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The Chelsea Glass Grand National - Sittingbourne 480m (£8,000)

The Grand National is one of the original classics, it was first run back in 1927. It is without doubt one of the most exciting competitions in the sport. We have seen some amazing champions over the years but when I think about the Grand National I immediately think about Arfur Daley the 1993 champion. I was a massive fan of his and he was a greyhound that captured my imagination. You can't write about the Grand National without mentioning Sherrys Prince who triumphed three years running (1970, 71 and 72).That was an amazing achievement and you would get very large odds on that record ever being broken.

 

Shop Gibbon got the 2015 Grand National up and running winning the first-heat in 30.32. Bubbly Ninja set the competition alight with a fine display in heat-two stopping the clock in a sizzling 29.84. Castlelyons Cofi beat reigning Springbok Champion Reculver Ozzie in heat-three in a fine 30.02. Razldazl Bigbear dipped under the 30.00 barrier in heat-four, winning in a fast 29.93. 

 

Twelve greyhounds now head to the semi-finals on Thursday 1st October and it promises to be an amazing spectacle. Tony Taylor will be represented by four greyhounds, what an achievement that is by the new Hove handler! I decided to catch up with Tony and get the low-down on his four runners. 

 

Tony Taylor on Castlelyons Cofi, Julius George, Bizzaro and Affane Duke

 

"This competition means so much to me and if I could win it, it would honestly be a dream come true. I remember when the old GRA ran it, back then it was a major deal, there was a big build up with glitz and glamour surrounding it. I remember so many of the amazing winners and it would really be something for me to win it. This is one of the original eight classics and it's a huge prize for me.

 

Castlelyons Cofi has had more injuries than me and that's saying something. He's a good old dog and I guess this competition is somewhat of a swansong for him. To win it with him would be so special. I'm happy with the draw and if he gets a clear run then I'd expect him to qualify but there's some very good dogs in it. The likes of Bubbly Ninja look exciting at the start of their hurdle careers while we are in the twilight of ours. He does not like getting involved in the bumps these days but like I said, if he pops out he's a big chance of making the final.

 

Julius George could have won the Springbok, he came with a right rattle but met trouble. The owners are having a lot of fun and it would be some achievement by him to make the final. He's had his share of niggles but right now he seems good and he's fast enough to make the final.

 

Bizzaro is a bit far off the rails for my liking. He's got plenty of pace but honestly he's 'like a bull in a China shop'. I said to the owners; “this dogs a lunatic let's take him hurdling”. If he can get on the rail and puts everything in then you never know.

 

Affane Duke just wants to mess about, if he would really go for it then he could do something special. It's hard to say what he will do but he's in the semi-final on merit and like Bizzaro you just never know".

 

Draw (Semi-Finals Thursday 1st October)

 

T1 Bubbly Ninja

T2 Shop Gibbon

T3 Razldazl Bigbear 

T4 Bizarro 

T5 Affane Duke (m)

T6 Castlelyons Cofi (w)

 

T1 Reculver Ozzie

T2 Scolari Express

T3 Jetstream Reason 

T4 Julius George 

T5 Mo's Bullet (m)

T6 Soviet Jackson (w) 

 

The John Smiths Kent Derby - Sittingbourne 480m (£5,000)

 

The Kent Derby is running alongside the Grand National and it means one thing; Sittingbourne is the place to be right now. It's going to be pulsating action all the way and The Kent Derby is a massive race in its own right. Smoking Bullet won the first running back in 2000 but since then it's been a competition to savour. 

 

Three greyhounds broke the 29.00 barrier on the calculated times in the heats; Ballygibbon King 28.84, Lenson Tiggy 28.90 and Bubbly Gold 28.99. Do It For Twiggy the hero from the East Anglian Derby made it through as did Crossfield Cesar the Caffreys Puppy champion. Heading to the last eighteen it's hotting up and with just two to qualify from each of the three semi-finals, it means there's little room for error.

 

Get the full results here; http://www.gbgb.org.uk/resultsMeeting.aspx?id=132652 

 

Draw 

 

T1 Badmoonrising

T2 Do It For Twiggy 

T3 Millwards Davy (m)

T4 Farnies Cookie (m)

T5 Sidarian Blitz (w)

T6 Moanteen Merlin (w)

 

T1 Mash Cage

T2 Kentish Man

T3 Lenson Tiggy (m)

T4 Across The Way (m)

T5 Soviet Kenny (w)

T6 Crossfield Cesar (w)

 

T1 Bubbly Gold

T2 Longrange Spy (m)

T3 Swabys Millward (m)

T4 Ballygibbon King (m)

T5 Ballymac Manix (w)

T6 Torphin Bluesky (w)