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Towcester Greyhound Welfare Graded Derby - Towcester 480m - £10,000


CHANTILLY LASS created her own slice of history as the first winner of the Towcester Greyhound Welfare Graded Derby at the Northamptonshire track on Saturday - the trophy presented to her breeder, owner and trainer Richard Yeates amid emotional scenes.


“This means everything,” said Yeates after the October 2014 daughter of Kinloch Brae and Freedom Emma held off the persistent challenge of Kevin Hutton’s Skinny Love to claim the record £10,000 prize and continue the legacy left by his Oaks-winning dam, a prolific source of winners.


“I loved Emma,” he said. “She was just amazing on the track for the late Stuart Locke-Hart, such a passionate man about his dogs, and has proved an amazing dam. She’s sadly no longer with us either, but she’s thrown over 200 winners now. They’re also special - but this more so!


‘It’s always great to win a big trophy and prize, and thanks to Stress Relief and the Keebles for their generosity. It’s been a fantastic event right from the start and Chris Page (RM) and his team did a tremendous job in putting it together - it’s not easy but the racing has been superb.”


Winning for the tenth time in 43 starts, Chantilly Lass (9-4JF) broke well, racing to a 4.11sec sectional and quickly putting pressure on the chasing pack. Skinny Love (9-4JF) closed down the back but the winner kept the runner-up at bay for a half-a-length victory in 28.53sec.


“I thought it was a fantastic race and congratulations to Richard (Yeates) and his team,” said sponsor Peter Keeble. “Richard was most gracious in accepting the prize from my wife Jan, and his bitch ran a great race, and it was a great way to round things off.


“I’d like to pay special mention to Kevin Hutton’s feat in qualifying three runners for a graded competition final given the limited time restriction. I thought it was an amazing feat, but thanks also to all the owners and trainers who made this work - especially those who made the final.


“The racing office were, I’d imagine, under real pressure to produce a 48-runner field of dogs of similar ability to make four competitive rounds - but they achieved that. We had terrific graded racing right from the off - and hopefully the race has caught peoples’ imagination.”


As well as the presentation cheque of £10,000 to the Yeates kennel for Chantilly Lass’s success, a separate donation of £1,000 was made by Jan Keeble on behalf of Stress Relief UK to Towcester Greyhound Welfare. Kevin Stow, chairman of the TGW, accepted the cheque.


Peter Keeble added: “This event was staged to combine racing and welfare, and to that end I’d like to praise the Towcester trainers who understood right from the start what we set out to do. They stayed within the true spirit and meaning of the contest.


“As a result, Jan and I must surely put the money up one more time. We will stage the TGW Graded Derby at Towcester again in 2018.”