Langford happy to return ‘home’
Ian Langford is delighted to be back where his journey in greyhound racing started having joined the trainers’ ranks at Monmore Green.
Langford, from Willenhall, first got the greyhound bug when working as a kennel-hand at the Wolverhampton track during his teens.
Now a fully-fledged trainer with a 50-strong kennel in Walsall, he has returned to Monmore having served at both Towcester and Oxford over the last year – and he is out to impress with a couple of big competitions on the horizon.
“It’s been great. I didn’t think it would happen at one stage and I’d like to thank (Towcester and Oxford promoter) Kevin Boothby as he was a big help when I first took my licence out,” said Langford.
“He gave me the opportunity to go on Towcester and Oxford, so a big thanks to him and this wasn’t a decision I took lightly even though Monmore is my favourite track and I live around here.
“Ultimately, with the travelling and the cost of fuel, coupled with the fact some of my owners are local people, it was a no-brainer to come back to Monmore.
“I first came here when I was 15. I’ve been kennel-hand to quite a few trainers – Chris Allsopp probably being the main one. We won the trainers’ championship and trainer of the year around here quite a few times.
“I worked with Carol Weatherall for about eight or nine years as well, and they were great people to work for. Hopefully, I can do as well as them.
“I’ve learnt such a lot off them, and my best friend Andy Johnson also used to train dogs, so he’s taught me a tremendous amount. I’ve taken it all in and am trying to implement it with some of my dogs now.”
Arguably the biggest night of the year at Monmore is now less than a month away, with two Category One competitions coming to a head on Saturday August 26th.
The Ladbrokes Gold Cup and Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic will both see £10,000 awarded to the winner, and Langford has his eyes on the latter with stayer Fridays Eske – who also runs at the track tonight.
When asked what his aims are for the coming months, Langford said: “I’m in it to win.
“I try every race to win. It’s not always possible, but you’ve always got to try to win, and as long as the dogs come off safe, that’s the main thing.
“I’ve got a nice dog called Fridays Eske who’s done 37.90 around here. He had a tweak in his last race, so we’ve laid him off for a month.
“He had a great sprint trial last weekend and he’ll have a four-bend race here on Saturday, so we’ll aim him for the Summer Stayers Classic over 630m.”
Langford added: “I class this as being home now. I know all the people in the paddock and the trainers have all made feel welcome, so a big thanks to them.
“The owners have been brilliant and love coming to Monmore, so we’ll work hard and try to get some success for them.”
Hope you’re keeping well. Sending the piece a little earlier this week as due to be moving house tomorrow so going to be off sorting that!
I’ve caught up with new Monmore trainer Ian Langford, who actually lives above the Navigation pub in Willenhall if you know it. Small world.
Seems a nice bloke, to be fair. Pictures of him at the winners’ podium with different dogs attached.