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Allsopp all but there as Wallis concedes the title.

Byline: Jonathan Kay

CHRIS ALLSOPP was yesterday effectively crowned Trainer of the Year for the first time when challenger Mark Wallis admitted defeat in his pursuit of the Monmore handler.

Wallis trailed by 11 points going into last night's racing, but Allsopp was guaranteed to pick up a minimum of ten points courtesy of two finalists in the National Sprint at Nottingham giving him significant breathing space.

"We knew we needed to pick up about 20 points over the weekend if the challenge was still on," said Wallis yesterday, "and unfortunately we didn't manage to win any of the three finals we had runners in and still find ourselves too far behind. I'd probably need to win 25 individual opens to have even a squeak!

"With that in mind, I haven't entered for Hove's meeting on Thursday [featuring the Ballyregan Bob Memorial Trophy and Jimmy Jupp National Hurdle] and it's time to congratulate Chris.

"It's a special moment winning the title for the first time and I know just how much effort Chris, Paul [Anderson, assistant trainer] and all of their team have put in. We gave it our best shot, but have just come up short although any year where you win four Category Ones can't be a bad one. "I thought we had a chance a few weeks ago but things just conspired against us. That said, luck evens itself out over the course of the year so no complaints.

"We'll have the odd runner before the end of the year, but it's all about 2012 now really. Aero Majestic is coughing a bit this morning after his run at Sittingbourne, but he should be fine for the Prestige at Hall Green, Mountjoy Osprey will go for the Puppy Derby at Henlow and Blonde Fletch and Snapper will be back around the time of the Trainers' Championship meeting in March."

Before setting off for Nottingham last night, Allsopp admitted that it seemed the title was his. "I'll be honest, I slept quite well on Sunday for the first time in a while after I'd seen Mark hadn't won either of the Sittingbourne finals," he said.

"It looks like it's over, especially if Mark is easing off a little, and it's obviously a great thrill for all of us. Mark has pushed us all the way and it's taken a lot out of us and our greyhounds, but it's a special achievement.

"We'll give it another go next year, although whether with quite the same intensity I don't know. We're going to enjoy this first."

With top honours basically sorted, the focus now falls on the battle for a top six finish and an invitation to run in the Trainers' Championship meeting. It seems to be a case of two from three with the trio involved, Kelly Findlay, Dean Childs and Seamus Cahill, all having multiple representatives at Hove on Thursday. Henlow have extended the cutoff point for Thursday's open races until noon today after failing to attract the requisite entries. Over various distances, the card will form part of that night's Racing Post Greyhound TV coverage along with Hove.

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Chris Allsopp looks past the post now in the race to the Trainers' title
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 20, 2011
Words:537
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