JONATHAN HOBBS Saturday: It’s exactly a year ago when greyhound racing broke new ground with the meetings at Crayford and Romford broadcast live on SportyStuffTV/RPGTV.
The weekend service kicked off with heats of the Golden Jacket and Saturday sees the start of the 2022 renewal at the Kent venue.
The newly named Premier Greyhound Racing Golden Jacket over 714m is one of the sport’s most cherished events and was, for many years, the betting shop staple.
Saturday morning’s card is top notch given six heats of the Golden Jacket plus heats of its chief supporting event the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy.
This race has been dominated by 12-time champion trainer Mark Wallis in recent years, with seven of the last ten winners trained by Imperial Kennels, and they are well represented again in both the Peter Bussey and the Golden Jacket.
Eyes down then for some cracking action ….
11.09: Marathon star Antigua Lava has shown up well over 712m at Towcester early so must be respected, but Champion Stakes winner Night Time Danny is fancied in heat one of the Golden Jacket. Stephen Rayner’s dog recently made the semis of the Essex Vase back at Romford but found trouble. However he has since flown round Crayford and might always have Bettys Book and Ragtime Storm in his sights.
Play: Night Time Danny
11.24: Heat two of the Golden Jacket now and Blueberry Bullet is a consistent performer who will have her supporters. However the battle early between Distant Bolt and Burgess Elite could be crucial and the latter, trained by John Mullins, is fancied to win that particular duel and might escape. He hosed up at Romford last week and will take some holding if handy early given form over further.
Play: Burgess Elite
11.39: Patrick Janssens has a strong hand in this heat two of the Peter Bussey with there runners led by last week’s impressive winner and runner-up Garryglass Abbie and Oneforthelake, plus Doolin Princess. All three are running well, but might Gymstar Elusive get back to winning ways? Another Mullins-trained runner, he was the longtime leader in last year’s Gold Collar final before being pegged back by Warzone Tom.
Play: Gymstar Elusive
11.54: Heat three of the Golden Jacket now and Julie Luckhurst’s leading local Burgess Bruno can fulfil the promise of last week’s effort in a trial stakes. The six-boxed runner and eventual winner Bombardier pulled well clear of the rest which suggests the form of the race was good and, if handling the speed of Sweet Leaf next door, might always be in a position to strike gold.
Play: Burgess Bruno
12.09: Liz McNair’s ante-post favourite Warzone Tom is the ante-post favourite and gets the vote in this heat four of the Golden Jacket (540m). His all-round speed could seal the deal, although he faces a stiff test potentially from fast-starting Blackrose Pippa inside. However the up-in-trip Gold Collar winner might soon be on the premises and can bully the opposition on his day – he runs this track particularly well.
Play: Warzone Tom
12.24: Time for heat three of the Peter Bussey where the down-in-trip Letter Pat might always be bossing proceedings. Matt Dartnall’s dog ran well for a long way over 714m in a Jacket trial stakes before tiring, but this 540m trip suits – as shown with a recent C&D victory.
Play: Letter Pat
12.39: The penultimate Golden Jacket heat and Nightingale Don could get back to winning ways. John Mullins’ dog can be a frustrating sort at times but absolutely flew round Yarmouth in a trial last week and is clearly good enough with his best foot forward. Bellmore Sally is top notch at best and will improve for the run after a recent break.
Play: Nightingale Don
12.54: Salacres Pippy had a great finish to 2021 with victories in both the Hunt Cup at Towcester and the Kent Cesarewitch here at Crayford. That was over 874m but the drop in distance will not concern the red-jacketed runner given she was fastest in the heats of this event last year. Impressive recent winners Aayamza Dream and Piercestown Dove could help make the market for the Towcester bitch providing she came out well.
Play: Salacres Pippy
1.09: Woodcocks Akia is the defending Peter Bussey champion and showed herself in good form latest. However Nipsey Hustle handled the track well over 714m and, while that eight bends was a bridge too far, this return to six will suit Carol Weatherall’s consistent runner. He generally runs in top company.
Play: Nipsey Hustle
Good luck all.