Lister proves he’s top dog among the trainers

Former winner Linda Jones, representing the Greyhound Trainers Association, presents the Trainers Ch

Former winner Linda Jones, representing the Greyhound Trainers Association, presents the Trainers Championship silver challenge trophy to Charlie Lister. In the back row, Amanda Santos of Ladbrokes, Martin Grimoldby, Lister's son in law and kennel hand Ian Sutherland. - Credit: Archant

One of the the biggest events in the greyhound racing year, the Trainers’ Championship, took centre stage at Yarmouth Stadium.

All Hands On The Trophy: From top left, Trainers Seamus Cahill, Chris Allsopp and Mark Wallis, on th

All Hands On The Trophy: From top left, Trainers Seamus Cahill, Chris Allsopp and Mark Wallis, on the right, from the top, Paul Young, Charlie Lister and Trevor Draper, representing his brother Barrie, at the traditional pre event lunch, held at the Imperial Hotel. - Credit: Archant

Sponsored by Ladbrokes, it was broadcast on Sky Sports, and for the first time, the evening’s eight deciding open races were also featured live in betting shops nationwide.

Lemon Pluto holds on to give his trainer the Championship

Lemon Pluto holds on to give his trainer the Championship - Credit: Steve Nash

Each championship race carried £1,000 prize money, of which £500 went to the winner. The trainers had qualified for the championship as the six highest points scorers from over 390 trainers competing in open races throughout 2012. It was again points awarded for each race, on the finals night, that would decide who took the title, the silver challenge trophy plus Championship winner’s prize of £10,000.

Yarmouth’s Mark Wallis had qualified as the highest points scorer, followed by Romford’s Paul Young, open race trainer Charlie Lister, Monmore’s Chris Alllsopp, Sheffield’s Barry Draper and from Hove, Seamus Cahill. On the night the slate was wiped clean, only the points scored on the night would count.

Sponsors Ladbrokes, in the pre-event betting, initially went 11/8 for Charlie Lister, but bearing in mind the strong team he had entered and his course record of East Anglian Greyhound Derby wins at Yarmouth, Lister was soon backed down, starting as 4/9 favourite for the title.

Things didn’t look that good for Lister, after Paul Young, trainer of last year’s East Anglian Derby winner Bubbly Phoenix, scored a maximum 20 points, winning the first two races, with Underground Paul, returned 11/2, followed by Jaytee Hellcat, 2/1f. Lister’s runners had only scored five points. Lister hit back taking the next two races, with Silverview Pinky, 5/2 then Fear Emoski, in the Ladbrokes Stayers, amassing 20 points. Barrie Draper took maximum points, with Farloe Barracuda, 6/4f, in the next race, the Ladbrokes Sprint. Lister came back to win the next, another stayers race, with Farloe Tango, 4/9f but Paul Young was still challenging, winning the penultimate race with Teejays Bluehawk, 11/2.

With one race to go, Charlie Lister had 45 points, Paul Young 44, Mark Wallis was holding third place with 31 points. Lister’s Lemon Pluto was 5/4F, with the Stadium Bookmakers, Young’s Bubbly Lucky, 11/4 with Wallis’s Ard To Beat 3/1. As the traps opened Lemon Pluto set the early pace, Bubbly Lucky reached the first turn, close behind being challenged by Ard To Beat.

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Closing up, Bubbly Lucky mounted a strong challenge down the back straight but Lemon Pluto wasn’t going to be passed, pulling out a two and a half length lead on the line, with Ard To Beat just another two lengths back. Lister had the title of Champion Trainer for 2013, plus the £10,000 winners prize.

Charlie Lister had started his 2013 Yarmouth campaign in the best way. His supporters will be looking forward to next September’s 67th running of the East Anglian Greyhound Derby, with even greater anticipation.