment we haven’t decided on the best slot for the Doncaster Leger (it was held in October in 2018), but we are guaranteeing that the prize money will not be reduced.”

June McCombe finished 2018 as the leading graded kennel with 200 winners at a healthy average of 20.6%. Sue Watson head the highest strike rate of 26.3%. The leading graded winner was Brackenstone Sue with 13 victories.