Parker, Draper, Cobbold, Mullins, Rees – the years might move on, as the surnames are handed on to the next generation.
“I think we are like the greyhounds, racing is in our bloodlines” says ‘Young Ernie’ Gaskin as he looks forward to 2020 with as much enthusiasm as Ernie senior mustered back in 1961 when he sent out his first English Derby finalist, Clopook.
“This is the best group of greyhounds that I have personally trained; I am not trying to compare with dad’s kennel during the Currhills Gara era.”
After taking a break to develop the old Nazeing kennel, Ernie has rapidly built up a high quality kennel strength and none more exciting than Droopys Addition who clocked the fastest time in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Trafalgar Cup heats at Monmore.
The May 18 pup won for the second time in three races and has drawn trap one in next week’s decider.
Ernie said: “To be honest, the Trafalgar Cup is really a bonus. He is only a May pup and we are really thinking further down the line with the Puppy Derby. I am happy enough with trap one because I don’t think he is draw dependent and I would have been just as happy with two or three.”
Addition was bought from the Droopys Kennel at schooling age following a trial at Kilkenny.
Ernie said: “I was very lucky that the Dunphys allowed me to buy pups out of Droopys Hilda. I had Roman Empire and Droopys Aoife from the first litter and then Addition from the next.”
The Gaskin plan for success involves buying young dogs from top breeders before they have priced themselves out of the market. He has a shopping budget of around £8-£10K per dog.
He said: “You have to be prepared to spend that sort of money to give yourself a chance. Obviously there are no guarantees with young dogs. I don’t have £50,000 to spend on a top proven open racer, but even if I had it, I wouldn’t anyway.
“I have done the contract route and it didn’t appeal to me. I have a small kennel attached to the house. I only want to train twelve dogs, maximum, and can give them all my time and attention.
“After from the Dunphys, I also have a really nice young dog called Newinn Jacko, who Jim O’Donnell agreed to sell me after a trial at Clonmel. He is even younger than Addition, but clocked 28.51 on going rated .10 slow, in a trial at Monmore on Saturday, and is definitely one for the future. There are also a couple of nice youngsters out of Coolavanny Pearl who I am looking forward to seeing on a track.”
In fact, for such a small kennel, next weekend promises to be absurdly busy. In addition to Monmore, Ernie hopes to extend the seven-race unbeaten run from crack sprinter Lambeth Way, who has been entered for Shelbourne’s Night Of Stars. He also has Newinn Cracker and Droopys Aoife in the Essex Vase at Romford on Friday.
He said: “There is no guarantee that Lambeth Way will be accepted, but the sprint promises to be particularly hot. I am also hopeful for the Romford pair. We still haven’t seen the best of Aoife. She is only 13 weeks out of season and should progress with every run.”
There is also good news on the kennel trailblazers Mane Mane and Roman Empire who both sustained broken hocks within a month of each other back in April/May.
Ernie said: “Stefano (Malegori) has developed into a superb surgeon and he did a great job on both dogs. They have both been well looked after throughout the summer and so far it is looking very good.
“Roman Empire trialled in 16.44 at Hove and is due to trial at Romford on Tuesday. Harlow have been very kind offering me handslips and trials for Mane Mane. He is due to trial on Wednesday and I may well give him a couple of races there over the 415 metres before returning to hurdling.”