Saturday 16 December 2017

In The Kennels: I hope best career moment is yet to come

Photo: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE
Photo: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

David Flanagan

There was no escaping the greyhound game and I never wanted to do anything different.

Early on, I was working in Coolmore and got married and we had some complications at home. I decided to go into the dogs full-time. That was 10 years ago and it's a decision I have never regretted. We have done well out of them and I couldn't live without them.

I have a wicked hunger to win things and dogs seem to come naturally to me, better than the horses. You could say that dogs like me better.

I'm only a private trainer and have been the leading private trainer at Thurles in six of the last 10 years. We race mainly at Thurles, Clonmel and Kilkenny, but if we see a suitable stake, we will travel there. We even raced in Coventry once.

Most of the dogs I have are for sale. The owners would buy them as pups, try to win a race and then pass them on.

The best dogs I have at the moment would be Beautys Whisper, which has won 11 races, then there is August Rush, which won the €2,000 Ballymac Tipp Stake at Harold's Cross on Friday.

We'll probably go for the Puppy Derby next and will give him one race between now and then. He is the first dog I had for Chris Flanagan, who used to own the Faypoint dogs. He also owns Wicstun Will, which was also in the Ballymac Tipp final last week.

Other winners we have at the moment include Denross Andy, Jolly Millie and Jolly Redeye. We would normally have up to 50 dogs at a time. We also keep coursing dogs and we have won a number of trial stakes and all-aged events.

The best dog we have had was probably Careys Dream, which won 11 races; he was the first Mustang Yank pup to race. He won an Open 575 at Shelbourne 12 years ago. Lord Lonergan was another good dog and then there was the bitch, Meenala Babe, and another bitch called Rising Ruby, which is now breeding.

We have a good team, including my father, Michael, and the wife, Margaret, and also have Danny Kane helping. A young lad and girl from the town also come out to us a lot.

A lot of people are giving out about the state of the game, but I don't find it too bad. Yes, they have made some mistakes, but who never made mistakes in life?

I think a lot of markets are available to the industry and I would like to see them taken up. For instance, I would love to see the Chinese market opened up again. As for the future, I would love to win any major competition.

My one hope is that the best moment in my career hasn't happened yet. But I owe so much to Margaret, who does all the machining on the dogs and she also works on the injured dogs and does the grooming. But then she was bred into the game, her uncle was Liam Barrett, who won the Derby a few times.

David Flanagan (38) is based in Fethard in County Tipperary and is one of the most prominent private greyhound trainers in the country.

Irish Independent

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