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Slim Somerville/Rhys Bramwell Trafalgar Cup - Monmore 480m - £2,000

 

 

KING SHEERAN (11-10) came through strongly on the run for home to collar long-time leader Argentina and grab gold in the Slim Somerville/Rhys Bramwell Trafalgar Cup Final (480m) at Monmore on Saturday.

 

Trained by Liz McNair, the Feb 2017 son of Eden The Kid and Skate On is from an outstanding litter bred by the McNairs and the owning KSS Syndicate and was one of two members of the batch in the line-up for the £2,000 prize.

 

They had mixed fortunes, however, with favourite King Lennon crowded out of contention before taking a tumble - so it was left to his brother King Sheeran to stay on best to catch Kevin Hutton’s dog and win going away by three and a quarter lengths in 28.34sec.

 

Success in the The Trafalgar Cup, one of the oldest puppy competitions in the GBGB Calendar with its history dating back to its first running at Wembley in 1929, delighted the training husband and wife team - with Rab McNair particularly thrilled.

 

“We’ve always rated this litter, and they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them,” he said. “I remember taking them to Jeff Sealey’s track at Bicester for schooling and, after their first time ever in the boxes, Jeff said they were champions.

 

“It was funny,” he added. “I’d been at Towcester - it was during the Derby - and I must have got back to the kennels at 2am but were back out with the pups to Bicester at 6am, so I was, er, very tired! When Jeff said that, I didn’t take in - I just wanted to get back home.

 

“But he was right. He’d clocked them and was impressed - and they’ve come a long way since. Skate On’s previous litter is pretty decent - with King Elvis, Queen Adele and Anna etc - but this bunch by our own Eden The Kid are more ahead of the game at this age.”

 

The upcoming Eden The Kid at Stud Young Guns event at Central Park is on the agenda for the litter - the competition is being sponsored by the KSS’s Brendan Keogh - and discussions between the owners and McNairs will decide who goes there.

 

“There’s a few options now, which is great,” added Rab McNair. “We’ve got Central Park which is a great new event, but well done also to Henlow for getting the Puppy Derby off the ground. They plan to run that later this year, which is great. We’ll be there too.”

 

This year’s Trafalgar Cup continued a recent tradition of being named in honour of certain individuals - legendary trainer George Curtis being acclaimed recently. However, this year’s competition was named in memory of two people.

 

One of those was Slim Somerville and Rab McNair revealed he had known the late Scottish bookmaker. “And we had a few battles on the track!” he said. “He bet at Wallyford during our flapping days and was a great bookmaker.

 

“I remember one night having £400 on a 5-1 chance of ours. It won, and Slim duly paid out - but unlike a few of them he shook your hand. He was a gentleman and it was nice to talk to a few of his friends and family at the presentation - Scottish folk, of course.”

 

Sponsor Kevin Perisi explained that Rhys Bramwell was the baby son of greyhound fans Paul and Kelly Bramwell, who died last year of congenital heart disease, aged just seven months. Kevin and Paul became friends last year.

 

Paul Bramwell said: “Rhys had a complex heart condition and we spent a lot of time at the Royal Victoria Children’s Hospital and then the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, who specialise in complex heart conditions.

 

“It was while we were in Birmingham we met Kevin Perisi at the Monmore Puppy Derby Final. I was over from Belfast with Rhys, and it was nice to get away from the hospital environment for one night. Kevin was great to us.

 

“Sadly, after a number of complex operations, Rhys passed away on July 1 2017, aged seven. That was, of course, the biggest day in the greyhound calander being the final of the English Derby. I had booked tickets to go a few weeks earlier, but . . .” 

 

“When Kevin asked if he could use Rhys’s name, I honestly didn’t have to think twice. For Rhys to be remembered along with Slim Somerville in The Trafalgar Cup, such a trophy with such a history, is an honour for us as a family and for Rhys.

 

“I hope it helps increase awareness of CHD (congenital heart disease) in children, and greyhound racing is helping,” he added. “I have a greyhound given to me by some friend which runs in Ireland and will raise money for the charities that helped us so much.”

 

Of Slim Somerville, Perisi added: “He was born in Portobello, we lived in Leith for most of his life so was most definitely a Leither! He was a great bookmaker at all the flapping tracks, the trotting and horse racing tracks, but dogs was his favourite.

 

“Over the years he was at Wallyford, Armadale, Musselburgh, Kelso, Ayr, Corbiewood,Thornton, Kirkcaldy, Linlithgow, Cowdenbeath, Shawfield and not forgetting Powderhall. He was a total gentleman with a heart of gold.”