Monday 18th August 2008
Last week with the closure of the Chandler era at Walthamstow was probably one of the most emotional and stressful weeks that I have had since I have been involved in greyhound racing and after the incredible scenes witnessed on Saturday night where thousands of people flocked to the famous Chingford Road venue it's only now that we all can see what a massive hole will be left in many people's lives. The atmosphere and pure magic of Walthamstow was unbelievably captured and the crowd's reaction before the last race went off with everyone cheering and clapping and then with our Mountjoy Diamond bowling along in front will live in my memory for ever. The massive invasion after the race was maybe expected and as always there were a few idiots who thought that ripping up the place was clever but on the whole most of the other people were saying goodbye for quite possibly the final time.
The big question now is where does the sport go post Walthamstow and personally I can honestly say I don't know. The best solution would be if the Stadium can be bought back off the new owners L & Q and whoever takes over learns from all the mistakes that have been made over the last few declining years so that nights like last Saturday become a regular occasion. Saturday also saw some magnificent action on the track and I was the proudest trainer in the land when Butterbridge Ali strode majestically to a superb 39.16 track record over 640m and although Centaur Decree could only finish second, just to see this special greyhound flowing around the bends with consummate ease after what was a career threatening injury earlier in the year typifies what our kennel has been all about over the years at the Stow. And what a fitting winner in the last race with Mountjoy Diamond giving not only myself and our kennel but our loyal Walthamstow owner for over 40 years Patsy Canovan the winner we all wanted and you could see the look on Patsy's face how much it meant. There was also a small matter of a trainers meeting called by myself 45 minutess before racing where 8 Walthamstow trainers were not going to let their greyhounds run until we had been given assurances from Charles and Jack Chandler, with RM Chris Page present, that money promised to the trainers back in May that the BGRB and the Chandler family had agreed to pay us in return for keeping our professionalism and our greyhounds running until 16th August (we kept our side of the deal) was going to be honoured, which only a day before seemed to have despicably disappeared.
One final note is that the S.O.S campaign led by Ricky Holloway that included Saturday's brilliant march to the Town Hall is certainly not going to stop now the track is closed and you can bet your bottom dollar that every effort will be made to try and get this iconic London landmark back running a.s.a.p!
A short round up starts with no luck at Nottingham for our puppies on Monday night in the Puppy Classic but on Wednesday at Harlow Bell Tempest, in his first open race away from Walthamstow, won the Marathon by 1 1/2 lengths in 50.79. In the Monkey Stayers final Missed A Train was a shade unlucky and Coolanga Flyer finished 4th behind Kim Marlow's Newtown Susie. At Romford on Friday Blackey Said So broke her Maiden duck when winning in 24.34 (+30) and Elusive Jazz took the top division of the 575m Maiden Stayers in 35.70 (+30). Eye Onthe Veto warmed up for next week's Champion Stakes when 3rd to the in-form Bubbly Sally and there were good runs from Kinda Classic (2nd) and Millwards Summit (3rd). As said above Butterbridge Ali and Mountjoy Diamond were our open winners at Walthamstow on Saturday. On Sunday at Sittingbourne there was a debut win for Corrig Veiri in the heats of the Maiden over 500m in a good 30.79 and Mooloolaba was 2nd in the heats of the 642 Stayers.
WALTHAMSTOW AND HARLOW REVIEW
On Tuesday Rank N File completed a four-timer beating kennelmate Rockybay Class in a calc 29.33. Genesis Fuzzums just got up on the line to win in 29.81 (-10) and the popular Genesis Dream returned to the winners podium scoring by 3/4 length in 29.28. Ants Gunner showed what a battler he is when holding on to win the A3 in 29.31. At Harlow in the inter-tracks a first win for Treacle Gem in 26.78 was followed by a good win from Bingo Panda in 26.56 (-10) and Genesis Gemstone in 26.52 (-10). On Thursday Wee Bad Boy making his debut won in style by 3 1/4 lengths in 29.64 (+10) and Bingo Panda will go down as our last graded race winner at Walthamstow when scoring in 29.27 (+10) on Saturday.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING- BUTTERBRIDGE ALI
GRADED- ANTS GUNNER
WHATS ON THIS WEEK
Life with out Walthamstow this week starts at Harlow on Wednesday with opens and Inter-Tracks planned and more are scheduled for Thursday. At Hove on the same night we will be wined and dined with some top class action promised in support of the Emily Wood benefit night organised by Dave Wood. The Champion Stakes heats start on Friday at Romford and our leading players will include 2007 1st and 2nd Eye Onthe Veto and Directors Chair as well as amongst others Elusive Jazz but unfortunately the prolific Eye Onthe Force will miss the competition (injured). We will also be at Sittingbourne on Sunday.