Hopes Paddington – who made the prestigious Ladbrokes Winter Derby final at Monmore last month – and several other top-class greyhounds owned by Nic Jeal are now trained by Hunt. They have transferred over from Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) champion trainer Mark Wallis, boosting the young Welshman’s chances of landing a big Open crown in the months to come.
Hunt plans to fly the flag for Monmore and, with Hopes Paddington, go for the biggest winner’s purse in Britain at the £175,000 English Greyhound Derby, which starts over at Towcester in late May.
“It’s very exciting to be taking on dogs of that calibre,” said Hunt. “We’ve got quite a nice young team already, so welcoming Nic and Amanda Jeal and their greyhounds is a real added boost for us. Hopes Paddington will be aimed at the Derby, while we also have Antigua Sugar planned for the Brighton Belle. Bombardier has a fine reputation and while he is entering the later stages of his career, he will probably go for some six-bend Opens at Monmore.
“Antigua Big Syd is more of the up-and-comer from the bunch but has won an Open at Monmore in the past.
“He had a good trial on Thursday, so we’ll probably just keep him to Monmore for now and get him in an Open soon. It’s a really exciting time.”
Hunt, who trains out of both Monmore and Romford with the help of a dedicated team of kennelhands, had more than 100 Open race winners in an eye-catching 2022. But the influx of Jeal’s dogs could propel the kennels to the next level as they go for some of the best prizes in the sport.
“We’re hoping to break into the top six trainers,” added Hunt.
“We were really pleased with how everything went last year, having more than 100 Open winners, and we’re just looking to win as many competitions as we can now.”
Tonight sees Hunt have both Wicky Curly and Union Allstar running in A1 competition, the Joyce Lloyd Memorial, with three quality heats leading to next weekend’s final.
The eye-catching heats are race seven, eight and nine at Monmore this evening.