BGBF British Breeders Stakes – Nottingham 500m – £6,500
QUEEN DOLLY led home a one-two for Liz McNair in Monday’s BGBF British Breeders Stakes Final at Nottingham – to end an extremely tough day for the Central Park handler on a high note.
Liz met husband and assistant Rab at Nottingham having travelled down from Scotland that afternoon following her younger sister Donna’s funeral – in time to help prepare the couple’s runners in both the BGBF British Breeders Stakes Final and supporting BGBF British Bred Midlands Sprint Trophy.
For good measure, the McNairs and owners – and breeder – Brendan Keogh and the KSS Syndicate also won that event as King Drake, the [Colossus Bets] Kent Silver Salver runner-up, came through strongly on the run for home to beat Michelle Brown’s Signature Callum to claim the £1,500 first prize for the GBGB Category Three event.
Some 19 minutes later, Queen Dolly completed an unbeaten run through the British-bred GBGB Category One event as the January 2018 daughter of Leamaneigh Turbo and Queen Asia made all the running to cross the line three lengths clear of her always-handy litter-brother King Louis in 29.61sec. Kevin Ferguson’s Acomb Lillian took third.
Landing the McNairs a second victory in the event after Eden The Kid in 2015, Queen Dolly now heads to Swindon on Sunday for The Property192 Oaks heats with victory at Nottingham very much dedicated to the memory of Liz’s sister Donna – being provided by her favourite greyhound Queen Dolly.
“Donna loved Dolly. She saw her win last week on RPGTV and told Liz she’d win the final – and Dolly has won this for Donna,” said Rab McNair, who suffered a tyre blowout on route to Nottingham and feared at one stage he might not get to the east Midlands venue. “I suppose it was one of those days, but thankfully it ended well,” added McNair.
Of Queen Dolly’s Classic bid at the weekend, Rab McNair said: “Look, she goes without trial which couldn’t be helped but she’s running so well now we’ve got to give her a chance – it’s the Oaks, after all. I’m just delighted with how she’s improved – she’s just suddenly come forward.
“She won at Central Park and showed real sparkle and that continued at Nottingham. It’s just great timing because we were wondering a few weeks back whether we had anything for this competition, then this pair – Dolly and Louis – started to really come to themselves and have run the track really well.
“We always thought they’d be something. Their sister Queen Franklin made the Oaks final last year as a young bitch – she was more forward I suppose – but Dolly has made up lost time and she deserves to win this – and with Drake winning the sprint competition it’s turned into a great night for us. One of the best we’ve had – albeit on a sad day.
“Thanks to Nottingham and to Liz [Mort] and all the committee of the BGBF [British Greyhound Breeders Forum]. These British-bred events have really taken a step up and some cracking dogs, bitches – and litters – are taking part. We’ve got the Oaks, but we’ve also got the British Bred Derby at Sheffield to look forward to.”
Nathan Corden, who oversaw his last major meeting at the track before he leaves Colwick Park this week, said: “Congratulations to Rab and Liz McNair. Clearly on a very tough day with Liz at a family funeral and Rab having his own trials and tribulations on the motorway, it’s ended well for the pair of them. Their dogs were once again brilliant.
“Thanks to everyone at the track, the staff and trainers, who made my last night as such as enjoyable as possible. The racing office staging ‘Nathan’s Farewell Trophy’ was a really nice touch, albeit because of social distancing I ended up presenting myself with a special memento kindly donated by Mark Burridge.
“I’ve got some great memories of what was very much a family business here at Nottingham, particularly of all the great races we’ve had here during my time. I’d like to thank everyone for their support, chats and everything else that has been associated with a very large part of my life over the years.
“After some time off with the family I tend to still be involved in greyhound racing as we look ahead to 2021 with some breeding initiatives and by also hopefully organising sales auctions at various greyhound tracks in the UK – where hopefully I’ll bump into many of my friends and contacts in the sport.”
BGBF chair Liz Mort said: “Well done to the McNairs, on a very tough day for them and their family, and to Brendan Keogh for a deserved big-race double. It’s fitting this owner-trainer-breeder combination have won the British Breeders Stakes again given all they’ve done to put British breeding back on the map in recent years.
“As for race itself, there was never any doubt. Queen Dolly has shown sheer class and ability all the way through – and for her brother to follow her home was special for the litter. Their dam Queen Asia was home-bred, too, out of Shaws Dilemma – yet again showing the success of Brendan’s breeding operation.
“The British Breeders Stakes is always a big one for us and, as I’ve said so many times this year, it’s just such a shame we couldn’t have all been there – especially as it was Nathan’s (Corden) last night.
“I’d like to wish Nathan all the very best for his future ventures. He’s made running our competitions at Nottingham so easy – he’s a great organiser, although I know it’s very much a team effort at Nottingham, so thanks to everyone for their part in making our events run so smoothly and successfully!
“I was very excited to see our new BGBF British Bred Midlands Sprint on the card, a race which proved a deal closer than the main event. Well done again to the McNairs with King Drake. He’s out of their super brood Skate On, by Leamaneigh Turbo, and was another very successful result of some clever breeding by them.
“I like the idea of running supporting events with our big competitions. We’ve done it a couple of times now this year, with success – and we have another coming up with a new stayers competition, the BGBF Steel City Stayers Trophy, a Category Two comp, which will be run alongside our BGBF British Bred Derby next month at Sheffield.
“All the finalists last night at Nottingham should be congratulated. There really are some excellent British-bred dogs around now – not only racing, but in the paddocks for next year, and the year after.
“We’ve all had a pretty bad year, one way or another, but I hope that providing a good spread of competitions for home-bred dogs now means that breeders are feeling confident enough to continue with their breeding programmes for many years ahead.”