With some sections of the media are anticipating a poor entry for the forthcoming Arena Racing Company All England Cup, Newcastle GM Ian Walton is challenging the logic, though not necessarily the conclusion.

He said: “I’ve heard various theories as to why we won’t get any entries from south of Sheffield but they don’t make a lot of sense. If it turns out that Southern trainers don’t fancy a long trip to the North East in December, then let’s at least be honest about it.

“But I have heard that the £8,000 isn’t enough prize money or that the requirement to trial before the competition is putting people off.

“Yet there was a very decent entry with lots of southern kennels in the Eclipse which was worth £6,500 to the winner with similar conditions.

“Anyway, if you look back over a period of years, trainers regularly used to trial here before big competitions to give their dogs a decent chance of learning the circuit. I can’t believe that the £50 that they would have picked up in a trialstake is the reason for not entering.

“I realise that some trainers are also put off by the quality of the local dogs. While we have quite a number of category one finalists in the local kennels, personally I don’t see an ‘Ice On Fire’ among them. In fact, from what I have seen, Narcos The Great could give any of them a run.

“So we will see what happens. I think our best chance is that with the Greyhound of the Year award so open this year, some of the top middle distance contenders might fancy adding an All England Cup to their CV. I hope so. Trainers should contact the racing office for trials as soon as possible.

“If they don’t come, I would gladly settle for another night like Sunderland had for their Classic Final. A fabulous atmosphere on the night full of proper doggie people from the North of England and Scotland.

“We will have our new floodlights in operation from Tuesday and the Christmas menu will be served. I am sure it will be a great occasion.”

Heats: Tuesday December 14. Semi finals Tuesday December 21. Final Tuesday December 28