The first Premier Greyhound Racing Golden Jacket Final proved to be a fitting start for this new series of elite events as Bellmore Sally exploded from the traps and quickly put the result beyond doubt.
Jimmy Fenwick’s Newcastle raider completed her unbeaten run through the competition in the most emphatic way and stopped the clock in an impressive 44.81, less than 30 spots outside the track record.
Her connections had to endure very early starts to make it to the track in time each Saturday but it was all worthwhile in the end and they’ll be delighted to be taking the inaugural Premier Greyhound Racing Golden Jacket title and the £20k cheque back to the Northeast.
She will now very likely be aimed at the TV Trophy before hopefully returning to Crayford for the Jay & Kay Coach Tours Kent St Leger in May. Judging by her performances over the past few weeks she looks to have a great chance of completing a significant category 1 treble in those prestigious events.
The runner up Droopys Senorita ran a stormer for Hove trainer Claude Gardiner to reduce the deficit to a shade over 5 lengths and she seems set to follow the same path as Sally in taking in the TV Trophy before the Kent St Leger as well.
Warzone Tom missed his break when it mattered most but showed his customary early speed to challenge the winner near the end of the first circuit but he was never likely to get past. His unbeaten Crayford record has gone now but he has still managed to win 7 from 8 at the track.
Piercestown Dove’s unbeaten record at the track has also ended and winning most Golden Jacket trainer Derek Knight was unable to add to his impressive role of honour and neither was Mark Wallis who has tasted Jacket success before as his Antigua Lava couldn’t work her way through to mount any sort of challenge.
Local hopes rested with Lee and Anthony Gifkins Burgess Hannah and she ran a gallant race but always faced an uphill battle after mistiming the start herself, she’ll be back for more attempts at the trip in the near future.
The Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy Final saw Woodcocks Akia become the first dog to successfully defend the title. Nick Deas’ fawn seems to save her best form for this time of year and she blasted from the traps to lead all the way and land the £5000 first prize to add to the £2000 she won in last years decider.
Brutus Bullet was a gallant runner up for former Crayford trainer Belinda Green and managed to pull upsides Akia rounding the final bends but couldn’t get past the gutsy local star.
Droopys Noodle and Saleen Ash were recent winners who made the final again the following year but Woodcocks Akia has gone one step further in actually making it two in a row.
The Chief Ramsbottom Hurdle was another final to be landed by the defending champion as Nomansland Flyer got the better of a fascinating duel with Tommy Batchelor’s Droopys Ref.
The runner up had actually been sold to Tommy by winning trainer Ricky Holloway and owner Simon Trubshaw a couple of months ago.
A special mention for Borna Rhythm who finished a close third here after significant first bend bother. Tony Collett’s novice will win plenty of hurdle races based on this effort and must be a strong contender for the upcoming Springbok at Central Park.
The other competition final was the Ladbrokes.com Winter One-lap Trophy and Only Maloney was to land the spoils. He had a very productive spell when graded at Crayford early last year and returned to land the £1000 prize.
Doolin Princess was another runner returning to win the same race again for the second year running on the supporting card as she landed the ‘Ladies’ contest, while another dog attempting the feat was Julie Luckhurst’s Foxrock Brae who won the 380 hurdle last year.
He was to be out of luck this time as he was outgunned by kennelmate Wilson (for the same owners) but there was some consolation as Foxrock Brae received his award for being the RPGTV Crayford Greyhound Of The Year for 2021.
We now look forward to hosting the Entain Track Championship on April 16th and then the Jay & Kay Coach Tours Kent St Leger in May supported by the popular Guys & Dolls.