3RD WCRA CHAMPIONSHIPS and VETERAN CROWNS at RYEMEADOWS on 8th August 2021 – 165 yards straights; veterans 150 yards at ½yd/lb plus yd/yr
An excellent entry of 116 dogs and after a wet start, a lovely sunny afternoon’s racing and a heavy workload for the finish line video. It was one of “those days” when all sorts of problems crop up and well done to the crew for working through them. Thanks to my committee who had an arduous weekend, and a particular “shout out” to Dave Cuttler who took on the role of Racing Manager for the day. I probably won’t remember all the names of those who helped, but I’ll have a go – Gary Hogan, Vince Hart, Ann Brown, Avril Caunce, Ruth Mabb, her Aunt Kath and mum Sheila, Mike Eaton, Carole and Daniel Cuttler, Jackie Hughes, Tom Merchant, Pat Gant, Gavin and David Cairns, Steve Gardner, Karen Bridge, Terry Wheeler and Paul Thorpe, and last but certainly not least, our hosts Lynn and Dave Hunter.
We had three new Racing Champions -Dance With The Devil, Believe In Me and Moon Gazer Gold – and two new Veteran Crowns, Call Me Amazing and Markamy’s Red Fred who now doubles up on his WCRCh title. Congratulations and well done to all the others, our whippets run their hearts out for us.
The finals started with the 18lb group, taken by the Villis’ WCRCh Ameesha Summer Rocket from David Cairns’ It’s A Joey, the winning distance less than a head. Allan Parkhurst’s youngster *Sweet Secret then made her Championships debut in the not exceeding 20lb weight group a winning one, shading the Hunters’ WCRCh My Girl Enfys by half a length in another tight final.
The 22lb final was a rare five-dog race following a dead-heat for second in one of the semis. This was a challenge for the trap crew as they’d already subbed in the spare trap, but some running repairs in the break gave us five once more and we had a great final, with a Hunter 1-2, *Zikomo Go-Quick prevailing by a length from *Tiana. The winner has had some bad luck at previous Championships and nice to see her get due reward.
Jan and Toddy’s youngster *“O”cean Everglo was an impressive winner of the 24lb group final, beating the Cuttlers’ WCRCh Call Me Enchanting by three and a half a lengths. Both were unbeaten going into the final and the runner-up was well clear of third and fourth, so perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that the winner also took the Fastest Time Rosette with a very rapid 8.94.
In the 26’s, Viv Thurman’s youngster WCRCh Dance With The Devil was also a convincing winner, impressive in heat, semi and final to gain his title at his third Championships. He came home four lengths ahead of Louise Fisher’s Dazzle Dee, who amply rewarded her owner’s journey down from Shildon. In the 28lb final we were back to tight finishes, Ruth Mabb’s WCRCh One For Arthur edging the Todmans’ “O” Fly On by half a length.
The two heavyweight groups were the toughest I’ve seen for a long while. Both winners repeated their First Championships triumphs to gain their titles at the first attempt; lockdown meaning this is their first full season at age two and a half (whelped Nov ’18 and Feb ’19). In the 30-pounders, Alistair and Lynne Holmes’ WCRCh Believe In Me didn’t have it all his own way – beaten by the eventual runner-up, the Gilfeathers’ WCRCh Gimme Attraction in his heat – but then never looked back, winning a hard semi then convincingly taking the final by three lengths to avenge his earlier defeat. Ian Brown’s fawn dog WCRCh Moon Gazer Gold went through the day unbeaten, I was down at the traps for his first two races and he looked great both times. He won the 32lb final in style, three lengths ahead of the Thorpes’ WCRCh Figaro, a classy dog in his own right.
Sarah Layfield’s VC Winterfell Merry Mayhem, winner of the 6-7 year old 14- 20lb group last time doubled up on her tally, beating the Villis’ Ameesha Just A Breeze by two and a half lengths while Christine Howard’s WCRCh VC Ryamber Spring Fever beat kennelmate WCRCh Ryamber Something Different to take the 21-25lb weight class by four lengths. The 6-7yrs heavyweights was a close-run affair, WCRCh Zola Go-Quick beaten less than a head by the now-VC *Call Me Amazing. This is a tough weight class.
The 8-9 year-olds’ 14- 20lb group was once again a duel between Liz and Richard’s WCRCh VC Ameesha Little Ebs and Garry Comber’s WCRCh Jett Black, with Ebony prevailing by four lengths. The Cuttlers’ VC Call Me Lucky took the 21- 25lb group by three lengths from Dave Favell’s WCRCh The Poet and then the heavyweights closed out the day with a great race to watch, the two dogs closely-matched. In a tight finish, the Burseys’ WCRCh VC Markamy’s Red Fred edged out the Gilfeathers’ *Max Attraction by a head. I’ve always been a fan of Fred and lovely to see him gain the “full set” of titles after several years in and out of injury. I’m sure that Max got the better deal though, as ever he managed a good few moments on the lure before he was collared!
Mark Etheridge Reporting