GBGB Awards – 2019 Greyhound of the Year – Ice On Fire
ICE ON FIRE is the 2019 GBGB Greyhound of the Year.
The Dave Spraggon-owned, Jimmy Fenwick-trained superstar landed the sport’s ultimate prize on greyhound racing’s biggest night of the year at the Royal Lancaster London on Sunday.
Having earlier lifted the ACS Datastore 365 Newcomer of the Year and the PA Media Standard Distance Performer of the Year awards, Ice On Fire landed a clean sweep of the categories he was nominated in.
The October 2017 son of Crash and Bigmans Grainne won 16 of his 19 starts in 2019 including wins in the Bookmakers Puppy Classic and Carling Eclipse at Nottingham and, at home track Newcastle, the Alconex All England Cup and O’Tooles Gym Byker Laurels.
“It’s a fantastic achievement from such a young greyhound,” said GBGB managing director Mark Bird. “He had an outstanding year and, as the winter Derby favourite, hopes are high for Ice On Fire in 2020. Well done to Jimmy and Melanie and all the team.
“But well done also to all those greyhounds nominated. It’s every owner and trainer’s dream I’m sure to have a greyhound up for one of the major awards – but Sunday was also a chance for the sport to enjoy itself – and I think we did exactly that!”
Ice On Fire succeeds the 2018 Derby champion Dorotas Wildcat as Greyhound of the Year – and Nottingham in April/May is very much the target for Jimmy Fenwick’s superbly fast greyhound with the Star Sports, Arc and LPS Derby the main aim.
“His programme is centred around the Derby,” said a delighted Fenwick. “We know he runs Nottingham well, but he also won at Sheffield second time up last year so the Racing Post Juvenile and, possibly, the Steel City Cup will be the plan early in the season.
“He trialled well enough at Newcastle on Thursday. He’s had a good winter and will improve for the trial – you could see he was tiring coming home which is to be expected. We’ll look for another trial at Newcastle, then a spin at Sheffield.”
Owner Spraggon is a former Newcastle trainer himself, now retired, and collected the Greyhound of the Year trophy from Andrew Rosindell MP and joked that he might have hung up the leads too early – before the Gerry McCusker-bred champion arrived.
“He’s certainly the dog of a lifetime and I’ve waited for 40 years for one like him! I’ve known Jimmy since he was in a pram and he and Melanie are doing a fantastic job. I’m was delighted he won those two big races at our home track Newcastle, but this tops that.”
Morpeth-based Fenwick added: “I’m thrilled for myself and Melanie, Hannah, Lauren and Callum, but also for Dave and Pat (Spraggon) – thanks also to our kennelhand Mick Brown. I had some great times with Geordie Parker, who I bred, but this ride with Ice On Fire has been amazing.
“His big-race wins gave him a real chance of winning Greyhound of the Year, but you can never be sure until that envelope is opened! It’s a dream come true for us all and is a night we’ll never forget – but we’re aiming for a few more big nights with luck, too!”