Greyhound Racing: Real McCoy proves good genes are crucial
It was terrific winning the Red Mills Champion Juvenile with De Real McCoy at Kilkenny, but it was all down to Paul Hennessy.
Our young stud dog Vans Escalade's first pups were appearing when I met Paul and said we were looking for a young dog by Vans to race. Anyway, a little later he rang and said that he had seen a youngster doing 17.02 in a trial around Kilkenny and he felt he could be a very good dog.
We said to go ahead and buy him. Paul had actually bred the dog but he bought him back from Mick Ryan in Castlecomer and then named him too. It's unbelievable that Paul was able to spot the potential from that ordinary trial around Kilkenny.
Paul and I have been friends for years – we went to school together in Knockbeg. We've had lots of luck with Paul with dogs like Front Page News, which won the Millennium Club 750, Barry's Tea 750 winner Gobstopper and Scottish Derby runner-up Daleys Buzz.
Obviously, we are looking forward to running De Real McCoy in the Derby but it would be expecting an awful lot for him to go on and win it. We'll be happy to be there.
There is no doubt the stud game has gone back a lot in the last four years and the number of litters registered is well down. It is down to the economic climate; there are so many calls on people's money, they've become more selective in their breeding. Actually, we are very busy at the moment but that's because of the cold weather this year and that bitches were later coming in.
We have been very lucky with our stud dogs over the years. We got off to a great start with Daleys Gold and have had a lot of luck with the likes of Frightful Flash, Top Honcho, Honcho Classic, Crash, Hades Rocket, Premier Fantasy etc.
When first looking abroad we basically tried to bring in new blood which could improve the line and also provide a cross. I got a particular thrill out of the American dog Kinloch Brae, and he came up with the Derby winner Razldazl Billy and then Ballymac Vic.
The younger dogs are doing well. Godsend arrived from Australia at Christmas and is doing really well, while it was through Mick Darcy that we got Vans Escalade from America. But Escalade is something like an Irish soccer player – he could play for Ireland on the grandmother rule as he goes back to Pat Dalton's Fortress and the Dalcash line.
But our Irish racers are also doing well, the likes of Razldazl George and Premier Fantasy, while Makeshift has been our busiest new sire.
I am happy enough with the game because everyone's hands are tied. It would be lovely to be able to bring outside money into the game through betting, and I feel a lot can be learned from Australia. It would also be nice to see really big prizes for three or four Classics – to have a dream prize to capture everybody's imagination.
Michael Dunne is one of Ireland's leading stud keepers and operates the Frightful Flash Stud in Co Laois