Coral Sussex Cup – Brighton & Hove 515m – £10,000
DRUMCROW BRENT set up a memorable double for 11-time champion trainer Mark Wallis when winning the Coral Sussex Cup at Hove on Saturday – the first time Imperial Kennels has bagged the famous competition.
With a later victory for GBGB Greyhound of the Year Aayamza Royale in the Coral Regency Final plus an earlier victory for the improving Antigua Lava in the Coral Marathon, it was a hugely successful night for Team Wallis – but it was Drumcrow Brent who helped fill a void for the kennel when winning the Sussex Cup.
“We’ve been lucky enough to win most of the major races, but the Sussex Cup had escaped us despite a couple of near-misses so it’s nice to add that one to the list!” said Wallis, although even he could never expected the kennel would land a one-two in the £10,000 decider as Drumcrow Brent led home kennelmate Antigua Storm.
Breaking smartly and leading at the sectional point, the strong-running August 18 son of Droopys Sydney and Drumcrow Kylie was always handy on the outside as kennelmate Antigua Storm paced up well inside to take up the running with favourite Droopys Addition (Gemma Evans) close up and looking for a way past.
However, Antigua Storm continued to set a good tempo up front and this trio had the race between them thereafter, with Drumcrow Brent now winding up a challenge on the outside to edge out Antigua Storm on the run for the wire, with a neck between them at the line. The winning time was 29.89sec (+10) for the 515m.
Owned by Michelle Connolly and Mike Davis, Drumcrow Brent was landing a first GBGB Category One title for Davis since his former top-class hurdler Kildare Lark’s 2008 Grand National success. “It’s been a long time coming and there’s been a few close calls since, but this is fantastic – especially at Hove,” he said.
“Our thanks go to Coral and to Hove itself for putting on such a fantastic night’s racing. It’s always great to win – and thanks to Mark and his team and Brent’s breeder Roy Ruddy – but I thought from start to finish the racing and the organisation of the night was top notch.”
Sid Huett, assistant trainer at Imperial Kennels, said Drumcrow Brent deserved his Sussex Cup title as one of the most consistent open-racers at Imperial Kennels.
“He never lets you down this dog,” said Huett. “Both him and Ivy Hill Skyhigh (fourth) are absolute professionals and getting them into the final along with a really nice improving dog Antigua Storm always gave us hope. Three in the field for a competition we’ve never won gave us a chance – and it’s worked out well.”
Derby champion Thorn Falcon was one of the star names on the undercard, running in the Bockos Doomie Memorial Invitation over 515m. However, he could finish only fourth after crowding at the first and third bends behind the Paul Young-trained all-the-way winner Bubbly Bollinger (30.05sec +10).