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To train the winner of multiple greyhound races in any given year is a tremendous achievement, and some men and women just seem to have a knack for getting the best out of their dogs on a consistent basis. These are the trainers you look for when you’re analysing the greyhound betting market ahead of race night, because they have a track record.
Mark Wallis certainly fits into that category, having recently scooped the Trainer of the Year award for 2021. It was a cracking year for Wallis, and his achievements were rightly recognised by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. It is a record 12th time in his career that Wallis has been honoured with the Trainer of the Year accolade, and it’s no surprise given the impact he has had in the sport.
“Overall, we’ve got to be pleased with how the year panned out on the track,” Wallis reflected, “We were in front for much of the year and, despite a late run from Patrick (Janssens), have managed to secure an incredible twelfth title for the kennel.
It’s the third highest total of points since 2005 and included six Category One victories. But our huge points tally for the season was not just down to the Cat Ones wins, but also the fact we had as many Cat One finalists as I can remember.”
It’s a return to normality as far as greyhound racing’s leading trainer award is concerned. Last year, Patrick Janssens was the man of the moment, having pipped Wallis to the coveted prize, but not even Janssens English Greyhound Derby win with Thorn Falcon could stop Wallis from regaining his title. Before the Belgian’s 2020 success, you’d have to go all the way back to 2011 to find someone other than Wallis winning Trainer of the Year.
Notable victories for Wallis in 2021 included Aayamza Royale’s success in the Monmore TV Trophy, Antigua Romeo winning the Coral Essex Vase, Drumcrow Brent coming out on top in the Coral Sussex Cup, Bo Shine Bullet winning the Kent St Leger at Craygord, and perhaps most significantly of all, Antigua Storm’s sensational triumph in the East Anglian Derby.
That is quite the roll of honour for Wallis, and although his total points haul of 1,346 is not quite as many as some of his other award-winning campaigns, it still represents a hugely successful year on the tracks. The question now is, can anyone stop him from continuing his supremacy into 2022 and beyond?
Janssens will be keen to reassert his position at the top in 2022, although he finished nearly 400 points behind Wallis in the final standings for the year just gone. That means there is work to do to re-ascend to the standards set in 2020. Right now, Wallis is the man to beat.
I said at the end of a slightly disappointing 2020,” Wallis added, “that we’d bounce back and we certainly did that – and, more importantly, we have a cracking array of stars going into 2022. So bring it on!”