It’s probably fair to say the running surface has struggled at times over the winter for a number of reasons, not least the heavy periods of rainfall and substantial salting required during the colder periods.
With drainage also becoming an issue, we took the proactive decision to seek the advice and experience of Scott Sealey from Kennel & Track Fabrication in Pamber Heath, Hants. Scott, Josh and Derren Sealey paid us a visit in early February to make an assessment, and returned the following week, carrying out recambering, sanding and levelling of the running surface, as well as taking the opportunity to demonstrate a levelling blade and new harrowing equipment to our track team.
The work lasted well into the night, with the Sealeys returning the following morning to assist with the preparation prior to that day’s BAGS meeting. A report was subsequently produced, detailing their findings and recommendations, and an action plan will shortly be put in place once the new equipment has been purchased.
The difference is clearly visible and forms the basis of many track improvements we plan to introduce in 2019.
Top 480 Good owners are the lifeblood of the industry and Noel Synnott has been a staunch supporter of the Gerry Ballentine kennel for many years.
Noel purchased Bobs Terrific (Scolari Me Daddy-Diegos Blondie, Aug 16) after a highly promising 29.06 Tralee trial at 16 months but had the misfortune to see his charge suffer a broken toe in only his second race at Perry Barr. Bobs was given all the time he needed with his recovery and it’s fair to say Noel and Gerry are now reaping the rewards of their faith and patience.
Returning to the track in January, the early paced black has racked up a quick fire hat trick with wins in A5, A3 and A1, with a best time in the latter contest of 28.64. Noel has also recently snapped up March puppy Best Dressed after a 29.08 Clonmel debut in the Rural Hawaii unraced stake.
Top 275 Im Sophie (Belles Direction – Westmead Sophie May ‘16), owned by Sophies Boys and also trained by Gerry Ballentine, arrived at Perry Barr in the Spring of 2018 and quickly used her potent early pace to win four of her first ten races. However, injury intervened and necessitated a three month layoff. Returning to the track in graded sprints, Im Sophie has certainly found her niche, winning seven of her thirteen contests, including a hat trick and a four timer. At this moment in time, nothing is able to live with the dark brindled flyer.
The Dave Acott trained fawn Drumcrow Vangogh is aptly named, having lost an ear as a pup, but it has not slowed him down any, judging by a recent A5, A4 & A3 hat trick, with a best time of 29.03. Owners The Travelling Lads are great sports and deserve all their success.
Deeteedee Poker joined Ian Walker’s kennel in the Spring of 2017 and was highly tried initially. A serious injury in a Monmore open left the Alan Minnis owned black on the sidelines for the rest of the year. Eased back into competition through graded sprints some six months later, Poker now plies his trade in the middle grades and has probably never been in better nick, with four wins and three seconds in his last seven races.
Perry Barr stalwart Dave ‘Sawpit’ Hunt has been absent from the track for some months after a knee operation but is back in the fold now and raring to go. Dave’s most recent acquisition is Sawpit Sabbath, an Oct ’17 son of Pat C Sabbath x Phoenix Fergie, which I’m sure will give Dave plenty of fun.
Stoke based Paul Shore is best known for the exploits of Steel City Cup and Eclipse semi-finalist Funk Factor, currently on the sidelines after a serious injury. Paul has recently taken out a Greyhound Trainer licence and is already expanding his operation with some promising stock. Paul’s charges will commence qualification trials shortly and we wish him all the best at Perry Barr.
December saw Assistant RM James Harrigan leave Perry Barr after a seventeen year stint to further his career in a different direction. James spent many years as part of the track team before moving to the racing office and he’s been a valuable cog in the wheel throughout his tenure. Our thanks are extended to James for all his hard work during his time at Perry Barr.
As one door closes, another one opens and current Clerk of the Course Jimmy Greene will be taking James’s place in the racing office. Like James, Jimmy fancies a change of scenery and is keen to learn all that the racing office has to offer! In turn, Jimmy’s replacement as Clerk of the Course will be Johnny Shahban, himself a protégé of the late Matt Clarke. We wish Jimmy and Johnny well in their new roles.
Assistant RM Tim Hale has been poorly and out of action for a couple of months now, but will hopefully return to his role in the very near future. Tim has been greatly missed by all his friends and colleagues at the Barr. Ex Coventry RM Karl Ward has been drafted in to provide cover on a part time basis whilst Tim has been absent.