Sunday 25 February 2018

Greyhound Racing: Doll's win bigger than any with the horses

In the Kennels - Mick Flynn

It was fairytale stuff last Saturday when Groupie Doll won the Seamus Farrell 750. We could be at the game for another 20 years and not achieve anything like this again.

I have always loved the greyhounds. I remember as a young fella, I would be travelling with my father, and every time we passed Con Glynn's place I would ask him to pull up so I could go in to see the dogs.

We used to go hunting all the time and catch hares for the Edenderry Club.

I had one or two with the late Paddy Cross about 25 or 30 years ago and they were average enough. I also had a few with Mick Cully.

In more recent times I would go racing to support Jimmy and Kieran Mangan's dogs and I got the buzz back again and bought a few pups by Ardkill Jamie out of Shelbourne Becky.

Through them I met Mick and Robert Gleeson, and Mick has been a big help.

From him I really began to realise that greyhounds are like racehorses – you have to feed them well, exercise them, give them dry bedding and keep them dry and warm.

The dogs love fresh air and freedom and I would be up at six every morning and either give them a walk or let them out for a run.

I have just two dogs now – Groupie Doll and a young bitch by Droopys Scolari out of Woodhill Spark's daughter Woodhill Mist. I plan to breed Groupie Doll at the end of next year.

Nowadays I work at Derrinstown Stud and I spend a little time with the dogs in the morning. It is great therapy having the dogs in the evening; I would go mad if I had nothing to do. Mary and I treat the dogs as a hobby but as a business as well because you can't walk away from them.

I was very lucky as a jockey and won races like the Irish National, the Galway Plate, the Black & White Chase, the Thyestes etc, but I was probably unlucky not to have a first jockey job.

One year I was leading the jockeys' table until I got a bad kick in the leg after a fall in October and that put me on the sidelines for six weeks and ended my hopes.

But winning the final last Saturday was a bigger thrill than any of my racing successes. For Mary and me, it was a great occasion.

I reared a few for Mick Gleeson in return for a bitch, and I picked Groupie Doll.

I remember the first day I gave her a handslip and Mick Gleeson was there and he said to me "she's a stayer".

It was the first time he saw her, and how right he was. After she won the 570 final at Longford, Paul Hennessy rang me and said that she would be top class over six bends.

After Saturday's win we can now dream of the Night of Stars. It would be a massive thing to have a runner that night; it is just like the Breeders' Cup.

Former Irish Grand National winning rider Mickey Flynn gained a major victory on Saturday with Group Dollie, a greyhound he reared, owns and trains.

Irish Independent

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