Sky the limit as Yarmouth given top race

Great Yarmouth stadium is gearing up for one the biggest nights in the tracks history - hosting one of the Nations biggest races - the TV Trophy - broadcast live around the world by Sky Sports on the evening of Tuesday June 5.

GREAT YARMOUTH stadium is gearing up for one the biggest nights in the tracks history - hosting one of the Nations biggest races - the TV Trophy - broadcast live around the world by Sky Sports on the evening of Tuesday June 5.

Stephen Franklin said: “It has been a great six months - with the new grandstand opened just before Christmas. Business in our new Raceview Restaurant and Executive Lounges is really building, the track is going from strength to strength. This is the first time we have been asked to host the Sky TV Trophy, already recognised for the quality and safety of our greyhound racecourse, it can only be the new facilities that have attracted the TV producers.”

The William Hill Organisation, amongst the biggest sponsors in greyhound racing, were pleased to renew their Sponsorship for the £6000 to the Winner Sky TV Trophy and the seven, £500 to the Winner, supporting Open Races on Final Night. Franklin added: “It will be a real celebration of what makes the area great, the national and international TV exposure couldn't come at a better time, giving the resort an additional boost for the summer.”

Many of the top greyhound racing trainers having top open class marathon runners, will no doubt descend to the seaside track for this TV Title.

In an exclusive interview EDP talked to one of the top trainers Mark Wallis at his Lakenheath Kennels, about his possible runners and thoughts on the TV Trophy coming to Yarmouth, he said: " It's brilliant that the TV Trophy will be staged at Yarmouth, it's only just over an hours drive for us, and we regularly run our dogs their, as you well know we had the East Anglian Derby winner there, only a couple of years ago. It's nice that after all the hard work and effort put into the track recently, with it's new grandstand, and work on the track surface, that it is now been recognised for staging major greyhound race events. Yarmouth Stadium has done well, in clinching one of greyhound racings major events, for not only trainers across this country, but also major Ireland trainers will descend on the track with marathon runners, it has really made the heads turn east".

Mark also contiued: "Snappy Girl is my main contender for the TV Trophy at Yarmouth, at three years old, she was looking good at Walthamstow in an open marathon race, and favourite at the off, but ended up second place, then she came into season, and been rested and now back on the boil. Last year she had a couple of marathon open races at Coventry and was unbeaten there over the eight bend trip. I do have two or three other possible contenders for the TV Trophy, and will be keeping an eye on thier improvement, to see if there is any possiblity of them entering the race. Obviously the competition will be of a very high standard and only eighteen of the very best racing greyhounds running the marathon trip will be in the frame for the TV Trophy".

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Norfolk Winners

It is fitting that the TV Trophy is coming to Norfolk, the County has a strong association with the event.

Scrolling down the Roll of Honour, Winners Board, your eye is caught by only one name appearing two years in succession,1985 at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton and 1986 at Brough Park, Newcastle, the name is Scurlogue Champ. During those years Scurlogue Champ became a household name. Purchased in Ireland by Ken Peckham and brought over to race in England, from his Thetford kennels, Scurlogue Champ's unique style of racing, coming from way off the pace to beat even the best opponents, often by a huge margin, gave Scurlogue Champ celebrity status, the length and breadth of the Country. No greyhound in the eighty year history of the sport can have broken and held more Track Records than Scurlogue Champ.

Back down the decades, in the 1970's, Great Yarmouth had a TV Trophy Finalist, when Young Hostess ran from Trap one in the 1976 final at Belle Vue, Manchester. Owned by one of Yarmouth Stadium's directors, Ida Franklin and Trained in the Stadium's racing kennels, Young Hostess earned her place in the TV Trophy Heats by winning The Chingford Marathon at Walthamstow.

In 1960, the third live screening of the TV Trophy, from Harringay Stadium, London, the length of the race had been upped to the 800 yards marathon distance, it remains at to this day. In 1959, for the inaugural running of the TV Trophy at Wimbledon, the race distance was 500 yards, the next year, run at West Ham, the race distance was increased to 700 yards. The first winner over the marathon distance, in 1960, was Crazy Paving, bred, reared and trained by Charlie Payne, in Norfolk, at Mundsley, a small seaside village, just a few miles up the coast from Yarmouth Stadium.

Crazy Paving, a lovely fawn dog, has a link with East Anglia's premier race, the East Anglian Greyhound Derby. Crazy Paving took the then £200 winners prize, in 1958 and 1960. In 1959, a greyhound of similar colour and weight as Crazy Paving, won the East Anglian Derby but records were sketchy in those days and no one is still around to confirm the identity as Crazy Paving!

Well practised at staging big races, Yarmouth Stadium have great success with the East Anglian Derby - this years 61st renewal of the event starts on Saturday 8th September, after four rounds of competition, the £12,000 to the Winner Final is on Thursday 20th September. The fact that Charlie Lister comes back year after year shows what he thinks of the circuit and hospitality here in Norfolk.

Yarmouth stadium's recent investment has been in the facilities for humans but the greyhounds remain the focus. What with seven £500 to The Winner, supporting Open Races, over the full range of Yarmouth's race distances, as well the £6000 to the Winner TV Trophy Final, there is a real buzz of anticipation from Yarmouth's established supporters and those enjoying the new Restaurant and Executive Lounges, about the class of greyhounds that will be racing. It is a classic competition that has stood the test of time and it great that it is on the road again after being run at Wimbledon for quite a while. Last year the renewal at Belle Vue was among the best, with a great duel between Greenacre Lyn and the eventual winner, Roxholme Girl.

Stephen Franklin summed up “We are really looking forward to putting on a great show and welcoming plenty of new trainers and connections to the track. Yarmouth might not have been an obvious venue for the TV Trophy but I think anyone that comes along or watches the Sky coverage will be impressed.”