Greyhounds: All Jam's Oaks win kicks off celebrations
We always knew that Velvet All Jam had great potential and it was a terrific feeling when she won the Irish Oaks final.
I don't know what it is but the Oaks is different and to breed the winner and to train her is really special.
It was a great week for the family, as my brothers Jimmy and Pat had already had good winners, and the pressure was on dad and me in the Oaks final.
She ran a great race to win the final and that was her eighth win in her last nine races.
She was beaten in the first round of the Oaks but won every other round and then put the cap on it in the final.
Even though we knew she had buckets of ability, we had our problems with her from an early stage between injuries and not settling.
She just wouldn't settle in the kennels but eventually she got that right and we gave her time to recover from a torn shoulder muscle which she picked up in January.
We were always aware that the shoulder could go again and I felt that she was feeling it a little on the third and final bends in the last few rounds of the Oaks.
That is why we have decided to retire her. She has done so much and we don't want her to pick up a serious injury again.
The bitch stake at Galway is very tempting and they were on to us about it.
She loves the Galway track and runs it really well but we have decided that enough is enough and she will be mated when she comes in season – and that could be as early as the end of this month or in August.
She has all-Irish breeding and we are thinking of bringing her to Tullymurry Act. He is throwing some great winners at the moment and he is getting lovely pups. Her mother is going to Kinloch Brae.
What made the Oaks win extra special was that the sire and the dam were in our yard.
Velvet Cash was a flying machine but you just couldn't keep him right. He got cancer in the bone and we had to put him down but luckily we took a few straws from him and one of them was responsible for the Oaks winner.
There is one straw left and we have to make the most of that!
We had a few great nights in Doon after the Oaks. Pat Whelan, down at the end of the town, is a great friend and we had a great night in his place.
Then we had a big party at home on the Tuesday and there were people feeling very sorry for themselves for days!
It has made all the trucking about worthwhile and now we are planning ahead. I have some lovely saplings by Tullymurry Act out of Droopys Snowdrop.
What made it all extra special was that my five-year-old daughter Ella was so much involved. She is a real doggy woman and the dogs love her as well.