NINJA KERRY landed a first GBGB Category One success for his trainer Belinda Green when making all for a gusty and game local success in the Coral Sussex Cup Final at Hove on Saturday.

Trained by the Hove handler for Alan Ballard and Barry Sadler, the November 2019 son of Droopys Jet and Ninja Penny broke smartly and, favouring a middle course on the run-up, was always just ahead of his rivals into the bend, taking a grip on the £10,000-to-the-winner contest from the get-go.

Taking advantage of crowding in behind and keeping up the gallop down the far side, Ninja Kerry was chased hard by kennelmates Warzone Tom and Havana Bale Out, and Liz McNair’s talented pair continued to close on the leader from the halfway mark but could never quite get on terms with the home-based tracker.

Seeing out the 515m trip well, Ninja Kerry crossed the line a half length and the same from Warzone Tom and Havana Bale Out for a popular Hove success. The winning time was 30.26sec (normal).

Winning trainer Green said: “It’s a massive achievement for the kennel and really was a night to remember. Thanks to Hove and sponsors Coral for putting on such a fantastic night’s racing – and we had a pretty good night ourselves with four winners, but Kerry’s win was very, very special.

“I don’t know how he cleared them into the bend – he was so game and determined. However then to see Rab and Liz’s pair behind him I had to shut my eyes! They are two fantastic greyhounds and our boy really had to run great to hold them at bay.

“I’m just delighted for the owners Alan and Barry who are great supporters of ours.”

Winning part-owner Alan Ballard said: “It’s been some night and many congratulations to Belinda and Gary (Whittington) and the kennel. They’ve done a great job, as has my partner in the greyhounds Barry (Sadler). He’s a great judge, one of the best in the country, and we’re all just delighted. I’m a very lucky man.

“This dog wasn’t right when he came over but Belinda and Gary spent so much time getting him right – and thankfully he has come right.”

Ballard’s partner in the greyhounds Barry Sadler added: “It was a fabulous purchase and many thanks to Gary for putting him on to us. Once we saw the form we wanted to buy him but as much as the dog’s performance was great, the training performance was even better – especially when you saw the two dogs behind him.

“He was in trouble but the best race he’s run was in the final – and that’s the sign of a good trainer.”