Monday 18 December 2017

National Glory a Reason to be Cheerful

In the Kennels - with David Standbridge

Greyhounds
Greyhounds

We got a great thrill out of winning the Centra Irish Grand National with Hypnotic Reason. I bought him as a pup and he showed terrific promise in his trials and was doing 28.70 on Saturday mornings around Clonmel.

We entered him for the Open Unraced at Clonmel in July and he flew out but was turned sideways when leading around the first bend. He finished third behind Fiery Splendour and I felt he was very unlucky.

In the second round he went to win his race at the third bend but ran off the bend and the stewards didn't like him. We decided to sharpen him up over hurdles and he jumped the one hurdle at Mullinahone brilliantly.

He didn't run well in his first race over hurdles but then did 29.15 in an unofficial trial. He won a H4 contest at Curraheen and we stuck him in an Open Hurdle where he was second in the semi-final and won the final on Laurels final night. He clattered the last hurdle that night and took a chunk out of a stifle.

He actually ran his first few races at Harold's Cross with a bandage. We were very happy with the draw for the final and it wasn't a huge surprise to us when he won.

We are thinking of running him in some hurdle events in England next year but we might also run him in a few flat races here.

I grew up in Coventry and got involved in the dogs when spending time with Brian Price and Pam Heasman at Hackney and Louis Solomon at Walthamstow.

The greyhound scene in England then was all about paddock work and feeding, and the place to go to learn about greyhounds was Ireland.

I spent 18 months with the late Paddy Keane and I moved from there to Matt O'Donnell and spent four years with him. I met my wife Mollie – she lived next door – and we got married. I spent another year with Matt after that but then we moved out on our own in 1985 and started training a few dogs and also breeding a few.

The first success we had was a Sand Man bitch called Sister Moonshine when I was with Paddy. She was only 47lb but I bought her for £100 after seeing her in a schooling trial. She was a good open racer and bred a lot of winners, including Hypnotic Stag.

Hypnotic Hampster was one of our best; we bred her from Lemon Malibu but she got injured on the gallops. She won the first round of the Produce Stakes.

We have kennels for between 20 and 30 dogs but at this moment we have only one racer, Hypnotic Reason. A few years ago we bought two bitches off the same line as Barefoot Bullet, by Honcho Classic out of Ard Flash.

One of them was Hypnotic Music and she won lots of races. She has a four-week-old litter by Scolari Me Daddy and we have two pups at nine weeks old by Westmead Hawk out of Toberadora Cora.

We have two children. Sarah is a beautician and Simon is a graduate from UL. I do a bit of part-time driving to keep going but greyhounds are the main interest for Mollie and me, and we enjoy the game.

David Standbridge was born in England but he now runs a small kennel in Fethard and recently won the Centra Harold's Cross Irish Grand National.

Irish Independent

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