AFFLECK BOLT successfully defended his British Bred St Leger title at Central Park on Sunday to consolidate trainer Patrick Janssens’ position at the top of the GBGB Trainer of the Year standings.

In a superb race at the Kent venue, Saving Mullpark (John Mullins) was first to show from the traps and set the tempo before the middle speed of Shoot The Bolt (June Harvey) took him to the front at the third bend.

However, eventual winner Affleck Bolt was always handy along with litter sister Affleck Lady (Patrick Janssens) and his surge up the home straight broke the heart of Shoot The Bolt’s supporters, leading close home to win by half a length in 39.81sec (-20).

A delighted winning trainer Janssens said after winning the British-bred showpiece: “It’s great to win this competition two years running with the same dog, who showed real guts and determination to get up in the last few strides.

“It’s always great for the kennel when you’ve bred the litter yourself,” said Janssens. “Cheryl (wife and assistant) bred him and myself and John (Porter) owned the litter and they’ve done really well.

“Affleck Lady and Dino have done well over the years – and Bolt absolutely loves Central Park,” said the local handler, who paid tribute to the Central Park management, commenting: “They really do a great job by putting on some great racing on a Sunday.

“The final itself was a very exciting race to watch and the whole card was decent – well done to all the sponsors, especially the team behind these British-bred races. We’ll keep Bolt to one-offs, although longer-term the St Leger at the end of the year is his main target.

“I’d like to say thank-you to Ron Mills who does the physio on the dogs and the staff, Cheryl and Ria. It’s been a good year, but you just hope to keep going. We’ve got some really nice dogs and it’s about try to place them in the right races.”

Liz Mort, chairman of the British Greyhound Breeders Forum (BGBF), congratulated winning connections but praised the quality of the entire event which saw a classy field line up in Sunday’s £4,000-to-the-winner two-run competition.

“We saw six very worthy finalists – all very good dogs – and congratulations to their connections for getting them there in the first place,” said Mort. “Affleck Bolt was a worthy favourite having won the title last year, but it was by no means an easy victory.

“He really had to work to the line, but it was a great win for the Janssens – not just for trainer and part-owner Patrick but his wife Cheryl who bred him and, of course, his sister Affleck Lady. It’s so gratifying to see pups you’ve bred and reared go out and perform like this.

“I know that when he retires Bolt has a home waiting with joint-owner John (Porter), who runs the Affleck Arms near Newmarket, and is a great supporter of the local retired greyhound rehoming groups.

“Thanks to Central Park for staging this prestigious British Bred race again. It’s a great venue and we look forward to our next BGBF visit next year.”