24 July 2021
There are three types of greyhound racing: track racing, coursing and drag hare racing. The first is highly regulated; the second is now illegal in the UK but is still regulated in Ireland. The third type of racing lives in the shadows. Very popular in Pakistan, it is believed that there are still four UK venues where greyhounds chase a lure up a straight course, chiefly catering to the UK’s Asian communities. The sport attracts some very powerful greyhounds and big money can change hands, but you will struggle to find any records or information.
When Irish Lad turned up at The Valley for an unofficial trial and thundered round two bends despite having no known form, no one was fooled into thinking that he was an untried pup and he went straight into the top sprint. The rumour was that the owners had laid their money down and the four fastest sprinters at The Valley were lined up either side of him. It was Road Warrior who laid down the first challenge, snapping out of Trap 5, but Irish Lad put the power down early to lead before they were half way along the run up. Persuasion had missed the kick but had lit the afterburners by the time they approached the bend. Last week’s two eye-catching sprint winners, Old Man and Rocket Ronnie, were caught on their heels. It was too late for the home side: Irish Boy was powering clear and even an attempted rugby tackle from Road Warrior on the run in couldn’t stop him.
The top rounder looked likely to be a battle between Lady Warrior and Born To Run but, instead, it was Persuaded who led them round with Bertie in hot pursuit. The going was testing and the leaders couldn’t pull away. As they turned for home, Persuaded remained the leader but all four were still in contention. It wasn’t until the final strides that Bernie got up to win it. (You can watch some of the evening’s top races by visiting the Videos section of this website).
In the supporting event, Kung Fu Panda blasted out to far-and-away the fastest sectional of the night but Rose Brown – chasing a three-timer – was on his heels by the time they reached the end of the back straight. A hundred yards later, she was up alongside, but Kung Fu Panda just managed to pull out a little extra on the run in.
Elsewhere, Black Beasty hit the ground running with a debut win while Glyncoch May – winless in eight months before last week – made it two victories in the space of eight days.
17 July 2021
A swelteringly hot evening – punctuated by yet another long delay for repairs to the hare – turned out to be a night of surprises as no fewer than seven favourites or joint-favourites were turned over.
In the top race, Road Warrior was surprisingly beaten to the bend by kennelmate Lady Warrior and, although he came through to lead at the third, she railed back past him on the run in.
Rose Brown was rewarded as she dived through a tiny gap to lead at the corner before galloping well clear in the supporting heat.
Rocket Ronnie made his debut at The Valley in an open sprint where he was beaten by Persuaded. Last time out, he finished behind Little Warrior. With no wins on his card before tonight and facing both those rivals again, it was no shock to find him the outsider of the field in the top sprint. But Ronnie got away well, clung on at the turn and continued to hold the lead as the chasing trio all swapped places behind him.
Debutant Old Man came away unspectacularly in the supporting sprint but kept ratcheting up the speed all the way home to leave the rest of the field strung out all the way down the finishing straight in the fastest post-lockdown time so far. (You can watch some of the evening’s top races by visiting the Videos section of this website).
Road Trip recorded his first win in ten months in the opener while Glyncoch May – winless since last November – suddenly produced her best run ever at The Valley.
3 July 2021
It has been difficult to gauge true lines of form over the first half-a-dozen post-lockdown meetings. Predictably, some greyhounds have been found to be miles behind the form they were showing last Christmas, some newcomers have found themselves in completely the wrong grade, while a few dogs seem to have been remarkably refreshed by the lay off.
Tonight’s meeting was, by far, the strongest of the year so far and a balanced card – with two ’rounders’ over the standard 515 yards trip and a highly competitive top sprint – gave hints that the cream is finally rising to the top.
Sandstorm – turned over by an inexperienced pup a week ago – shot into a surprise lead in the top heat as the market leaders, Persuasion and Lady Warrior, clanged into each other at the turn. As Sandsorm’s owner went berserk with excitement, Bertie cut the celebrations short by booting past the leader up the back straight and going comfortably clear.
But he would have been almost four lengths adrift of the winner of the supporting heat. This was a messy race. The red-jacketed Kelly’s Eye moved into the middle of the track straight out of the boxes while Condy’s Lass went left out of Trap 5. The resulting scrimmaging left Road Warrior with a clear run round the outside and he flew round in a time made all the more impressive by the fact that the going was, again, on the slow side.
There was plenty of anticipation before the top sprint which saw Persuasion and Little Warrior going head-to-head again seven days after a ding-dong battle over the same distance. However, Persuasion went headfirst into Rocket Ronnie as they left the traps and almost fell on his face while Little Warrior cracked out and made all. (You can watch recordings of the evening’s top races in the Videos section of this website)
Tommy Brown and Mini Brown gave Brian Phillips a sprint double and Candy Brown almost made it a treble only to be balked as Busy Lizzie veered across the track on the run in on the way to victory in the last.