Express & Star

Festival tribute to much-loved Lol

Monmore Green will pay tribute to a highly-regarded former trainer as the Lawrence Jones Memorial Festival returns to the track this evening.

Chris Jones

A long-standing tradition at Monmore in memory of ‘Lol’, the event is being run for the first time since 2019 and will see 10 Open races and three graded finals take place – each of them seeing £1,000 go to the winner.

Current Monmore trainer Chris Jones, Lol’s son, and the Jones family have put up the extra prize money and attracted some of the country’s finest greyhounds for a bumper night.

There will be races across various distances – from a 210m sprint all the way through to a 900m marathon.

“The Memorial Festival started back in 2012. We had a break during Covid and we’re bringing it back now,” said Jones.

“It started off originally as just Open races, probably three or four races with big prize money.

“Since then, it has evolved into sponsoring the whole night, with it being £1,000 to the winner for each race.

“This year, we also decided it would be good to have competitions for the graded dogs here at Monmore, so we came up with the Kennel Sweepstakes.

“The Sweepstake gives connections to the graded greyhounds that big competition feel with a nice amount of prize money at the end, too.

“It’s worked well. There were some good heats last weekend, and there should be some nice finals on Saturday.”

The winner of last month’s £10,000 Ladbrokes Gold Cup returns to Monmore tonight as the brilliant Links Maverick – trained by Newcastle’s Tom Heilbron – runs in the 13th and final race on the card.

Summer Stayers Classic finalist Cochise also runs in the Lawrence Jones Memorial Festival 630 for Hove’s Richard Rees.

Jones, meanwhile, will hope to make the night extra special with a win for his old man from one of six runners including Winterfield Trev, who is part of the A10 Kennel Sweepstake Final.

He added: “It’s just about remembering Lol as he was so passionate about greyhounds – he’d been involved for 30 years before passing away.

“He was a trainer at Belle Vue, Coventry, and Perry Barr, and then he started to concentrate more on Open racing.

“It was Lol’s birthday this past Wednesday as well, so it’ll be lovely to pay tribute to him with what should be a brilliant night of racing.”