Photo gallery: Steve Morison and Grant Holt get their greyhound racing club off to a flier at Yarmouth Stadium
(C) Archant Norfolk 2013
Steve Morison and Grant Holt have gone to the dogs – and the Premier League pair’s plan to take a few punters with them is paying off, if Saturday night was anything to go by.
The Norwich City players saw their newly-created Race Club come to fruition at Yarmouth Stadium with its first race night and although their trio of runners on the 13-race card didn’t collect a victory, the bumper evening pointed to them and the rest of their syndicate being on to a winner.
“We just love the sport,” said Steve. “I’ve got lots of kennels myself, lots of animals, lots of dogs. So me and Grant got together bought a couple of dogs and it’s spiralled out of control a little bit, because we’ve bought seven now in the space of about three months. But it’s been brilliant.”
Steve was the instigator – Grant the man “tempted” in by his team-mate. “We’ve done well as a partnership considering we’re not supposed to get on!” joked Grant. “We started the club to try and get everyone involved in it who always liked the sport but weren’t able to be a part of it.
“My grandad used to have a little bet and I would join him sometimes. That’s as far as it went really. But I think I’ve always been quite good at picking them and I thought if I want to bet on them that much I might as well try and get involved in it.”
Thetford-based trainer Jim Daly is the brains and expert eye behind the club – both Grant and Steve admit as much – as Muskerry Ollie, Ard Bolt and Muskerry Messi got their chance to shine on a freezing night by the sea.
And both players hope they can help as well as enjoy the sport, with the evening raising more than £1,200 for the Retired Greyhound Trust.
“They are great guys, they’ve brought a lot into the kennel and we’re really pleased to have them,” said Mr Daly. “They are both big figures in this area and through that people are going to have an interest in their dogs.
“Welfare is paramount and that is what this night is all about, raising money for the Retired Greyhound Trust in the local area. It’s probably one of the best retirement trusts in the country, so we are proud of what they do.”
Grant added: “We’ve had a few letters and a few moans about us being involved. We are aware of what the dogs do and that they have got a short life span in racing, and we’re trying everything to make sure we look after them and get things even better for the facilities for our dogs and for other ones too, and hopefully we can bring something to this sport.”
The Steve Morison and Grant Holt Race Club has 30 members signed up and all were invited along to Saturday’s inaugural meeting, where they were joined by the majority of Norwich City’s first-team squad hours after their Premier League draw with Newcastle.
The team-mates even sponsored the night’s races – including the David Fox Flat Cap and Wes Hoolahan “Hot Lips” trophies.
“We had been planning it for ages for all the lads to come up since we started this up and it’s been a bit of a snowball effect really,” said Grant. “It’s a good night, the dogs, especially with this venue and the boxes. It’s a good sport to get involved in and once your dog starts running, you get that nervousness. So we are enjoying it.”
• For more information on Steve Morison and Grant Holt’s Race Club, visit steveandgrantsracingclub.co.uk