Greyhounds - I'll never forget Dazzler's Night of Stars
In the Kennels
I used to go to Navan track with Jim Reid and we had a couple of dogs together. I became friendly with Larry Mason Snr - I found him very interesting.
Through Larry I bought Black Choice but he was nothing exciting. Then young Larry suggested Bay Road and he was very lucky for me. He ran on Derby final night and I got a great buzz from that. The bug really set in.
Some people get annoyed when their dog goes up in grade but I prefer to see my dogs in open grade, that's what it's all about.
We bought Forest Rock from Paddy Kehoe and he won 22 races, all at Shelbourne. Then we had Forest Ralph, he did 28.16 and I felt he was going to be the real deal. He didn't settle in the kennels but he ran on Derby final night and was only picked up late enough by Sawpit Sensation.
There was a syndicate involved in Airlie Dazzler, Eugene and Christine Short, Leon Smullen, Lar Fogarty and myself. He was very fast and did 18.60 and 28.30 in his early days, but he was slightly disappointing when we bought him.
Things didn't work out for him in the Derby - he didn't have the early pace - but we moved him up in trip because of the Dundooan Diva involvement and he ran well over 575. We then stepped him up to 750 and he was caught late in the final of the Seamus Farrell Memorial by Groupie Doll.
I'll never forget the Night of Stars when he won the 750. It was a dream come true and it more than made up for any disappointments we had. Disaster struck when he was clear in a 575 and broke his hock and he is now enjoying his retirement in Italy.
Leon Smullen rang and asked if I would go into Native Hut with him. He had seen him win in 28.80 at Shelbourne and he liked him. So we gave it a go.
Again, he had Dear Prudence on the dam side so we moved him up in trip. He won a 575 in 31.29 but went out of the Billy Mulvaney Memorial in the second round.
We decided to try him over 750 and entered him for the Seamus Farrell Memorial. He qualified for the final and he flew the lids and held off Sidarian Lisa and Tyrur Sugar Ray by two and a half lengths in 41.96. I couldn't believe the great reception we got at the presentation but I was thrilled for Larry Mason, he is the tops, he tells you the way it is and is as straight as a die.
Now we are hoping the dog stays sound for the Night of Stars, that's the big target.
I have a half-brother to Native Hut and Larry is just starting him off at the moment. So that's something to look forward to.
I'm not a big gambler but I like going to Shelbourne, that's the place to be.
Pat Norton is a regular at Shelbourne who has also enjoyed some great successes as an owner.
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