One of the north-east's most successful greyhound trainers hopes to make it a hat-trick of Category One triumphs at his local track this month with the help of three kennel stars.
Ashington-based James Fenwick first went greyhound racing as a baby and became one of the sport’s youngest trainers on record when securing his professional license aged just 19.
He has since won two of Newcastle Stadium’s three annual Category One competitions – the highest grade of UK greyhound racing – with this month’s Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby the only trophy absent from his cabinet.
The £12,500-to-the-winner event begins on Thursday evening, and Fenwick has entered rising stars Ballymac Lineout, Coppice Leger and Coppice Saphire.
Each greyhound must finish in the first three of its respective race to advance to the following week’s semifinals, with the final scheduled for Thursday, February 15.
The competition has historically pointed racegoers to who the future stars of the sport might be with Fenwick hoping to have a champion in his ranks.
“Every race at this level is difficult to win because these competitions are so competitive,” said Fenwick. “But we’re hopeful of qualifying to the semifinals with our three greyhounds.
“Ballymac Lineout was a maiden winner at Towcester in October. We’ve kept him fresh for this competition and he’s got a really nice draw in Heat One so we’re hopeful he can qualify.
“Coppice Leger has two really talented pups on his inside from trap three, it will need a really good run for him to make the frame while Coppice Saphire has the benefit of a nice draw.
“She’s in a hot race but won impressively on debut and was a real eye-catcher when beaten narrowly last time by Ballymac Lineout. She’ll improve for that run, so again we’re hopeful of progressing.”
Supported by wife Mel and daughter Hannah, the Fenwick family enjoyed a successful 2023 winning four Category One competitions.
Champion greyhound Bellmore Sally lifted the Premier Greyhound Racing Golden Jacket and historic Ladbrokes TV Trophy while Brookside Richie claimed the Arena Racing Company Northern Flat and M Lambe Construction Birmingham Cup.
Success in the Northern Puppy Derby would be made even sweeter for Fenwick given his three representatives are owned by two of his closest supporters – Tony Brealey and Neil McGregor.
“Tony is a fantastic owner and a huge part of our story,” said Fenwick. “We’d love to bring home a big competition for him as he’s a huge asset to the sport.
“The same can be said for Neil, owner of Bellmore Sally who’s been a phenomenal greyhound for us. Fingers crossed we can complete the local hat-trick.”
Round One of the Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby begins on Thursday, February 1, at Newcastle Stadium. Tickets, trackside packages and restaurant bookings are available to make online by clicking here.
Doors open at 6pm with the evening’s first race due off at 6.38pm.
Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby – Round One:
Heat One – Ballymac Lineout, Kit Man, Velvet Hurricane, Jimmy The Fish, Omuircheartaigh, Dunquin Kitty.
Heat Two – Madabout Peck, Links Quinn, Glitter Alan, Bramble Wilson, Colliers Brynner, Aero Bono.
Heat Three – Watermill Emara, Velvet Violet, Good Appeal, Ballymac Zari, Highfield Andy, Bramble Tango.
Heat Four – Droopys Eunice, Coss Tokyo, Coppice Leger, Havana Skater, Clona Curly, Tiermana Lucky.
Heat Five – Coppice Saphire, Newinn Sharky, Links Bomber, Havana Meanie, Droopys Display, Agile Ange.
Heat Six – Greenwell Ovett, Alecs Garden, Slingshot Broxi, Skywalker Tino, Dunquin Hollie, Coppice Ella.