We’ve reached that time again when the best dogs of the previous year are given their due credit at the Greyhound Board of Great Britain Awards. Each year the Greyhound Writers’ Association votes for the top nominees in each category, and trainers and owners all over the country will be hoping that their dogs can scoop the top prizes.
Of course, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the awards ceremony this year will be held virtually on February 14th 2021, where the winners will be revealed. Although circumstances are certainly different this year, the joy and honour of winning one of the awards won’t be diminished, as it’s been a hugely competitive 12 months for greyhound racing. Without further ado, let’s take a run through some of the main competitors for different categories – the greyhounds that have been consistently tipped in the bet exchange and have delivered on expectations.
Starting with the Star Sports Bitch of the Year 2020, the three nominees are Aayamza Royale, Queen JessieJ and Smallmead. Aayamza Royale has won her last four races on the spin, Queen JessieJ has enjoyed consistent high placings over the last three months, and Smallmead has also had some good runs of late. It’ll be interesting to see which of these three in-form runners comes out on top.
The British Bred Greyhound of the Year 2020 award is another one that looks set to be hotly contested. Of the three nominees, Elderberry Sky looks like a shoe-in, having won his last eight races on the spin. Overall, he had a fine 2020, and seems to be really finding his feet. Queen JessieJ is also in the running for this one, along with Queen Dolly, who has also enjoyed an excellent 12 months.
As for the Hurdler of the Year 2020, it seems as though it will similarly be a close-run affair. Nominee Burgess Doc has had a solid season, with 13 wins from 18 in 2020, recovering from a slight dip around August to end the year on a high. His competitors for the award are Roxholme Biscuit and Swift Loki. The former has arguably had the most impressive year of the three, with a whole host of victories, while the latter is also in with a chance.
The next category is the Marathon Performer of the Year 2020, and Aayamza Royale is in the running for this one as well as Bitch of the Year. Her challengers are Affirmed and Micks Little Gem, whose respective owners and trainers will fancy their chances on snatching the award themselves.
One of the most interesting awards is always the Newcomer of the Year award, and there are three very worthy nominees this year in the shape of Roxholme Kristof, Surprising and Tenpin. All three have enjoyed sensational starts to their elite-level racing careers, but it’s arguably Tenpin who has been the most impressive, recording an 11-race winning streak between September and November last year.
The remaining categories and nominees are as follows:
Charles Russell Speechlys Sprinter of the Year 2020: Goldies Hoddle, Loggies Lito, Shrewd Call.
Standard Distance Performer of the Year 2020: Deerjet Sydney, Kilara Lion, Newinn Jacko.
Stayer of the Year 2020: Desperado Dan, Roxholme Kristof, Smallmead.
The awards are always a great time to reflect on a fine year of racing, and there is a great need for reflection in the current circumstances, and the challenges sports have faced as a result of the pandemic. But it’s still been a great year for greyhound racing, and all the nominees have been sensational in their own right. It’s anyone’s guess as to who the winners will be, so we’ll just have to wait until Valentine’s Day to find out!