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Cabela Holly voted 2013 GBGB Graded Greyhound of the Year

Cabela Holly, whose meteoric rise through the grades at Hove is almost a rarity at any track, has been voted the 2013 GBGB Graded Greyhound of the Year by a judging panel.

Connections will receive the BAGS-sponsored trophy at the GBGB awards gala at Manchester’s Hilton Deansgate on Sunday 26th January. The award has been reintroduced to highlight the many great graded stories which unfold during the year and Cabela Holly, nominated by Hove deputy racing manager Jeff Piper, came out top of the pile.

The 28-kilo February 2011 black bitch, who eventually competed in the top grade over Hove’s 515m after beginning her career as a 14-1 outsider in lowly A11 company in November 2012, also won an open on home soil in July.

Her progress is a glowing tribute to the skills of her long-serving trainer Doreen Walsh. “This greyhound has been very straightforward to train,” said Walsh. “She’s always very excited when we are putting her on the van for a racenight, and is a particularly happy greyhound in the kennels.”

Cabela Holly, co-owned by the late Sidney Norris, George Norris and Jason West, notched 15 wins from 50 appearances in graded races during the year.

“We’re all absolutely thrilled for Cabela Holly to gain recognition by winning this award, and I must also thank my staff for their contribution – it’s really been a team effort,” added Walsh.“Owners are the backbone of the sport, and the connections of the bitch were on cloud nine when they heard news of the award.”

“My first venture into greyhound ownership came through Snowys Boy, who won the Racing Post Bags Championship at Hove 20-odd years ago,” said 67-year-old retired scaffolder George Norris. “We bought Cabela Holly when she was around two years old, and the whole experience of owning a bitch like her has been incredible.

“Every time Cabela Holly sets foot on a track she tries her heart out. The people behind the scenes in the kennels have done a fantastic job with her, and, of course, I can’t thank Doreen enough for her contribution – it’s a real pleasure to be associated with this greyhound.”