Kent Silver Salver Final, formerly known as the Thames Silver Salver, dates back to the 1930s and was first run at Southend in 1933. It could have been known as the Essex Silver Salver then!
Following a spell at Canterbury in 1988, the competition was renamed the Kent Silver Salver in 2002 when switched to Central Park - and is now one the best known sprint competitions in the GBGB Calendar.
But that wasn’t always the case. The Silver Salver has been run at times over four bends, as opposed to two, and greyhounds such as dual winner Border Mutton and Derby champions Priceless Border and Mutts Silver won the event.
Trainers such as Paddy McEllistrim (twice), father of current trainer Norah, Leslie Reynolds (twice) and Phil Rees senior, granddad of another current handler in Richard Rees, therefore feature on a famous roll of honour for the Silver Salver.
Norah McEllistrim emulated her father’s achievement when winning the Silver Salver, then run over 450m, with Greenacre Josh in 2007 and the Hove trainer, then based at Wimbledon, followed up with Kizi in 2013.
Barry O’Sullivan has a family double to target. His father Terry sent out the winner at Southend in 1972 with An Toileanagh (1972) and the now Central Park-based trainer sends out Art Of Speed in this years final.
O’Sullivan actually had a finalist last year in Teddybear Pops in what was a cracking renewal, being won by the 2017 GBGB Sprinter of the Year in Roxholme Hat - who had previously won the Scurry Cup at Belle Vue.
Another of the major sprint competitions, last year’s Scurry was won by David Mullins’ Troy Bella, who lines up in the final aiming to emulate Roxholme Hat’s path. He actually finished third twelve months ago, so has a real Silver Salver pedigree already.
Troy Bella lines up as the new track record holder after last week’s brilliant success in the semi-finals where he gained revenge for a defeat in the heats by King Elvis. The latter is also one of greyhound racing’s major stars as the Greyhound of the Year for 2017.
Liz McNair’s champion is better known as a four-bend performer, but has plenty of speed, as does Magical Houdini. He is handled by Patrick Janssens, the sport’s current leading trainer, and one of three local Central Park-based trainers in this years final.
“It’s great to have so much local interest in the Silver Salver final,” said promoter Roger Cearns, “and it looks a fantastic renewal! There are plenty of big-race winners in there already - including the new track record holder, of course.
“Best wishes to connections of all the finalists and we hope you enjoy your night here at Central Park. We are proud to stage top-quality open-racing here - and our next major competition after the Kent Silver Silver will be the Cearnsport Grand National next month.”
2019 Kent Silver Salver - The Finalists
Trap 1 Magical Houdini
Owners: Alf Ashe & Shaun Gresham
Trainer: Patrick Janssens, Central Park
Part of a strong local challenge for the Kent Silver Salver, Magical Houdini’s campaign has been largely concentrated at Romford where he has racked up several wins - including in one of the Essex track’s Friday Night Standard events. Patrick Janssens’ dog edged out Troy Bella in one of those, so the pair are old rivals. The only unseeded finalist, he roared to a semi-final victory from the inside box and eyes a repeat in the final.
Trap 2 King Elvis (m)
Owners: KSS Syndicate
Trainer: Liz McNair, Central Park
The 2017 Greyhound of the Year has been one of the most successful greyhounds of recent years, with major four-bend competition wins including in the Produce Stakes and Henlow Derby. He flies the flag again for British breedingt, with his handler Liz McNair a Central Park-based trainer - so enhancing the home challenge! Better known as a top four-bend performer, he nevertheless has huge speed and won his heat well.
Trap 3 Deanridge Ivan (m)
Owners: Ray Dean, Ivan Pilgrim & Paul Surridge
Trainer: Allison Kelly-Pilgrim, Crayford
Formerly known as Moanteen Haye, he won the Festival Flyer for previous connections at Sunderland’s UK Festival in 2018. Arriving at the Essex kennels of Allison Kelly-Pilgrim at the backend of last year, Deanridge Ivan made her debut for his new owners in the heats of the National Sprint at Nottingham. Has enjoyed a better campaign here, qualifying behind Magical Houdini in the semis after leading up and will again look to dominate early.
Trap 4 Art Of Speed (m)
Trainer: Barry O’Sullivan, Central Park
Completing the home challenge for the 2019 Kent Silver Salver title, Art Of Speed’s entire UK career has taken place here at Central Park with eight from his 18 starts - in both graded and open races. Arrived at his trainer Barry O’Sullivan’s Kent kennels with a Clonmel success on his card - and lines up as a second consecutive finalist in this competition after Teddybear Pops ran for O’Sullivan behind Roxhome Hat last year.
Trap 5 Newinn Master (w)
Owner: Simon Taylor
Trainer: Tony Taylor, Hove
The youngest finalist defied a 20-1 SP to chase home Troy Bella in last week’s semi-finals and lines up in his second final having won a Sheffield sprint event for his previous trainer in January - he joined Kent-based Tony Taylor last month. Still a puppy, Newinn Master is related to a host of winners including half-brother and Yarmouth Derby champion Newinn Shadow. Both are sons of a Munster Oaks winner in Newinn Expert.
Trap 6 Troy Bella (w)
Owner: Mick Gollogly
Trainer: David Mullins, Romford
Lines up in his second Kent Silver Salver final having finished third to Roxhome Hat last year. Already a major competition winner for David Mullins having won last year’s Scurry Cup at Belle Vue - one of the sport’s traditional ‘Classic’ competitions - Troy Bella takes his chance as the new track record holder for the 265m distance here at Central Park having blasted out of the traps in last week’s semis to clock a brilliant 15.99sec.
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