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Monmore abandons but Lawrence Jones Memorial will be rescheduled

TONY WILLIAMSON, Monmore racing manager, has promised that every effort will be made to reschedule the Lawrence Jones Memorial Festival after Wednesday’s meeting was abandoned before a race could be run due to a frozen track.


A high-quality card had been assembled including big-race winners and Derby finalists, but despite the efforts of trackstaff and a heavily salted track, temperatures dipping to as low as minus 5 overnight saw parts of the track remain frozen.


“It’s a real blow, but we were not about to take any chances,” said Williamson. “The trackstaff used everything they could to make the track safe for racing, but while it was soft on top it was frozen solid inputs underneath. 


“The welfare of the greyhounds absolutely comes first, and the Jones family feel the same, of course. They understand and support our decision, and we will talk in the comings days and weeks about rescheduling the meeting.


“It’s not as easy as moving it a few days, or a week, because trainers and these high-quality greyhounds have other commitments and race plans. However, Monmore and Lawrence’s family are keen to stage this meeting annually.”


Williamson has known the Jones for many years. He first met Lawrence during their time in and around the Potteries, with the Monmore RM describing the late trainer as “a great character with a strong presence, who loved his greyhounds”.


He added: “Lol invested in kennels at Hulme which have a great uphill gallop and schooling track. He first came to Monmore many years ago for our opens, and took a few scalps along the way! He loved racing his dogs here.


“His son Chris is a trainer here. He took over the reins along with his own son Josh and, with their mum Linda's support, are running a decent kennel and the size and quality of greyhounds they have is improving. 


“The family have sponsored the meeting for seven years now. It’s a fitting tribute to Lol and shows their real love of greyhounds, and greyhound racing. It’s for those reasons that we’ll make every effort to remember him with a top meeting this year.”