Wallis prevails in the Betfair Trainers’ Championship

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Mark Wallis proved worthy of being crowned champion trainer last night at Doncaster, as he regained the title for the Betfair Trainers’ Championship in a dramatic eight-leg event, which saw his dogs eventually win by two points over arch rival Charlie Lister to land the £10,000 prize.

Winning the Trainers’ Championship these days is virtually equivalent to winning a Derby. It may not reward the trainers prize wise, but provides them with an opportunity to make a statement, to make a claim that they are the best handler in the country.

As well as last year’s winner Lister and champion trainer Wallis, Seamus Cahill, Barrie Draper, Chris Allsopp and Dean Childs were also present in the line up to bag the prestigious title on Tuesday night.

The first to represent Wallis on the night was Aero Bolt (9-1) in the puppy race opener across 483m. It was a race which was looking very bad for the champion trainer, as Bolt was knocked over and failed to recover. Farley Blitz (4-6 favourite) was first to cross the mark just as the bookmakers anticipated in a time of 29.70secs, giving trainer Draper the opening lead in the race for the title.

The second race of the night was a 275m sprint, a race which didn’t go the way the bookies had anticipated as Cahill’s Jimmy Lollie (4-6 favourite) finished in last. The race did, however, provide Wallis with his opening share of maximum points as his Directors Wit (3-1) won by five lengths clocking 16.74secs to take first.

Lister also got among the points as he brought on Jordansoilution (11-10 favourite), who provided him with his first victory of the night across 483m in the third race, clocking 29.55secs. It didn’t stop there, as Droopys Belleti (1-2 favourite) cleared the mark by over eight-and-half lengths in the fourth race to put him on top in the race for the title.

Lister had made a great recovery to take lead in the ranking table at the half-way point, but it was only a matter of waiting for the fifth race for Wallis to record his second win to level things up. Wallis produced the winner with Dalcash Scolari (9-2) in a time of 29.52secs, a race which many would have expected to go Lister’s way, as he was represented by the greyhound of the year, Fear Zafonic (evens favourite). Zafonic finished fourth and with only three legs to go, it was shaping up to be a very exciting night.

Race six saw Lister’s Bandicoot Tipoki (4-7 favourite) and Wallis’s Eye Eye Pickle (3-1) on each end, both dogs competed right to the end of the 483m stretch, but it was Pickle who ultimately prevailed by a half-length, clocking 29.51secs.

The result put Wallis back on top, however the leader board was once again shaken, as the seventh race saw a poor run from Wallis’s St Leger winner Kinda Ready who came in last. This provided a window of opportunity for Lister as it gave his 8-1 shot Carbans Tom a great chance to bring his camp some valuable points. Tom didn’t fail, as he won the race by four and a half lengths.

The final race saw Wallis represented by one of his finest, Eye Onthe Storm (4-5 favourite), it was a race in which Wallis not only needed a victory, but needed Lister’s Tyrur Speedy (16-1) to produce a finish of third or worse. Storm did his job as usual and cleared the finish line by over two lengths as he took first, while Speedy could only manage a fourth finish across the 483m final race, a race which gave Wallis his victory over Lister.

The next big event on the horizon is the upcoming Scottish Derby, which boasts an impressive prize of £25,000 for the winner. A prize and title that I’m sure will see the top six trainers compete once again, but will any of them take it? Or will it be Irish trainer Pat Buckley who pockets from it once again. The opening heats will begin on the March 30th, whilst the Sky Sports televised final is scheduled to take place on April 10th.



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