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Dave Baldwin's big Nottingham send off

 

DAVE BALDWIN, general manager at Nottingham for the past 10 years, oversaw his last Betfred Eclipse final at Nottingham on Tuesday before taking up a role within the GBGB. He becomes an area stipendiary steward on Monday.

 

A former racing manager and director of racing at Sheffield, having started at the old Cleveland Park track in Middlesborough before moving to Sunderland, Baldwin was presented with two mementoes on Eclipse final night - from sponsors Betfred and the Greyhound Writers’ Association.

 

GWA chairman Jonathan Hobbs said: “I know Mark (Pearson, Betfred’s head of media) felt the same as us - that Dave has played an important role in overseeing some of the most important races in the Calendar at Nottingham, especially the Select Stakes.

 

“That’s the race the GWA effectively pick the field and Dave has kept us in check over the years! He’s raised an eyebrow or two at some of our selections, but we’ve had some fun when the members get together and choose the field.

 

“Dave is famously teetotal - even we couldn’t persuade him to partake - hence why we asked Mark Burridge of Burridge Trophies to make a special engraved fruit bowl as opposed to a decanter! Dave’s a man of great principle - fair and friendly but with a strong character. That will help him in his new role.”

 

A number of GWA members penned special messages to Baldwin on the night, with Association secretary John Forbes commenting: “From Middlesbrough to Nottingham you’ve always been a great help and good friend down the years and long may it continue in your next role.”

 

Matt Salter and Chris Oliver of the Press Association both wished Baldwin well in the switch to the GBGB, writing: “Dave has been a great help to us over the years, and his passion for the dogs shines through. He’s always made us feel welcome at Nottingham.”

 

Floyd Amphlett of the Greyhound Star said: “Dave is one of the most genuine people in the sport - he’s liked and respected in equal measure. He’s a great asset to the GBGB.”

 

Paul Millward of bagsracing.com and Anthony Ennis of Sky Sports joined Baldwin at the presentation on Tuesday, with Steve Nash adding a special photographic memento to the occasion - a portrait of that night’s close Betfred Eclipse finish! 

 

Leading greyhound photographer Nash, also a GWA member, explained: “In that respect the finish was perfect! A great race for Dave to finish with and I managed to turn it around quickly and present it to him along with our memento.

 

“Dave will be a difficult act to follow. He always made a huge effort to meet us in London at Select Stakes lunches and was always so organised himself with all the form, entries etc. He made our lives a lot easier picking the runners.”

 

Summing up the night, the outgoing Nottingham general manager said: “It’s been a special evening for so many reasons. A fantastic Eclipse final, with another close finish, plus some special presentations which came as a complete surprise - especially the interview on Sky Sports before racing began.”

 

Baldwin added: “I’d like to thank Betfred and the GWA, plus also the Corden family who have done so much for myself and my family over the years. I’m hugely excited about taking up a stipendiary steward role at the GBGB, and hope to continue to see the many friends I’ve made in the sport in the future.”

 

Pushed on special memories from the track in his time at Nottingham, Baldwin continued: “There’s been so many brilliant Eclipse finals and Select Stakes, and it’s probably Eye On the Storm’s memorable Eclipse win in 2009.

 

“He faced a really tough draw on paper, but Mark Wallis managed to get him out and running from trap five and he soon put the race to bed. Mark was on his way to becoming a multiple champion trainer, and that night you could see why.”