We bring you fully up to speed with all that's happening in the world of greyhounds, including the new Sky Sports Racing output from this week.
Towcester TV will broadcast exclusive coverage of the TRC Health & Hygiene Blue Riband Final - on Saturday afternoon.
The switch to an afternoon fixture has been made to avoid a clash with a busy open-race Saturday with events at Crayford and Monmore scheduled.
First race will be at 3.23pm and the last race at 6.13pm for a ten-race all-open card. The meeting will be available to subscribe via towcester.tv for £5.
Towcester spokesman Nathan Corden said: “We’ve decided to move the meeting to an afternoon slot to maximise exposure by avoiding the Golden Jacket heats in the morning and then what is likely to be an all-open race card at Monmore with their Winter Derby and Puppy Derby trial stakes, plus the Tote Gold Cup meeting from Shelbourne Park.
The afternoon slot should give open-race fans a full day of top-quality racing.
Corden added: “We were delighted by the number of viewers who took up the option of the free service for the rearranged heats last Wednesday afternoon with the analytics showing in excess of 3,500 viewers tuned in. Hopefully a lot of them will be back this Saturday!
“Our supporting races on Saturday close at noon on Tuesday (February 2) and we are very grateful to a number of sponsors who have stepped forward to support us enabling us to make some of the opens £500 to the winner.
“There are still a couple of races available for sponsorship at £500 and, if anybody is interested, then please email me at email@example.com.”
Favourite for the TRC Health & Hygiene Blue Riband Final is Kilara Lion. Already winner of the Yarmouth Derby and Kent Derby, Kilara Lion represents champion trainer Patrick Janssens.
Trap draw for Sunday’s final: 1 Kilara Lion, 2 Coolavanny Kyser, 3 Great Eastern, 4 Swift Lettuce (m), 5 Newinn Jacko (m), 6 Faughan Rebel (w).
Sky Sports Racing will begin broadcasting nightly greyhound racing from Wednesday this week.
Following a trial of live Swindon meetings last year, the Arc tracks will be shown as part of the Stateside Live programme on the channel which features evening UK horse racing and action from the US.
A statement from Arena Racing Company said: “ARC is delighted to confirm it has secured an agreement that will see daily television broadcast of greyhound racing from ARC and Greyhound Media Group (GMG) greyhound stadia.
“From Wednesday (February 3rd), Sky Sports Racing will add to its existing programming evening racing from a selection of greyhound stadia, offering live HD pictures, seven days a week. The schedule at launch will consist of Nottingham (Monday and Friday), Sheffield (Tuesday and Saturday), Newcastle (Wednesday and Thursday) and Swindon (Sunday).
“Sky Sports Racing is available in roughly 14 million homes on the Sky and Virgin Media platforms in UK and Ireland.”
Mark Kingston, director of media technology and production at ARC, said: “Sky Sports Racing coverage is great news for greyhound racing.
“We are delighted to work with the team at At The Races to expand significantly on the amount of live greyhound racing that the channel will broadcast and offer the sport a hugely valuable home for mainstream coverage, seven days a week.
“Swindon coverage last year confirmed that there is a following for high quality open and graded greyhound fixtures on Sky Sports Racing. We will revise the schedule over time to ensure that we bring viewers the very best of the greyhound fixtures across all ARC and GMG tracks.”
Sky's move coincides with RPGTV launching a new schedule from Monday this week, kicking off with Doncaster and Harlow.
As previously, the nightly programmes starts at 6pm and can be found on the new HD SportyStuff TV channel on Sky channel 437 plus Freesat channel 250.
Doncaster and Harlow are joined by a host of tracks already on the SIS schedule with Hove and Monmore joining the likes of Central Park, Henlow, Crayford and Romford on the service.
Incidentally, Romford and Crayford will form the live action for a brand new Saturday morning programme on the channel, starting this week.
Kevan Moretti, chairman and chief executive officer of Greyhound TV (GTV) Limited commented: “GTV Ltd welcomes the support and investment to upgrade RPGTV’s broadcast platform from GTV’s shareholders, whose brands we all recognise - bet365, Betfair, Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Unibet and William Hill.
“This move is another significant strategic advance for RPGTV. We are so pleased to bring our audience the best of greyhound racing in high definition on our own dedicated TV channel for the first time. The channel will provide a long-term platform to expand RPGTV’s greyhound coverage from here.
“SportyStuffTV is open for business and we look forward to announcing further greyhound racing coverage, new shows, and new sports programming on the new channel as developments take place in the coming months.”
Clive Lawrence, executive producer, said: “Being on a dedicated sports channel offers many more transmission hours and opportunities for RPGTV to expand its coverage. This has already proved useful with the introduction of our Saturday morning coverage beginning on Saturday, February 6.”
The Greyhound Writers’ Association announced last week that Ben Keith is the latest recipient of the GWA Services to Greyhound Racing Award - and will be among the stars honoured at a virtual GBGB Awards on Sunday, February 14.
A statement from GWA chairman Jonathan Hobbs said: “Ben is a lifelong greyhound fan, a passion which has manifested itself in his unwavering backing of the Greyhound Derby - this year his Star Sports company will be sponsoring or co-sponsoring the world’s greatest greyhound race for the fifth year running.
“We all know how tough this past 12 months has been, but greyhound racing can be proud of the way it’s handled itself - especially in the work of trainers, their kennelhands and staff, supported by owners, whose love for this majestic breed knows no bounds.
“It’s that love of greyhounds and greyhound racing which shines through seemingly everything Ben does. He is hugely respected in the game as a real champion of the sport and is already a Greyhound Ambassador for the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
“The GWA hopes Ben accepts this award as an appreciation of not just a passion for greyhound racing shared by so many, but in how this love has led to major race sponsorships and, just as importantly, in the way he spreads the word in all walks of life.
“As ever, GWA members were also keen to recognise a number of other individuals whose work in 2020 shone brightly and was ground-breaking, or to those whose loyalty and service to the sport has been unmatched over a period of years.
“So step forward greyhound racing’s social media innovator Josh Sealey, the team behind the Your Greyhound’s History Facebook group, GBGB trainer representative Peter Harnden, Lincolnshire GT home-finder Kevin Stow, track consultant Nathan Corden, former champion trainer Mark Wallis, now-retired Derby-winning handler Danny Riordan, LadbrokesCoral track boss Ian Smyth and RPGTV executive producer Clive Lawrence.
“Posthumously, GWA members wanted to pay particular tribute to the late Romford trainer Yvonne Gaskin, home-finders Mike Reynolds and Johanna Beumer, Ballyregan Bob’s trainer George Curtis and former GWA life-president Bob Betts, all of whom we sadly lost in 2020.
“Our respect and thoughts to their families and to the families of all those whom greyhound racing will miss greatly.”
A new greyhound sales auction company - GreyhoundTrader.com - has been launched by Nathan Corden and his son James.
Explaining the move, former Nottingham director now Towcester consultant Corden said: “Our first sale will be at Towcester on Wednesday, April 21, and we plan to start with a bang with a top class pre-Greyhound Derby sale.
“The timing should be perfect with customers able to purchase their Derby hope at the sale allowing a good six weeks for their new charge to settle into new surroundings and qualify for racing.
“We hope to have 60 lots available, probably made up of 30 potential Derby dogs and then 30 top-class pups which can be aimed at Towcester’s new Category One puppy competition scheduled to start the night before the English Greyhound Derby Final.
“The plan is to hold monthly sales around the UK and we hope to announce a full schedule within the next few weeks.
“We already have tentative dates for sales at Central Park, Monmore, Romford and back at Towcester but are waiting on a couple more tracks to come back with exact dates before we announce the full schedule.
“Obviously the current Covid-19 restrictions are not ideal and we are still unclear if the public will be able to attend. However, the technology will be in place to view the sales trials online and customers will be able to make bids, again online.
“Brexit concerns over the transportation of greyhounds from Ireland to the UK appear to have eased and most of the transporters we have spoke to have resumed their weekly runs across the water. We will ensure everything is done correctly with the relevant authorities.”
Nathan’s son James, 20, currently studying Sports Business Management at university, plans to be as active as possible in the new business.
“I’m excited to get started and looking forward to our first sale in April. Obviously my family’s links with greyhound racing are well known, but I’ve been involved myself as a greyhound owner which I hugely enjoy.
“My first venture into ownership was a share in Bubbly Mustang with the Champagne Club. Soon after Mark Burridge got me involved in his Jotainthelastminute Syndicate, even though I’m a Nottingham Forest fan!
“My Dad and I now have a litter of pups out of a sister to Skywalker Logan by Dorotas Wildcat which are 16 weeks old and with Shane O’Gorman in Portlaw, Co Waterford. They actually reared my late grandad’s Steel City Cup winner Tynwald Baz.
“Our website www.greyhoundtrader.com is currently under construction, but people can still sign up for the latest news. We’ll be using the latest technology for streaming of trials and for our customers to bid online - and will ensure we bring over quality greyhounds for all budgets to our sales.”
Nathan Corden added “We’ve been planning this for a while and already have a number of Ireland’s leading breeders committed to supplying greyhounds.
“However, given the anticipated shortage in the number of available greyhounds in the next year, we are always keen to expand our group of contacts. For more information breeders can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @GreyderSales.
Racing-wise, the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket kicks off at Crayford this Saturday morning, with the action live on RPGTV.
Favourite is likely to be Hayley Keightley’s Roxholme Kristof, although expect a strong team from Mark Wallis after his Aayamza Lexie impressed in a trial stakes on Saturday - further boosting his handler’s early Trainer of the Year standings.
2021 GBGB Trainer of the Year standings - up to and including Jan 31:
Central Park continued the build-up to the novice hurdlers’ championship the Springbok with two more trial stakes on Sunday - won by Barry O’Sullivan’s pair of Masonspeedymac and Storys Goal.
Latest Springbok standings - Top 20:
2. TOOLMAKER DADDY
3. AIM FOR GLORY
4. DROOPYS REX
5. SLOWLANE PENNY
6. STORYS GOAL
7. NANS RAVAN
8. ROXHOLME SVEN
9. NANS MISSILE
10. BANG ON SONIA
11. MEENAGH MAVERICK
12. LOGGIES MONKEY
13. COOLAVANNY ARCHY
14. MEENAGH MAVERICK
15. OUR DOG JACKO
16. WOODCOCKS AERO
17. LOGGIES PANDEMIC
18. BARFETT BOY
19. HILLCROFT MASTER
20. SPRINGWELL JOLLY