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'I didn't think the dog was coming home' - Kidnapped €1m greyhound found 'safe and well' as four men arrested

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Clares Rocket after winning the Produce Stakes at Clonmel last June Picture: Imelda Grauer

Clares Rocket after winning the Produce Stakes at Clonmel last June Picture: Imelda Grauer

Clares Rocket after winning the Produce Stakes at Clonmel last June Picture: Imelda Grauer

A greyhound stolen from a kennel has been recovered "safe and well" overnight.

Gardaí have confirmed that four men have been arrested after the animal Clares Rocket was stolen on Monday night from the kennels of Irish Derby winning trainer Graham Holland.

The dog is owned by the Limerick Full House syndicate, headed by Joe Cahill and has been trained by Mr Holland, who owns family-run business Riverside Kennels in Golden, Co Tipperary.

A garda spokesperson confirmed four men were arrested in connection with the investigation on Tuesday night.

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Proud connections of Clare's Rocket receive the Doire Construction Champion Stakes Trophy

Proud connections of Clare's Rocket receive the Doire Construction Champion Stakes Trophy

Proud connections of Clare's Rocket receive the Doire Construction Champion Stakes Trophy

It is understood that members of the armed Regional Support Unit swooped on a car travelling through Waterford late last night.

Two men, who are known to gardaí, were arrested and the dog was recovered in the vehicle.

Gardaí arrested two further men in a separate operation.

The men are being held at Tipperary and Clonmel garda stations under Section 4 of the criminal justice act.

Speaking on Today with Sean O'Rourke, trainer Graham Holland confirmed that the dogs kidnappers did ask for a ransom but couldn't confirm the amount.

"People thought they could hold him for ransom. It is a bit like Shergar, if they haven’t got his identity book, they can’t do a lot with him. He is only worth money to the people who own them and what he can win for them," he said.

"I can’t really confirm (the amount), I think that is for the guards to make the statement on, not me. They’ve done all the work and all the credit to them.

"Obviously we were delighted to see him. I didn’t think the dog would be coming home."

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When asked if the ordeal would affect Clares Rocket in the upcoming English Derby, Mr Holland said he didn't think so.

"He has come back in good condition. He is not dehydrated and he hasn’t lost weight, they obviously fed him. He’s a little bit distressed but happy to be home, so hopefully he'll be okay.

"On his day, he probably is the fastest dog in Ireland. There are always younger dogs and other dogs producing good runs, but he has been a fantastic dog for us.

"Obviously we were delighted to see him. I didn’t think the dog would be coming home."

Mr Holland and his wife had travelled to Belfast on Sunday to visit their eldest son who is studying there.

Their other son, Timmy, had been minding the dogs when he discovered on Monday morning that Clares Rocket had been stolen.

"We were so shocked. You never believe that would happen with a greyhound.

"We’ve got outside lights and security. We are probably going to look into getting more security."

Valuable Clares Rocket is listed as the second favourite at odds to 25/1 for the English Greyhound derby, one of the most prestigious of greyhound races.


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