Tuesday 12 November 2019

Ms Firecracker's Oaks win highlight so far

In the Kennels


Pat Guilfoyle

Winning the Irish Oaks back in 2007 was the best thing that ever happened to me and I enjoyed training full-time while I was at it.

But I always had the feeling that I would like the security of a steady income. I had already got my business degree and I decided to go back and do a post grad in primary education.

I got first-class honours and for the past couple of years have been teaching the sixth class in Rhode, Co Offaly – Paddy McCormack country.

I really enjoy the mixture and have a routine where I do the dogs in the morning before going off to school and a man comes in to help during the day. Then, in the evenings, I am able to finish off any work needed on the dogs.

I have always believed in keeping a small kennel and being more selective with the dogs I bring in.

I have been training since I was 18 and my first star would have been Magical Captain before the likes of the Oaks winner Ms Firecracker came along. Then there was Definite Opinion, which won the Cesarewitch twice and also the Dundalk International twice.

We have been lucky and in the past few years we've won the National Sprint, the Kudos Supersprint and the Southern Oaks with Shoemakers Lad, the Con Kirby Memorial at Limerick with Laughill Billy, the Kennedy Cup with Jo Jo Junior and the Southern Oaks with Gurrane Princess.

Our top dog at the moment is Newlawn Impact, which was favourite for the Puppy Derby and was only pipped in the final.

But he damaged his Achilles tendon in the first round of the Comerford Cakes and it has been a slow job.

I just gave him his first handslip of the year this week at Clonmel and I might give him a sprint at Shelbourne on Saturday week.

There is not much for him at this stage of the year as he doesn't stay 550, so we will probably be looking at the 400 at Dundalk and then the Laurels at Curraheen. He will probably have a busy end to the year, but I will be placing him carefully up to then.

Laughil Bolt is another one we think of pretty highly and he should be a nice dog when he moves up to 550 later in the year. Gurrane Princess will also be coming back and she will go for all the bitch events.

We have a nice young dog called Dromoland Dash owned by John Garrahy and Davy Fitzgerald and he runs in the final of the Juvenile at Tralee tomorrow night. He's in great form and we're hoping he might run a big race, though he will be a big outsider.

We are also breeding a few bitches and recently we sold Magical Rossi and Putdownyourfoot to England after they had good runs, while we have pups by Cashen Legend out of Ms Firesparker and a litter schooling by Wheres Pedro out of Faithful Laura.

We also mated Ms Deltafire to Premier Fantasy and we have saplings by Definate Opinion out of Sizzling Sarah. The Definate Opinion pups are shaping well and I feel he will do nicely at stud.

Overall, I am delighted with the way things are shaping and I am enjoying the way I'm operating. All we need now is a surge in the general economy and the greyhound game will hopefully improve.

* Pat Guilfoyle from Moneygall was one of the youngest Classic-winning trainers at 23 and successfully mixes training and his job as a teacher.

Irish Independent

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