10th June 2020
(Opens to a third party website)
We entered the start of last week with a sense of trepidation and relief as our first runners since March 23rd were kennelled at Henlow on Monday morning. Perhaps we need not have worried too much as our first runner Bobs Duke trapped smartly and gained a winning lead at the first bend. In all my time in greyhound racing we have never known such extraordinary times and the 10 week break due to Covid-19 made that winner extra special in a strange sort of way. We proceeded to have another winner on the first morning as Craigie Boy hung on to score in his second ever race, we also had runners on Tuesday night and Saturday at Henlow though we only had one winner in Cuil King we certainly had plenty of placed efforts, I’m sure plenty of our runners will come on for their first run back.
We have well over 30 graded on at Henlow and in these first few weeks back where there are only five meetings of ten races patience will be required as the racing office have the unenviable task of trying to get over 700 dogs available a race. At least we have some sense of normality back and my staff report that the strict guidelines the sport has to adhere to generally work well, we have around another 15 or so to get back on the card and as restrictions are lifted the problem will ease. There doesn’t seem to be a call for Henlow to do the early am meetings that it had before the lockdown but it’s not rocket science to work out that the bookmaking industry will need more content when betting shops are allowed to open. Around 24 of our open race/new dogs have headed for Towcester and we have now had 3 weeks of trials there. Apart from one broken hock to Chubbys Turkana (fixed and all ok) the trial sessions have gone well and we have around 15 ready to run in Sunday’s first meeting since its closure in August 2018, I’m sure it will be a great card with some decent quality on display. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of our up and coming new dogs that came into the kennel before lockdown, the likes of Sobers Express, Ivy Hill Skyhigh, Hardy Rebel and Testing all look like they could go on to better things.
I’ve made it well known that I’ve emailed Mark Bird asking for the GBGB and the Promoters as a matter of urgency to bring open racing back asap with a calendar of races to give owners and trainers something to look forward to and this week they have announced that open racing can resume at the end of the month. Today Ian Smyth has announced that Romford looks likely to be the first to resume with their regular Friday night fixtures and competitions like the Sussex Cup, Regency, Champion Stakes and more which are all set to be pencilled into a new calendar in July and August. I’m sure Kevin Boothby will be also making plans for Towcester to put together a plan of action which includes producing top class opens and competitions most likely on a Saturday night. With the likes of Aayamza Royale, Aayamza Breeze and Bumblebee Bullet travelling over to Ireland to race while we were waiting for these competitions to be set in stone they may well be able to return to us sooner than expected. Now all we need is some more restrictions to be lifted that allows the sport not to race behind closed doors, if pubs and cinemas etc can allow the public back albeit with a certain amount of social distancing then it shouldn’t be a problem for greyhound racing.
I think one thing I’ve really missed during lockdown is watching live sport but with football starting in just over a week's time and golf having their first big tour event this week with some star names in attendance the mood of not just myself but the whole nation should pick up. We are as a nation, without doubt, going to have some real economic issues once the dust settles and that will be a worry but if this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that money isn’t as important as family, friends and taking things for granted and not wasting what time we all have left in our lives.
Talking of wasting time I have to tell myself not to read our sports infamous forum Greyhoundscene. I’m annoyed at myself last week for not just reading but angrily responding to some despicable personal title threads and reading other threads the abuse I’ve received is unbelievable. The complete lack of moderation on this site is disturbing and whilst I feel there is a place on the internet for the sport to have some lively debate Greyhoundscene has just become a platform for certain individuals to vent their personal grievances no matter who they upset. In this modern day where mental health is thankfully being brought to the fore Greyhoundscene will not be happy until they have caused a less stronger individual than myself to a total break down or worse commit suicide. Thankfully the people who do religiously log on to this site is only a tiny minority of the people who enjoy greyhound racing. If you have never logged on or heard of this site then don’t! as it will be time wasted that you will never get back in your life.
As the racing has started I will try and get back to our regular format of this newsletter, I always like to do a Performance of the Week and we should continue and an obvious winner of that for last week is BOBS DUKE.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
GRADED - BOBS DUKE