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GBGB Greyhound of year Awards round up

Mark Wallis Collects the Ladbrokes Trainer of the Year Award from Ladbrokes Danny Rayment


MARK WALLIS has set his sights on a tenth Trainer of the Year title after collecting the Ladbrokes-sponsored trophy for 2017 at Sunday’s annual GBGB Greyhound of the Year awards in London.


The Imperial Kennels boss amassed 277 open-race wins in 2017 for a points tally of 1087 and finished 244 points clear of his nearest rival, the Derby-winning handler Seamus Cahill - and will again be targeting the major races, although taking a back-seat at some stage remains on his mind.


“It will happen one day, I’m sure, perhaps sooner rather than later - we’ll see,” he said. “But I’m still enjoying being the boss, but maybe the baton will be passed on at some point. Before that I’d love to win a third Derby - but this time at Towcester. As for last year, it’s thanks again really to the staff and my wife Sarah who remains a great help and support.”


Twice a Derby-winning trainer with Kinda Ready and Blonde Snapper, the likes of Irish Derby finalist Black Farren and Olympic winner Bruisers Bullet will be among those spearheading the Wallis challenge for the Star Sports-backed Classic this year. The final has been scheduled for Saturday, June 2.


In the meantime, all the major races will be targeted by the Lakenheath-based handler and he is readying his team for a crack at the Gain/GTA Trainers’ Championship meeting at Towcester on Saturday, March 24.


Rubys Rascal could lead his challenge in the six-bend races on that night, and the John Clarke-owned St Leger champion collected the Press Association Stayer of the Year title for Wallis on Sunday. He has the Golden Jacket at Crayford next month as a likely target.


Razldazl Raidio, the Grand National winner, landed the GBGB Hurdler of the Year title for trainer Ricky Holloway and owners Stella Wilson and David Jensen. The leading open-race winner for 2016 and 2017 enjoyed another fruitful season.


“He won the Jimmy Jupp National Hurdle for the second year, and broke three more track records. He’s just been brilliant for us,” said Holloway, who was taken poorly over the weekend, so missed the awards. “I’d paid for tickets and a room. It was a costly miss, but I’m delighted he won.


“In fact, I’d like to thank all the greyhound writers who voted for him.” he added.


Hayley and Mark Keightley also missed the awards, being away, but their son Christopher and kennelhand Craig Morris were on hand to collect The Racing Partnership Sprinter of the Year trophy for Scurry champion Roxholme Hat.


“We got news pretty much straight away and were delighted to hear it!” said Mark Keightley. “He’s a fantastic sprinter and full deserved the award, and hopefully can continue the good work this year - especially when the weather gets warmer for him!”


Other awards which ultimately decided the overall GBGB Greyhound Award - won by King Elvis, the Betfred Newcomer of the Year and Coral Standard Distance Performer of the Year - included William Hill Bitch of the Year Geelo Sapphire.


Nick Brereton of the owning Geelo Racing syndicate said: “We’re delighted - she really deserved it after winning the 3 Steps at Sheffield - no easy race to win - and the Lowther Stakes at Towcester. Carl (Perry, trainer) and his team do a fantastic job and I’m delighted for them too.”


Goldies Hotspur, the Colossus Bets TV Trophy champion, collected the SIS Marathon Performer of the Year award for Patrick Janssens and owner Andy Pelley. Her Towcester victory and St Leger third help Janssens reach a top-six position in the Trainer of the Year race for the first time.