Hove hosted their first major finals of the year last Saturday and worth the wait it certainly was. With a category one and two category two finals amongst the six on show, the South Coast was the place to be. The concluding prestigious Coral TV Trophy, along with the Coral Brighton Belle and Seasons Scaffolding Puppy Cup made the night very special. With three other finals and seven supporting open races the night was cracking for those there and watching on Racing Post TV.
Space Jet in the Coral TV Trophy did not read the script, instead she wrote her own one. Since its inauguration in 1958, no greyhound in its history has won it three times. Aayamza Royale trained by Mark Wallis was bidding to do it but was stopped in her tracks by the excellent Matt Dartnall trained bitch. Over 955 metres she won the £15,000 prize unbeaten. In the final she prevailed by 3 ¾ lengths in a calculated time of 58.88. In the first round she broke the track record showing her class early on to add to her St Leger and 1st containers Marathon trophy wins at Perry Barr and Towcester.
Trainer Matt on her said: “She‘s a phenomenal bitch. I’m so impressed with her. This has been the plan for six months ago after the St leger and 1st Containers Marathon.
“We have no future plans for her at this stage. We are going to give plenty of time off. She has won a very tough double in the space of six months and your not going to get a stiffer eight bend trip than at Hove. There are no immediate plans nut watch this Space (jet)!”
Going into the £5,000 to the winner Coral Brighton Belle final, both Antigua Cuddles and Whats Up Eva were unbeaten. One of those records had to go. The bookies made Antigua Cuddles trained by Mark Wallis slight favourite over local hound Whats Up Eva. The latter showed why she was close second favourite when blasting out the traps to take the lead early. She brilliantly held her own at the first bend after clashing with her rival to stick to the task in hand. The “Oi, Oi’s” from the home crowd soon lit up the place but went a bit quiet when Cuddles put in a renewed challenged just after the third bend. Eva once again held off that challenge and the “Oi, Oi’s” soon reappeared for her to take the spoils by 1 ¾ lengths.
Trainer Richard Rees on her said: “We’re over the moon with her. She had to get out and she did. It was a brilliant run.
“She is now Derby bound and will line up a few trial stakes for her. She gets the 500 metres trip at Towcester and has won over there before. She has come on leaps and bounds since then so were looking forward to seeing how she gets on.
“She deserves to be given a shot at it.”
The Seasons Scaffolding Puppy Cup is the new kid on the block compared to a lot of the established competitions on the open race calendar but is quickly becoming a mainstay on it. The category two, £5,000 to the winner event is getting better and better every year. This year the top puppies were entered, and they didn’t disappoint. The favourite going into the traps was Monmore Puppy Derby winner Deelish Frankie. After trouble at the first bend it was game on. Burkos Bobby trained by central Park’s Paul Donovan, winner of his first round heat by four lengths capitalised on the early scrimmaging to put himself in the mix. On the home straight the May ’20 whelp pounced to take the race on the line by half a length in an exciting finale.
Sponsor Steve Eason on the competition said: “We we’re over the moon with the quality entered. It is getting stronger and stronger year on year.
“It is being taken seriously and being used as a springboard for bigger and better things. It is apart of the calendar and with a regular slot can become part of trainer’s preparations.
“The competition is a good test for puppies and there was nothing between them in the final. There was only 2 ½ lengths between first to fifth. It was a great race to watch.
“Overall, we were really happy with it and have had some fantastic feedback. We will be doing it again next year.”
“It was a fantastic night with top class racing” was how Hove General Manager Lena Birch described it and she wasn’t wrong.
On the night Lena said: “The atmosphere was electric. It was really good to see after previous restrictions. Normality has returned to greyhound racing!
“The staff worked incredibly hard to deliver what was a brilliant night all round.
“All winners were well deserved. Space Jet in the Coral TV Trophy ran a fantastic race. An incredible performance for ‘Team Dartnall’.”