Monmore’s final evening meeting of 2022, the Monmore Green Christmas Festival, was headlined by the Christmas Stayers and it proved to be a superb race. Aunty – trained by Newcastle’s Angela Harrison – came out on top in a time of 38.06 seconds.
The 630m event was put on after trap issues forced one of Monmore’s three Summer Stayers semi-finals earlier this year to be declared void and the dogs who advanced to the final to be drawn at random.
Antigua Sugar, of Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) champion trainer Mark Wallis, was one of the greyhounds affected in the summer and would have been many people’s favourite to take home the spoils on Thursday having previously excelled over six bends at Monmore. Sugar would go on to lead for a large portion of the race before Aunty’s late pace saw her prevail.
Great Name That and Aero Squeak, of Monmore trainers Gary Griffiths and Arran Dunn respectively, finished up sixth and fifth.
Seven Open races were also held and while Wallis’ dog was just pipped to the post in the Stayers, he still ended the night with plenty to cheer as he had three winners on the card. Thrilling sprinter Gougane Jet caught the eye once more, in race three, as he flew to the finish in 15.4 secs – to make it 16 wins in just 19 career outings thus far.
Hopes Paddington was victorious in race one too, while Antigua Woofwoof – another consistent performer in the 264m sprint – won race five.
Monmore trainers Vicki Lea and Carol Weatherall were also all smiles as Romeo Wildcat and No Rush won races four and six respectively.
Ben Reynolds (Perry Barr) and Kevin Hutton (Oxford) completed the evening’s Open victors, with Crystal Alice winning race two and Millbank Chosen succeeding in race eight.
Monmore is not racing tonight with it being New Year’s Eve and will next welcome customers for the first evening evening meeting of 2023 on Thursday.