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    Greyhound Racing Triumphs at GBGB Awards: Droopys Clue Crowned Greyhound of the Year
Greyhound Racing Triumphs at GBGB Awards: Droopys Clue Crowned Greyhound of the Year

Greyhound Racing Triumphs at GBGB Awards: Droopys Clue Crowned Greyhound of the Year

DROOPYS CLUE lines up at Oxford tomorrow night as the newly crowned Premier Greyhound Racing Greyhound of the Year after landing the top honour at the sport’s annual awards at the Doubletree by Hilton Metropole, Brighton, on Sunday.

On a night when stars from both on and off the track were celebrated at a gala black-tie occasion, the Seamus Cahill-trained, Alex Hambi-owned Premier Greyhound Racing St Leger winner added the Greyhound of the Year title to his GBGB Newcomer of the Year and Stayer of the Year accolades awarded earlier – to complete a fantastic night for connections.

“We were fortunate to win the Greyhound of the Year with Jimmy Lollie (2010) a good few years ago, but this is also very special and I’m delighted he’s been recognised in this way,” said trainer Cahill, who revealed owner Hambi had been informed of the award while sitting on an aeroplane “somewhere between Dubai and Australia!”.

He explained: “Alex had a prior family commitment so couldn’t be with us but he opened a bottle of champagne on the plane and joined us in celebrating Cluedo’s win.

“His great friend Steve Hughes was with us on the evening and, when Steve told me he’d arrived in Brighton without his dinner suit and had to go shopping in town to buy a new one, and the fact that Alex wasn’t with us anyway, you wondered whether it was going to be our night. However, when his name was read out for the Stayer of the Year in such a strong field against Laughill Jess and Space Jet, then we began to dream!

“I’d say the Hunt Cup at Oxford is the plan and then we’ll probably drop him back down for the Derby given he won the Juvenile Classic there last year, then it’ll be about defending his St Leger crown at Perry Barr.

“We’re just delighted to have won Greyhound of the Year in such a good year and enjoyed what was a great occasion for the sport – and huge thanks must go to our staff, of course.”

Bellmore Sally was the other major winner of the night as Jimmy Fenwick and Neil McGregor’s dual Premier Greyhound Racing Golden Jacket and Ladbrokes TV Trophy champion took the Racing and Sports Bitch of the Year and SIS Marathon Performer of the Year titles – and will head to Oxford for a defence of the TV Trophy next week.

Also heading to the Cowley venue for her own big-race swansong will be Space Jet after Matt Dartnall and Kurn Rushen’s superstar tracker took home a GWA Special Recognition Award for an incredible career stretching back to her St Leger triumph in 2021.

Greyhound Writers’ Association member Jim Cremin said: “This was a fantastic, surprise award on the night, and fully deserved. Space Jet is the most extraordinary greyhound I have seen since Scurlogue Champ, and to be ready to compete for the last time as a five-year-old in the upcoming TV Trophy really is a special achievement.”

Links Maverick completed a good day for connections as Tom Heilbron’s star – owned by Heilbron himself, his father Kevin, Trevor Rush, and David Wilson – followed up victory on the track at Sheffield the same afternoon by landing the Arc Standard Distance Greyhound of the Year from King Memphis and Romeo Command.

Quarteira was named GBGB Sprinter of the Year as the Mark Wallis-trained, MWD Partnership-owned speedster edged out Bombout Bullet and Flashing Willow after winning the Arc Scurry Gold Cup at Perry Barr, while Lenson Doolin completed back-to-back Hurdler of the Year wins as the MWD Partnership-sponsored award went to the Ricky Holloway-trained, Simon Trubshaw-owned timber-topper who landed the Ladbrokes Champion Hurdle in 2023.

The evening at the Hilton Metropole had begun on a special note as Norah McEllistrim celebrated her 50 years as a trainer by accepting a GWA Lifetime Achievement Award, receiving a standing ovation as the Hove handler made her way to the stage.

The former Wimbledon trainer, daughter of the legendary handler Paddy McEllistrim, took out her trainer’s license in 1974 and joined the Sussex track from the famous Plough Lane venue in 2012. Norah, who was joined on the night by longtime partner Brian Harrison, thanked her staff for making her lifetime sending out big-race winners possible.

Chloe Hardy, who works for Newcastle trainer Steve Anderson, collected her GBGB Kennelhand of the Year award, while the KSS Syndicate and trainer Liz McNair were on hand to accept Queen Beyonce’s honour as GBGB Best Dam of British Bred.

The Patrick Janssens-trained and Dave Firmager-owned Romeo Command was named SIS British Bred Greyhound of the Year having won the British Breeders Stakes at Nottingham and finished second in the Star Sports and TRC English Greyhound Derby at Towcester, while trainer Bob Pattinson and owner Jon Carter collected Feora Lottie’s Arc Graded Greyhound of the Year award.

Mark Wallis was on hand to accept the Ladbrokes Trainer of the Year title – the 14th time the boss of Imperial Kennels has landed the honour – and suggested this victory in 2023 might have been the sweetest of them all given the changes at the kennel given the setting up of the MWD Partnership with Mike Davis and Michelle Connolly.

Brendan Keogh and the McNairs were also clapped on stage as the KSS Syndicate collected the Coral Owner of the Year title for the ninth time, their sensational four Category One wins in a week in December – and nine overall in 2023 – securing the honour from the MWD Partnership and Dave Firmager.

GBGB racing operations executive Scott Harvey said: “It really was a tremendous night down in Brighton and a fantastic occasion for the sport. Thanks to Zoe Brown and her team for making it possible and the feedback from the 2023 GBGB Greyhound of the Year Awards has been some of the best we’ve received in recent years. Roll on next year!”


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