THE re-generation of greyhound racing in Great Britain has a base centred wholly at Towcester in rural Northants, and the track rose majestically to the occasion once more last Saturday when Dorotas Wildcat burst from trap three to win the second Star Sports Greyhound Derby.
Twelve months after Astute Missile caused a 28/1 upset in the inaugural Towcester event following the closure of Wimbledon, Kevin Hutton’s dog landed the £175,000 event from the front, beating the 7/4 favourite Droopys Verve and his sibling Dorotas Vic.
Towcester chief executive Kevin Ackerman, and the course’s head of greyhound racing operations, Mick Livesey, were both thrilled with the night at which a crowd estimated upward of 8,000 descended to watch the festival, before being entertained by an after-racing set by Vernon Kay.
Ackerman said: “It’s always hard to measure the crowd here, but it was bigger and busier than last year and the atmosphere went up a level – there was more passion, more volume.”
Livesey chipped in: “It was a fantastic night and gives massive hope for everyone in greyhound racing. The roar before the final was immense and I’m so proud of all the staff.”
There was a bitter sweet tinge for winning trainer Hutton and his partner Donna Witchalls who were this week re-united with star dog Jovial Monk, the victim of dog-nappers at their West Oxfordshire kennels in Burford weeks earlier
A ram raid style assault had seen several of their greyhounds seized for illegal hare coursing while Dorotas Wildcat was competing in the quarter-finals, but all have now been retrieved.
Also contesting the Derby were Bruisers Bullet, which came home fourth, ahead of Bombers Bullet and Irish raider Whoops Jack.