A sad farewell to one of the true legends
Irish greyhound racing received a body-blow with the news that Seamus Graham had passed away suddenly a few weeks prior to his 75th birthday.
One of the greatest trainers of this or any other era Seamus was a true legend in his field and was respected the length and breadth of the greyhound world.
A native of Ballickmoyler in County Laois, Seamus was introduced to the sport at an early age. He was already a widely respected handler by the time he took out a training licence early in 1984. Within months he had become a Derby winning-trainer after Dipmac had won the premier Irish classic for his great friends and patrons Paschal Taggart and Noel Ryan.
Three more Derbys were to follow, the Irish Derby via Tina Marina and Climate Control and a truly memorable English Derby success with Loyal Honcho. He also won three Irish Oaks, with Cool Survivor and the dual winner Marinas Tina.
Virtually every top event in the calendar was won by the Graham Kennels with a host of champions such as Boyne Walk, Premier Fantasy, Mineola Farloe, Mega Delight, Ratify, Get Connected, Nifty Niamh, Top Boe, Smiling Man, Blue Majestic, Barneys Alarm, Satharn Beo, Kind Of Luxury, Murchu, Rutland Ranger, etc, etc.
Our sympathies go to his wife Noreen, sons Philip, Diarmuid and Colm, daughters Mary and Aileen and extended family.
There will be four first-round heats in the Gain 600 at Shelbourne on Saturday with the winner now receiving €15,000. All heat winners will earn €200.
The opening heat has produced a really exciting clash with Greenwell Hulk drawn in trap one and with Tyrur Sugar Ray in three. The other big fancy Skywalker Legend will wear the red jacket in Heat 4 where Garryvoe Jet and Tyrur Arthur are formidable opponents.
PJ Fahy's dogs are running at their very best at the moment and in Tyrur Nathan (8.15) he has one of many exciting young talents. Nathan contests the final of the Gain A2 525 at Shelbourne this evening and is given the vote to reverse placings with his semi-final conqueror Half A Cent.
Another that makes appeal in the early races at the meeting is the Paul Hennessy-trained Kilara Hey Mac (8.30) which has shaped like a stayer and will be well suited to the A2 575 conditions.
There are no fewer than four finals down for decision at Enniscorthy this evening with the feature being the Droopys Stud April Stakes.
The partnership of Shanks Whelan and son-in-law Ron Shinkwin has a formidable hand in the big final with both Piercestown Mick and Piercestown Club and either of them is capable of taking the top prize.
John Kehoe's Royal Blaze also comes right into the reckoning but the draw could well swing it for Piercestown Mick (9.15) in the red jacket.
Gain 600, Shelbourne – Saturday
Heat 1: 1 Greenwell Hulk, 2 Sidarian Lisa, 3 Tyrur Sugar Ray, 4 Hi Dibbles, 5 Samar Rozy (w), 6 Surley Bassi (w).
Heat 2: 1 Barefoot Blake, 2 Lemon Pumba, 3 Knockeen Crash (w), 4 Priceless Rumble (w), 5 Chetwynd Lad (w), 6 Danmar Jack (w).
Heat 3: 1 Hawaii Kinsale, 2 Lughill John, 3 Lemon Dolorus, 4 Peads Hawk, 5 Ciaras Spain (m), 6 Tyrur Lazarus (w).
Heat 4: 1 Skywalker Legend, 2 Garryvoe Jet, 3 Alien Joy, 4 Clearview North, 5 Crompaun Jamesy (m), 6 Tyrur Arthur (w).