€1m prize-money boost to re-invigorate industry
Irish greyhound racing received the perfect New Year news with the confirmation that the prize-money for ordinary race grants will increase by almost €1m this year with immediate effect.
IGB chairman Phil Meaney said that this is a first step on the road to restoring participation in Irish greyhound racing. The extra prize-money represents an increase of 25pc.
Meaney also revealed that the board will announce plans by mid-January which will support breeding, syndication and other measures to reinvigorate the industry.
The prize-money increases take effect from today's meetings countrywide.
Greyhound racing resumes with a bang this evening and it is quality all the way at Shelbourne, where the rescheduled final of the Gain Christmas Oaks tops the bill on a 12-race card.
Punters traditionally treat such races with caution, fearing that the experience with the non-functioning traps might have a long-term effect.
However, it is two weeks since the void race and in the interim the connections had the option of giving their finalists a trial out of the same traps.
Half the field availed of the opportunity, with Graham Holland's Ballydoyle Honey (9.57) the fastest with a brilliant 27.99 spin. Clearly, she wasn't affected by the incident and this must increase confidence in the already red hot favourite.
Yahoo Perlena (28.17) and Hovex Princess (28.51) were the others to be trialled but all six runners are confirmed as certain starters.
On all known form Ballydoyle Honey must be the fancy but, in the event of serious traffic problems, Yahoo Perlena and Follys View could be her most serious rivals. Hovex Princess, Droopys Aurora and Urban Gossip complete the line-up.
Paul Hennessy's Priceless Lassie (10.12) only failed by a length to reach the Gain Oaks decider but she now moves up to the 750 yard distance in the open contest. She has had three runs over the trip but is already established as one of our top stayers. She ran up the Night of Stars 750 to Vulturi and had Fire Height Amy behind her on that occasion.
Fire Height Amy is again among her rivals and is well capable of a huge run, as is Joyful Dribbler out in six. But Priceless Lassie has the perfect draw.
The agents will be out in force at Clonmel tomorrow evening where the first round of the Red Mills Open Unraced will be run.
Standing supreme on the trial test is the Dolores Ruth-trained Razldazl Duke (8.30) and he is clearly the one to beat, but beware, as there are sure to be some other budding young stars lurking out there!