NEWINN JACKO helped Ernie Gaskin into fourth in the GBGB Trainer of the Year standings as the youngster continued his Essex-based handler’s fine start to 2020 in the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby Final at Monmore on Saturday.

The July 2018 son of Laughil Duke and Coolavanny Pearl came through in an exciting contest, lifting the £12,500 first prize for owners the Gaskin Greyhound Partners – made up of Paul Carpenter, Jesse Gaskin, Sid Nunns and Peter Stevens. It was Carpenter who paved the way for Gaskin to buy littermates Newinn Liz and Newinn Jacko.

He said: “It was fantastic performance – and what an exciting race! There wasn’t a lot of room at the first bend, but he managed to escape crowding and was just so gutsy. He’s a really nice going the right way and Ernie did a great job with him. He’s very young being an July 18 and was actually youngest in final.”

Swift Lettuce (John Mullins) was first to show from the boxes and was soon pressed by Queen Jessiej (Liz McNair). Fantastical, this second of the Mullins runners, was also soon on the premises. Crowding at the turn then saw Droopys Premier (Kevin Boon) take up the running before the winner swooped at the fourth turn.

Running on strongly, Newinn Jacko was in command off the last bend and won by a length and a short-head in 28.72sec (-50) from the Mullins-trained duo of Swift Lettuce and Fantastical to claim the Category One title for Gaskin, who had a strong hand heading into the competition with Droopys Addition towards the head of the market.

“Things didn’t quite go right for Droopys Addition, but Ernie was always very sweet on Jacko’s chances. He said from a while back the Monmore Puppy Derby would be perfect for him and his team, with the help of Ron Mills too, have played a blinder. For me personally, it’s also a special event to win.

“Myself and Kevin (Dear) had Roman Empire in the final last year but the draw scuppered his chance. It actually felt funny being on my own with the other lads in Jacko, but Kevin was the first on the phone congratulating me. He’s a top greyhound man and we’re all delighted for Ernie in a tough few weeks for all, especially him, losing his father.

“I knew Ernie was looking for good young talent, so I put him in touch with Jim and Shari-Ann O’Donnell in Tipperary and they sent him Liz and Jacko – and both have been great purchases. Of course, with the suspension of open racing they’ll have a decent break, but that was always the plan for Jacko anyway.”

Tony Williamson, Monmore racing manager, said: “Congratulations go to Ernie Gaskin and his team. I think we’ll forever remember the 2020 Ladbrokes Puppy Derby here. Like al tracks we’re racing behind closed doors, but the staff here and trainers and their kennel staff are doing a brilliant job. Thank-you to everyone.”