THESE OLD SHADES, trained at Sheffield by Barrie Draper, is the GBGB Graded Greyhound of the Year for 2019.

Owned by David, Jean and Ben Tompkins, the British-bred August 16 daughter of Confident Rankin and Farloe Lila impressed the GBGB judging panel with her performances during the year, not least her versatility.

Mat Stagg, deputy racing manager at the Owlerton circuit, said: “These Old Shades has proven one of the most versatile greyhounds we have on the strength, winning races, and producing top-class performances over both four and six bends.

“She’s been a real credit to Barrie Draper and his team, a fantastic bitch, who won 16 races at Sheffield in 2019 ranging from A5-A3 and plenty of handicaps in between over both 500m and 660m – and that’s been the impressive thing about her.

“She’s taken both distances in her stride, literally, and showed really good trackcraft in every race she has – which is a great strength in handicaps. She’s usually having to come from the back off the scratch mark to take the lead – just at the right time!”

Rose Draper, the trainer’s daughter and assistant –and a regular on RPGTV – said the three-year-old thoroughly deserved the honour of being GBGB Graded Greyhound of the Year and the announcement has added to a special year for her owners.

Rose Draper said: “These Old Shades, or ‘Susan’ as she’s known at the kennel, is their first greyhound and has been brilliant for David, Jean, Ben and all the family. They’ve been involved in horse racing before, but Susan was their first greyhound!

“They got her at 12 weeks old and never expected her to become the kennel superstar she is. Susan’s a lovely, big bitch whose attitude is all about winning – she never knows when she’s beaten and puts her entire heart into it.

“I know she has a home for life with her owners after racing but is still very much on the strength at Sheffield. After a short break, she ran in an A3 last week and probably needed the run. She’s due to line up in an A4 on Tuesday and I’m sure will be winning again soon.”

Dave Perry, venue director at Sheffield, said: “Well done to the connections of These Old Shades – trainer Barrie Draper and the Tompkins family, her owners. They had a superb year with her – and I know she’s become a very popular greyhound here.”

These Old Shades won 16 races from 38 starts in 2019 for a 42.1 per cent strike-rate – winning over both 500m and 660m in handicap company as well as level-start 500m races in A5, A4 and A3.

The GBGB panel, while delighted to acknowledge the performances of These Old Shades last year, were also keen to recognise the efforts of runner-up Alfies Prince and third-placed Mannix Sid, who both enjoyed a fantastic 2019.

Trained at Nottingham by Barrie Denby, August 14 veteran Alfies Prince ran 29 times in 2019, winning 12 times and finishing in the frame on a number of occasions. His tally included a run of six consecutive successes in A1 and open-race company in June and July.

Trained at Peterborough by David Pruhs, Mannix Sid won 11 races in 2019, including no less than nine A1s. He also celebrated his 100th race in October with victory and racked up a four-race unbeaten sequence in July.

Other runners given due credit by the GBGB judging panel were impressive veterans Monmore’s Kranky Scott (Pam Burford) who celebrated his 6th birthday and 200th race in 2019 and Yarmouth’s ultra-consistent Group Braveheart (Paul Burr).

Tickets for the GBGB Awards at the Royal Lancaster London on Sunday 26th January are priced at £95, which includes a sparkling wine reception, three-course meal with wine and entertainment until late.

To purchase tickets and/or for further information, please call the GBGB on 020 7822 0902.