Dowling star honoured in British awards
Liam Dowling's magnificent 2015 took on an even greater aura on Sunday when his star performer Ballymac Bonnie was named the Stayer of the Year at the British greyhound awards in London.
It is rare, indeed, for an Irish greyhound to be considered for the award and rather fading memory suggests that she is only the second Irish winner of a British award.
The previous one I can recollect is the great Chart King which, in 1999, won the Scottish and English Derbies for Karl and Ralph Hewitt and he won the supreme accolade of Greyhound of the Year.
Ballymac Bonnie, of course, became the first ever Irish-trained winner of the British TV Trophy last year and also won the Gain Corn Cuchulainn at Harold's Cross.
She is, of course, a major contender for the Irish Awards also but will have a very formidable rival for the Stayers's accolade in Pat Dalton's Tradition!
Incidentally, a second Irish-trained greyhound, Pat Buckley's Droopys Roddick, was nominated for newcomer award along with Eden The Kid and Droopys Buick but the accolade went to the last-named.
The overall award of Greyhound of the Year went to Swift Hoffman trained by Pat Rosney, which will be remembered best for his Scottish Derby triumph.
John Boyle's recent acquisition Boylesports Duke bounced back to winning ways with an outstanding effort in the semi-finals of the Red Mills Open Unraced at Clonmel on Sunday evening.
The Dolores Ruth trained dog won by no fewer than 12 lengths in a flying 28.42 on a track rated at .10 slow and he was followed home by Kilgraney June and Locnamon Eva.
He came away running from six trap and had the race won by the first bend. In fairness to his rivals, four of them were involved in early incidents which put paid to their prospects but it was, nevertheless, a high-class performance.
The other semi-final was won by Ger Kiely's Airmount Tess, which also led all the way and won by four-and-a-half lengths from Coolavanny Wendy and with Razldazl Tierna a neck third.
The draw for nest Saturday has placed Boylesports Duke in one though in future it is quite likely that he will end up as a wide-seed.
Dolores conceded this point yesterday when saying that they will make up their mind after giving the dog a trial and race around Shelbourne.
His long-term targets are the English and then the Irish Derby and he is currently right up there among the favourites for both .
CLONMEL DRAW: 1 Boylesports Duke, 2 Kilgraney June, 3 Razldazl Tierna, 4 Locnamon Eva, 5 Airmount Tess, 6 Coolavanny Wendy (w).