independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Greyhounds: Brief flirtation has developed into full-time job

I became involved with greyhounds roughly 12 years ago when a few friends started a syndicate and I was hanging around with them.

I was about 26 at the time and had no connection whatsoever with the sport beforehand.

I gradually got involved with a few graders and bought a few bitches, including Quam Celerrime from Pat O'Sullivan in Clonmel. She had just done 28.95 around Clonmel and was very well bred.

She turned out to be a decent enough bitch and won in A1 and A2 company, but wasn't able for Open class. She was a bit moody. Her first litter was to Droopys Maldini and Kereight King was one of the pups she bred.

He showed a lot of promise, but got a bad virus when he was 18-months-old. It knocked the stuffing out of him and he was off for three months. I got him back to where he was and he started to go really well.

I refused good money for him, but then he got sick again and that is why he was such a late starter.

I entered him in the Future Stars Stake at Enniscorthy and he won the first round in 28.81, the semi-final in 28.47 and was then in early trouble in the final when finishing third behind Killinan Cash.

Then we went to Shelbourne where he got injured in the first few yards of an Open race and Ray Cuddihy discovered that he had fractured a pelvis. Luckily, it wasn't too bad and he was back in seven weeks, going on to win the heat of a two-run Open stake in 28.16 and then the final in 28.61.

Since then he has had three races at Shelbourne and won the last two, winning the heat of the Tyrur Big Mike Open 525 in 28.38 and then the final in 28.30 last weekend.

He is a lovely little dog and is learning all the time. Early on, he badly needed the inside draw, but doesn't need it as much now and he is staying pretty well.

I know he will stay 550 and I wouldn't be surprised if he actually got 575 yards. The plan now is to go for the SIS Live Gold Cup, all going well.

I was thinking about the English Derby at Wimbledon, but we'll see how the Gold Cup goes first.

When things were going well in the country, I was tiling, but, at the moment, I am basically involved full-time with the greyhounds in Galbally, which is between Enniscorthy and Wexford Town.

My wife Claire helps me out and we are waiting for Quam Celerrime to come in season again.

She missed out last time, but she will return to Droopys Maldini this year. She's due to break in three or four weeks – it's something to look forward to.

Best bets

A very busy weekend on the tracks kicks off this evening and at Shelbourne Sadie O'Connell's Oakvale Hawk (9.55) can make best use of a good draw. Another likely sort is Peter Tiernan's Not So Scottish (10.0) in an A2 575.

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