Prize money to Steel?

Sheffield are to continue their boosted open race prize money throughout February following the introduction of Sunday racing.

Racing Manager Andrew Mascharenhas said: “I held a Twitter poll to see what was favoured, more runner-up money or an increase for the winners, and over 70% went for more to the winner. Needless to say, the whole thing was hijacked with people saying we should do both or why weren’t we putting up graded racing.

“Or talk that every graded dog should run for £100. How much money do these people think we get for staging a meeting, thirty or forty grand? Its madness.

“What we have do is increased all maidens to £350 to the winner. Standard races are £400 including the heats of the Category Three races. If you win the final, it is worth £600, so basically, two runs for £1,000.”

The next 12-runner event is a puppy competition starting on February 11.

Andrew said: “I don’t know whether it will fill, with Newcastle and Monmore running around the same time, but we might get some having a look in preparation for the Steel City Puppy Derby which is staged in April”

The inaugural final, won by Droopys Fidget, was the second most valuable puppy competition in the Calendar, worth £15K to the winner. How will this year’s match-up?

The RM replied: “We are still to make a final decision but I would be fairly confident that it would at least match last year’s money. . . . maybe more.”

Rather like Yarmouth, Sheffield have attracted good restaurant crowds for their Sunday afternoon fixtures, even if overall attendances has been flat.

Andrew said: “I gather that three out of the four weeks, the restaurant has been fully booked with 340 covers. The other meeting, there were around 250. I don’t think the overall crowds have been that great, but what can you really expect in January anyway.”

The outstanding performer on the track in recent weeks has been Caraxes. The Lanarkshire based black has won four of his five races, all opens.

Andrew said: Davy McLaughlin has struggled to get any racing, or even get a dog marked up, closer to home. But he has come down here and we’ve done what we can for him. He only has two dogs, the other is an A5 grader, but Caraxes has been absolutely flying and making it all worthwhile. I gather there have been some attempts to buy him, but he is definitely not for sale.”

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Thursday opens:    Hove    Newcastle

Friday opensNottingham   Romford

Saturday opens: Central Park