The 2022 greyhound racing calendar may have only gotten underway at the end of January, but we have already had some fantastic Category 1 finals this year, including the Essex Vase at Romford, the Blue Ribband at Towcester and the Northern Puppy Derby at Newcastle.
However, the Golden Jacket is undoubtedly the biggest event to have taken place at this very early stage of the season, with the £20,000 contest being hosted at Crayford on February 21st. The 714-metre race never fails to live up to expectations, with those who bet on greyhound racing scouring the internet in a bid to find the best odds. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the last four winners of the Category 1 race, including this year’s victor. Read on to find out more.
2022: Bellmore Sally
It’s been a fantastic start to the year for Newcastle-based trainer Jimmy Fenwick as Coolavanny Aunty and Freedom Alibi won the Essex Vase and the Northern Puppy Derby, respectively, but it was Bellmore Sally who landed his biggest victory of the year thus far — winning the Golden Jacket from 5/4.Fastest out of the traps and leading at the first bend, the December 2019 dog showed no letting up as she streaked further and further clear to win by some five and a quarter lengths clear of Droopys Senorita.
“We’ve always loved her and she showed lots of class in puppy races over four bends in good company, even though it was obvious staying was her game,” Fenwick said.“Once she led at the bend we were always confident she’d stay there and she deserves this title. You always need luck, but Sally has a touch of class also.”
2021: Punk Rock Mutley
Punk Rock Mutleysent records tumbling at Crayford last year, becoming the biggest-price winner in the race’s 46-year history. The Stuart Maplesden-trained dog upset all those who backed the favourites, avoiding crowding at the bends as he raced out wide and stormed home four and a half lengths clear of TV Trophy runner-up Redzer Renae and Ragtime Storm in a time of 45.78 seconds in the lengthy 714m contest. It was the biggest victory of Maplesden’s career as a handler to date.
“I’m just delighted for the dog himself and for his owner Matt Christelow who, I can assure you, will have been going mad watching this at home,” the Hove-based trainer said.“It’s a shame he and the other owners couldn’t be here, but he’d have enjoyed this – in fact, I know he did because he lost his voice shouting him home!”
2020: Skilful Sandie
There was another maiden winner in 2020 as Patrick Janssens tasted success in the Golden Jacket for the first time. Breaking well out of trap four, Skilful Sandie had gained a length or two lead by the first bend and the 7/2 chance never looked back for the remainder of the 714m race— despite 5/4 favourite Antigua Fire closing in and pilling on the pressure down the home straight. A length and half separated the Belgian-trained horse from the market leader at the finish.
Stardom came over to Heather Dimmock’s Henlow-based kennel from Ireland and instantly lived up to her name in England — landing her fourth straight success in the Golden Jacket final. Fancied at 6/4 prior to the traps opening, Stardom beat Towcester Story in the exciting race to win the £17,500 prize purse for Dimmock.
“She’s run a brilliant race, and done everything we’ve asked of her,” said Mick Pacey, assistant and partner. “She was gutsy in coming through to beat Towcester Story and has played her part in a great race.We reached the final twice with Lottes Girl – so it’s nice to win!”