Almost 2,000 people turned out for a brilliant matinee Boxing Day meeting at Sheffield.
Racing manager Andrew Mascarenhas said: “It was a fabulous atmosphere with everyone cheering the dogs on. The crowd might have been even bigger if the Sheffield Wednesday match hadn’t been called off. A lot of the football crowd would tend to come here first.
“Overall, it was a very good Christmas. The restaurant was sold out right up to the big day and the bookings were so strong that they were also full for the three meetings afterwards too.”
The track are looking forward to the greyhound sale on Wednesday January 19 when a number of promising youngsters, originally destined for the Pre-Puppy Derby sale at Monmore, are likely to be on show.
Mascarenhas said: “I think we will see plenty of interest from the local trainers. Given the aggravation in going to Ireland, its a no-brainer to be honest. Overall, we aren’t doing too badly for dogs.
“We had 409 when I last checked and allowing for the opens, we need around 360. But it is a bad time of year for sickness and we lost a few off the strength. But after saying the other day that we hadn’t had any trainers with Covid, within 24 hours we had two phone to say they were isolating.
“We recently lost Alan Lumb and Carol Weatherall left by mutual agreement but Louise Taylorson is back. She has about a dozen dogs at the moment with capacity for over 40, though we won’t be asking her for a full kennel.”
Despite the size of the kennel strength, the grader had no hesitation in naming two to follow in 2022.
Barrie Draper’s Bad Alibi (Laughil Blake-Night Time Mammy, Nov 19) arrived from Ireland unraced with a couple of decent trials on his card. He won three of his first six races – best 29.10 (500) but after a two week break trialled back one spot inside the 280m track record.
Kirsty Grayson’s Dairy Hill Jet (Droopys Jet-Diary Hill Josie, Sep 19) was lightly raced in Ireland, the standout form being a 28.85 (calc) trial at Kilkenny. But the blue and white dog broke 29.00 on each occasion when winning three of his four opens to date and has a PB of 28.72.
Andrew said: “Bad Alibi has since trialled at Romford and apparently come off with a bit of a niggle but with his early pace I would really expect him to clean up over the 400.
“From what I can gather, Dairy Hill Jet wasn’t a particularly expensive dog but he has done everything asked of him so far. He runs in the opens on Tuesday and looks to have a big future in front of him; they both have.”