At a time when all aspects of Irish life are under pressure, it is refreshing to learn that the Christmas figures for the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) operated stadia showed an attendance increase in 2012.
More than 26,000 customers enjoyed the restaurants and suites during December – this was an increase of 3pc over the previous year.
IGB head of marketing Orla Strumble said: "The combination of a number of innovative price and packaging offerings, as well as a combination of local and national marketing, has resulted in these great figures. It also shows that a night at the dogs is high on people's list when choosing a venue for their company, family or social club event."
The IGB has also announced that it will be playing its part in supporting The Gathering with a series of events planned.
First up is likely to be the Gathering of the Dublin Roses to celebrate the 85th birthday of Harold's Cross Stadium this spring, while the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy's visit to Limerick racecourse, the site of the new greyhound stadium, will be celebrated with a special commemorative event on June 29.
Other events include the National Greyhound Gathering on Sunday, August 4, the Roses Gathering at Kingdom Stadium, Tralee, on August 25 and the Gathering of the Clans at Mullingar.
Shelbourne Park hosts an 11-race card this evening and the best bets may arrive towards the end of the programme. Graham Holland has a tremendous strike rate at the venue and his Riverside Carib is due a winning turn after surrendering the lead in his past four outings. He can set a strong pace and may not be caught.
As an inside seed, Larry Mason's Forest Simon may not be best drawn in the concluding 550 but he has the ability to lead home these rivals.
Riverside Carib (9.55) Shel Pk Forest Simon (10.25) Shel Pk
Number of the day
15,000 Just confirmed as winner's prize in euro for the GMHD Juvenile Classic, to begin at Tralee on February 22.