HOW about this for a track/ coursing story? It concerns well-known Tralee sporting personality and greyhound owner/ trainer, Michael J Reidy, whose dog, Black Sequin, ran at the Ballyduff coursing meeting and was seriously gruelled in his first course, amounting to no less than six turns.
Well, Black Sequin was also down to run at Tralee track that night and, being the sportsman he is, Michael J did the best recuperative job he could and brought Black Sequin to the track for an A2 525yds race. Against all the odds, Black Sequin ran away from his field to record a brilliant time of 28.95 and, for sure, that is an achievement that simply beggars belief. Take a bow, Michael!
Just two months to go to Clonmel and the National Coursing Meeting, which means that time is beginning to run out for qualification for the classics. Just one Kerry meeting remains, that at Ballybeggan Park on December 26 and 27, but there will be a lot of Kerry runners at the Munster Cup meeting at Newcastle West this weekend and, of course, huge Kerry interest will also focus on the Corn na Feile meeting at Abbeyfeale on December 29 and 30. In relation to the Abbeyfeale meeting, Dan O'Connor, of the local Cellar Bar, is coming up with a bonus of €10,000 should the winner of Corn na Feile, whether it be as dog or a bitch, go on to win the Derby or Oaks. Now, that's one hell of an enticement for connections of greyhounds already qualified for the classics, which, in the case of this very important semi-classic, is mandatory to gain entry.
This Friday night sees the start of the big pre-Christmas event at Tralee Track, the €7,000to-the-winner Greyhound and Pet World Kingdom Derby. Meanwhile, owners and trainers are being put on notice about Tralee's only classic, for 48 unraced puppies whelped in April 2011 or thereafter. It starts on February 22 and, thanks to continued sponsorship by Gallivan, Murphy, Hooper, Dolan, it will be worth €15,000 to the winner.
Chris Houlihan's wife, Katie (nee Wright), is some woman. On the night that Chris won the Irish Leger at Limerick with Cashen Mafuma, Katie had to bring Bluestack Hiker to Tralee for one of the early races, which he won, and she then headed off to Limerick in pretty bad weather conditions and, quite remarkably, managed to make the Leger final. What wonderful determination and dedication.