20 October 2020
The Welsh Government’s ‘circuit-breaker’ national coronavirus lockdown means that there will be no racing at The Valley until Saturday 14 November at the earliest. Trials have been suspended and will not be able to restart until at least Monday 9 November.
3 October 2020
The planned earlier start to racing was delayed as what seemed like half of the local constabulary plus officers from the local authority demanded to undertake lengthy checks that Caerphilly’s coronavirus restrictions were being adhered to before racing could begin.
This unnecessary fuss seemed to suit Glyncoch May, but then she had already established herself as one of the quirkiest bitches at The Valley even before her first race. Her early trials were a complete farce as she kept turning in the boxes. The only solution turned out to be to load her backwards. This seems to suit her to a T and she came out as smooth as silk on debut, waltzed around early leader Black Panther as they turned and scooted home for a comfortable victory.
The other sprints all produced surprise results as well. Punch Drunk is fast becoming the bookies’ darling as he can be relied upon to completely fluff his lines when he goes off as favourite yet keeps turning over more talented dogs when faced with sterner tests. He smashed out again in the top heat and managed to stay a nostril ahead of favourite Dennis The Menace on the run in.
Perfect Nine – an S1 winner in Ireland and multiple D2 winner over here – looked absolutely thrown in in the supporting heat. But he may need a race or two to reacclimatise after an eleven-month holiday on the south coast of England and was never a factor as David’s Style stole a march when the lids went up.
The Princess, Scotties Star and Harry’s Gold all flew wide and crashed into each other as they entered the home straight three-abreast with Harry’s Gold almost running through the bar in order to somehow get round on the outside.
Dad’s Star was one of a quartet returning from a challenging spell in the Midlands and she looked up against it in the top heat. But she glided past the fast-starting Road Trip up the back straight and drew clear in a time that only five greyhounds have bettered all year.
Sandstorm arrived at The Valley to something of a fanfare in August and promptly responded with five consecutive disastrously poor sprint performances. But, on four-bend debut, he produced hitherto undisplayed early pace and had the supporting heat in the bag before the field even reached the first bend.
You can watch some of the evening’s top races by visiting the Videos section of this website.
19 September 2020
There’s always a collective intake of breath when a greyhound falls in a race – and an equally collective sigh of relief if and when the dog dusts itself off and completes the course. But, even if the dog seems physically unscathed, you never know how it will affect their confidence. The list of greyhounds that shy away from the hurly-burly at the bend for the rest of their careers following a fall is very long one. Langford Lad missed the kick in a sprint seven days ago and then fell awkwardly as he careered into the back of a traffic jam at the bend. So how would he react this week? His answer was to rocket out of the traps and fly round in the second fastest time of the year.
His recent fall was as nothing compared with that of Pudding who took a fearful head-over-heels tumble a fortnight ago. But he ran well last Saturday and, seven days later, bravely edged a three-abreast charge to the first corner to win the top sprint.
Talking about charging to the bend, Rio somehow managed to get across Bill and Miss Ferret in a very trappy top heat and took advantage of the fast going to record a winning time that only he and the now-retired Woody have bettered all year.
Dennis The Menace was almost as quick to the turn in the supporting heat and Charlie’s Girl could never get close enough to challenge.
Harper’s Triple D returned to winning ways with her fastest time for more than six months in a race that was notable for the return of Dad’s Star. She hadn’t run anywhere other than the family’s back garden since the start of February yet gamely followed Jamie’s bitch home in a personal best.
12 September 2020
Our thanks must go to all owners and trainers who rustled up greyhounds from every nook and cranny in Caerphilly County Borough to produce an entertaining seven-race card for the local crowd.
The most interesting result came in the top sprint where Bill – who had shown only modest early pace until now – was backed in from 2/1 to Evens by his owners in the belief that he was running over 515 yards only to find, to their horror, that he was lining up in a two-bend race against four speedsters. Experienced D1 stalwart Steve’s Boy duly bolted up but – against all expectations – Bill was on his coat tails. He swung off a bit as he cornered but came galloping home past the leader to land the most unlikely gamble of the evening.
Bill’s winning time was bettered by the consistent Road Trip who flashed out in the supporting sprint.
Paw Patrol, again, showed sizzling early pace to lead the top heat and, having held off a major challenge from Dennis The Menace and Miss Ferret at the third, duly pulled clear coming home.
Reigning Welsh Greyhound Derby champion Glyncoch Cloud Nine wouldn’t have been able to compete with Paw Patrol’s early toe, but she matched her winning time as she strung the whole field out in the supporting event.
Newhouse Boy and Rose Brown both returned to winning ways while Harry’s Gold – whose hitherto uninspiring palmares hid the fact that he had been improving steadily with every run – finally made it into the winner’s enclosure with his quickest time yet in the last.
5 September 2020
The fifth post-lockdown meeting produced probably the strongest card of the lot and, after several eye-catching upsets in previous weeks, we are beginning to see some true lines of form emerging.
Paw Patrol was balked almost straight out of the boxes when drawn in Trap 4 in last week’s top sprint and ended up coming last. This week she was back in her favourite red jacket in the top heat and blasted off to a 5.50 sectional – a split equalled by only two other greyhounds in the last four years and bettered by only one…herself. Rio can’t match that sort of early pace and, having flown wide off the first bend as usual, he looked done for. But he is now showing exceptional straight line pace and he came flying home to within half-a-length of the reigning Glamorgan Cup champion.
Bill is another one who comes alive in the latter stages and, for the third time in four starts, he rattled past a long-time leader – debutant Langford Lad, in this case – to win the supporting heat in the last couple of strides.
Punch Drunk is, if truth be told, a very modest grader (his last result before coming to The Valley was fourth place in an A8) but he often comes out as if he’s been fired from a gun. For the second week in a row, he shot out of the traps in the top sprint and stayed clear of trouble behind to beat a field of much more talented greyhounds.
However, he would be hard-pressed to stay ahead of Detroit Dixie. The young pup – in only his second race anywhere – pulled miles clear in the supporting sprint and looks on the way to stardom.
The most heart-warming sight of the evening was a winning return for Alfie’s Gem. She’s the one who went on an amazing winning streak at the end of last year after a training regime that involved being taken shopping at Tesco’s and spending a night trick-or-treating round Pontypridd. That run came to an abrupt halt when she split her gracilis in two on Boxing Day but she’s been gently nursed back over the intervening eight months and the old girl was able to take advantage when Pudding took a hair-raising head-over-heels tumble when leading. Kudos is due to Pudding – possibly the most handsome thing on four legs – as he dusted himself off and completed the course apparently none the worse for his spectacular acrobatics.