One of the UK’s youngest greyhound trainers has not one but four chances of qualifying for a major Category One final worth £20,000 being held at Nottingham Stadium later this month.
Nathan Hunt upped sticks from his south Wales home to live a life alien to his family in 2015 by accepting a role as a full-time kennel hand for former trainer Phil Simmonds.
The 29-year-old progressed his skills and knowledge of greyhound training before taking out his trainer’s licence in February 2020 and hasn’t looked back since.
With the help of a dedicated team of staff, Nathan has already won one Category One competition – the highest grade of UK greyhound racing – this year when landing the Steel City Puppy Derby at Sheffield with Droopys Fidget.
And he has high hopes of landing a second when Droopys Google, Hopes Rhino, Allowdale Cazoo and Antigua Bingo run in the Semi Finals of the 2023 Premier Greyhound Racing Eclipse Stakes on Monday
To qualify for the final on Monday, November 27, each greyhound must place in the first two of its respective race.
“We were delighted with our results in the first qualifying round,” said Hunt. “Progressing four of our seven entries from Round One is pleasing, but the competition gets tougher with every week.
“Droopys Google is one of our leading hopes. He’s been a fantastic competition dog for us and already this year has reached the Kent Plate, Derby Plate, Sussex Cup and Champion Stakes finals.
“It would be brilliant for the team if he could go close. Hopes Rhino is a new arrival to the kennel and we’re hopeful he can improve from his Round One run.
“The same applies to Antigua Bingo who left plenty on the track after not running the bend as well as we know she can. Allowdale Cazoo is improving all the time too and has a great draw in trap five which will suit her well.”
There’ll be no cheering from Nathan on the terraces should one of his stars reach the final as he’s currently in Sydney on a specially organised tour of the sport’s operation down under. Despite this, he’ll be waking up in the early hours to tune in.
Nathan added: “I’ll be cheering on some 10,000 miles away!
“It’s not often we get the opportunity or time for a tour like this, and it will be another learning curve for me as a young trainer I’m sure.
“The team back home are doing a great job to cover while I’m away and we’d be chuffed if we can be represented in the final. All three semi finals are tough, and each dog will qualify on merit so fingers crossed we can be involved.”
Tickets and trackside and restaurant packages for the Semi Finals of the 2023 Premier Greyhound Racing Eclipse Stakes are on sale now and available to purchase via the Nottingham Stadium website from £7. Doors open at 5.30pm with the evening’s first race scheduled for 6.26pm.
Semi Final One – Romeo Command, Droopys Request, Newinn Syd, Ballymac John, Cooladerry Dust, Kilara Volcano.
Semi Final Two – Hopes Rhino, Whyaye Man, Clona Duke, Atomic Gun, Allowdale Cazoo, Burj Khalifa.
Semi Final Three – Antigua Bingo, Savana Beau, Droopys Google, Bockos Crystal, Culture Day, Headford Chief.