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Wallis lands Trainers Championship at Towcester


(Mark Wallis recieves the Gain/GTA Trainers Championship trophy from Gain's Wlliam Rigney and the GTA's Keith Allsop)


MARK WALLIS was crowned winner of the Gain/GTA Trainers’ Championship at Towcester on Saturday as he wrested the famous trophy from Kevin Hutton on a pulsating night’s racing at the Northamptonshire venue.


Victory for Rubys Rascal in the penultimate top division of the Stayers, a brilliant off-the-pace one which drew the biggest cheer of the night, sealed the deal for the Imperial Kennels handler who praised his staff for their work behind the scenes.

“As ever we take this competition really seriously and tried to produce a team which can win the title. We’ve gone close in recent years, but Kevin’s teams have done brilliantly - so it’s nice to win it for a third time and match him a few others.”

Wallis joins Hutton, Brian Clemenson, Ernie Gaskin, John McGee and Linda Mullins as winner of three Trainers’ Championship meetings and is keen on improving that record still further - but paid tribute to those who made it possible.


“The dogs themselves have done brilliantly, as a team. I thought Rubys Rascal was sensational and he goes to Hove now on Thursday for the Regency, but I thought our youngster Brinkleys Twirl takes great credit too. She started the ball rolling for us in many ways.


“Garryglass Champ was game in holding off Patrick’s [Janssens] very nice bitch Affleck Lady and Black Farren’s win might not have been needed for the points, but what a way to end the night. He had no luck in the Scottish Derby final but is a really classy sort.


“I also want to thank the owners who made it possible by buying these top dogs, and all those who work and help at Imperial Kennels - my wife Sarah, mother-in-law Linda, son Dan, Sid, Kevin, Justine, Kat, Pete, ‘Uncle Ron’ and Keira.


“Keira missed the main presentation because she was preparing our runner in the next - we made sure we got some pics of her with the trophy!” he added. “I’d also like to thank Ron Mills for all the work he does for us. He’s very much part of the team here.”


Back-to-back wins for Liz McNair with littermates King Elvis and Queen Anna had given the Kent-based handler an early lead, while Kevin Hutton’s double strike with Madabout Maggie and then Magical Bale in a thriller gave hope of a fourth straight success for the Hutton camp.


However, it was when John Clarke’s Rubys Rascal caught the KSS-owned Paradise Valdez in the top division of the Stayers that the pendulum swung irreversibly to Wallis and the six-trainer competition was sealed in front of a good crowd at Towcester.


Towcester’s MD Kevin Ackerman said: “What a fantastic night. We had a really good crowd in, and the racing with the Trainers’ Championship and the Derby trial stakes was brilliant. We were delighted to stage the meeting for a second time and enjoyed working with Gain and the GTA.”


Gain’s representative William Rigney commented: “Well done Towcester for another fantastic night.  The racing was outstanding and Gain are proud to be associated with it, and with Towcester. We support some graded competitions here too and look forward to the relationship blossoming.”


Representing the Greyhound Trainers’ Association, Keith Allsop said: “The Trainers’ Championship is one of the best night’s racing we have in greyhound racing, and our intention is to make it bigger and better every year. It’s the only ‘team’ competition we have - and that gives us real scope for trying new things.”


Final scores: 59 Mark Wallis, 45 Kevin Hutton, 42 Liz McNair, 34 Paul Young, 27 Patrick Janssens, 17 Seamus Cahill.