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    Liam Aspin Reflects on the Landscape of Category 1 Greyhound Racing in 2024
Liam Aspin Reflects on the Landscape of Category 1 Greyhound Racing in 2024
Greyhound. Source: Midjourney

Liam Aspin Reflects on the Landscape of Category 1 Greyhound Racing in 2024

As Liam Aspin settled in to watch the latest triumph in the world of greyhound racing, the victory of Kilwest Ranger under trainer Paul Harmes's guidance, a sense of delight and hope washed over him.

It's becoming a recurring theme this season to witness trainers like Harmes, alongside the likes of Paul Burr, Kevin Proctor, Kevin Ferguson, and Richard Wales, clinch their first Category 1 wins. In fact, at this juncture, 17 weeks into the season, we've already seen 16 different trainers claim victory in Category 1 races—a remarkable statistic given the escalating prices of top-class dogs on both sides of the pond.

In the realm of greyhound racing, one might assume that the "big" owners would be asserting dominance more than ever. Yet, intriguingly, this doesn't seem to be the case—at least not for now. By this point in 2022, we had only witnessed 10 different winning trainers, and while that number rose to 13 in 2023, it pales in comparison to the variety we're experiencing this year. Indeed, as they say, variety truly is the spice of life!

However, amidst this diversity, one team stands out: the Liz McNair-trained, KSS Syndicate-owned ensemble of Kings and Queens. They've achieved a feat no one else has managed—they've doubled up on victories, not once, but four times! Their success is not only remarkable but also underscored by their commitment to a "built not bought" ethos. Much like the saying heard around stock car tracks, "built not bought" emphasises the value of crafting something from scratch rather than simply purchasing it ready-made. This philosophy, applied to greyhounds, highlights the impressive ability of the Kings and Queens team to breed top-tier dogs consistently—a testament to their skill and dedication.

Returning to the essence of this article, Liam remains hopeful for the remainder of the season. He anticipates witnessing more trainers make their mark in Category 1 races, and hopefully, we'll see a few newcomers grace the winner's circle for the first time. Greyhound racing continues to offer opportunities for new owners to enter the fray and compete at a reasonable cost, as well as providing a platform for individual trainers to shine. It begs the question—why did we ever do away with the owner/trainer license?

Until next time, let's continue to celebrate the diversity and excitement of greyhound racing.

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