Antigua Rum provides Mark Wallis with Coral Coronation Cup glory
Mark Wallis says Antigua Rum’s victory in a high-quality final of the Coral Coronation Cup at Romford was a good way to start the year, writes Alex Moss.
The Lakenheath handler, who was recently crowned Greyhound Trainer of the Year for a record 11th time, pocketed £10,000 for the win last Friday.
It was a third Coronation Cup triumph for Wallis, having also won the race with Reel Trickyone in 2014, and with Roswell Romanov in 2017, as Antigua Rum defeated the favourite, and track record holder, Sparta Master, by a length and three quarters, finishing in 35.06 seconds.
“It was a very good win,” Wallis said. “It was the first big race of the year and it was an absolutely fantastic line-up in the race.
“There were a lot of great dogs in the final, which was nice to see, and to win it was fantastic. It’s a good start to the year.
“The prize money for the winner was increased during the week from £5,000 to £10,000, which was really good as well.
“They saw that it was a good final and felt they needed to put up a better prize money.”
Wallis is set for a busy weekend as this Sunday will see the GBGB (Greyhound Board of Great Britain) Greyhound of the Year awards held at the Royal Lancaster hotel, in London.
Before then, Wallis will be back at Romford tomorrow to see his mother-in-law Linda Jones inducted into the track’s hall of fame.
“Romford has been used for racing for 60-70 years, even more, and now they’re doing their own hall of fame,” Wallis said.
“Linda, who is my mother-in-law, won a lot of big races at Romford over the years. We took over the kennels in 2005 and we’ve carried that on over the last few years.
“To be chosen for a hall of fame is a great honour for her and I’m looking forward to the do at Romford this Friday.”
Jones, and her partner Doug, moved to Lakenheath in 1989 and opened up the Imperial Kennels, with Wallis arriving soon after in the role of assistant trainer.
In 1999, Jones qualified as first reserve for the Trainers Championship, at Walthamstow Stadium, and caused a shock by winning the title as a long outsider.
Two years later, she was crowned champion trainer of the year, after winning 235 open races, and then repeated the feat the following year with 323 open race victories.
l Elsewhere, Wallis’ Antigua Sands finished last in a closely-fought Hove Ladies final on Thursday last week.
In The Loop was victorious in a time of 29.24 seconds, with Antigua Sands last across the line in 29.74.
Wallis had another winner on Friday as Tiffield Maximus claimed victory at Romford.