By racing manager Martin Seal
Perry Barr Dog of the Year for 2017 is Romeo True Blue, owned by Alan ‘Corky’ Corfield and trained by Neil Slowley. Romeo True Blue was acquired by Corky from the Dave Firmager dispersal sale in February of last year and, after kicking off in A5, the son of Romeo Recruit won his fourth start in A6 to set the ball rolling.
The big blue has proved ultra-consistent throughout the year, spending most of it in and around A3, racking up 11 wins from 37 races, a strike rate of 29.7%.
Perry Barr Bitch of the Year for 2017 is Tyrur Clodagh, owned and trained by Carol Evans. Clodagh was bought unraced out of Belle Vue sales in August 2015, and apart from a brief period of sickness in early 2016, the wide running August ’13 bitch has been an ever present at the Barr since that time.
Her record for 2017 reads 11 wins from 49 races, a tremendous total, showcasing both her durability and her handler’s expert touch. Clodagh’s career record now stands at 23 wins from 108 races, and whenever she is retired, she will certainly have more than earned it.
Perry Barr Trainer of the Year for 2017 is Sue Newberry. As is customary, it was a close fought battle for the title, with less than 2% strike rate separating the top six, as it was last year. Sue led the field in the first half of the year, with Pete Holland and John Lambe in close attendance, and despite a blip in October when she posted just a 7% return, held on for victory as the year closed out.
Sue is based at Sileby in Leicestershire, and the operation is a family affair with husband Paul and son Ben assisting with the kennel duties. Sue is also a great supporter of British breeding with an April ’16 Aero Nemesis x Kilara Mia litter currently working their way up the grades and a June ’16 Storm Control x Atouchofvenus litter just starting to qualify.
Given her relatively small kennel, Sue is able to devote plenty of individual attention to her charges and they always look immaculate when presented for weigh in. There would not, of course, be this level of success without good owners and Mick Gould, Mick Giles, Matt Cart and Matt Garnett have been staunch supporters of the kennel for a number of years.
1st Sue Newberry – 292 runners 62 winners 21.23%
2nd Pete Holland – 455 runners 94 winners 20.66%
3rd John Lambe – 628 runners 129.5 winners 20.62%
4th Shirley Aveline – 577 runners 113 winners 19.58%
5th Dave Welding – 231 runners 45 winners 19.48%
6th Paul Meek – 538 runners 103.5 winners 19.24%
Perry Barr Kennelhand of the Year for 2017 is Ann Holland. Wife of trainer Pete, Ann attends every meeting when they have runners, through rain and shine, and despite her advancing years, is as passionate about the game as ever. Ann’s life revolves round her greyhounds, and the racing scene at Perry Barr would be a lot poorer without her. Here’s hoping Ann and Pete carry on doing what they do well for many years to come.
2017 saw a quite a few arrivals and departures from the Barr on the training front, with the majority of Hall Green’s trainers joining up with its sister track after the closure, boosting both quality and quantity. As things stand, Perry Barr has over 60 trainers providing in excess of 430 greyhounds as we enter the New Year and what it has in store for us.
Tim Hale has been a valuable addition to the racing office from Hall Green, and Clerk of the Course Martyn Shepherd decided to seek pastures new after 14 years sterling service.
Jimmy Greene now takes on the role and with that we are in safe hands. On a sadder note, 2017 saw the untimely death of vet Andre Pretorius. Andre is still much missed but his legacy lives on. On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the racing office, track and paddock staff, trainers and kennelhands for their hard work and loyalty during what have been difficult circumstances, but we’ve made it through to the other side and are now in a good position to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
GM Martin Fennings said: “2017 was certainly a challenging year and Perry Barr certainly had its fair share of ups and downs. The change in the racing schedule with the addition of the extra 2 BAGS fixtures, the transfer of the trainers after the closure of Hall Green and the decision to close on a Friday night all added up to a few sleepless nights
“But I’m extremely pleased to say we seem to be back on an even keel now and business is looking healthy. The racing office under the stewardship of Martin Seal have worked miracles this year and I would publicly like to thank them all for their professionalism throughout in what has been trying circumstances. I’m certainly looking forward to 2018 and fully expect Perry Barr to carry on where we left off in 2017 and continue to see an upturn in the track’s attendance levels.”