Monday 26 February 2018

Success of Jacks Top Gal extra special

Thurlesbeg Joker on its way to winning the 2009 Derby Plate Final
Thurlesbeg Joker on its way to winning the 2009 Derby Plate Final

Larry O'Shea

While I have always been involved with greyhounds, my first involvement as an owner was in 2001 and it has grown from there.

My father James had dogs at home in Old Pallas in Limerick and he had a few very useful dogs like Lovely Bill and Red Bill. They raced mainly at Limerick but he would come to Shelbourne now and again and Red Bill ran there three times and won all three.

It was Liam Dunne, who used to drink in my pub, the Village Inn, that got me first involved with John Donnelly and the first dog we had was Jamiemac Jack. He was useful enough and John always has a dog or two for me here in Dublin.

I first became involved with Jim Morrissey when I bought Indesacjack. Imelda Phelan rang me up about him and he won the St Leger. It was tremendous to win the Leger on my local track.

My other Classic win was with Almightyjack, which I got from Liam Corbett. He won the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk. It's a great thrill to have dogs competing at the top level and to win a Classic or two was really special.

We have been lucky, I suppose, but we have had our bad luck as well and we still have our regrets about Timor Blue. Liam Corbett also got him for me after he had produced a fine run around his track.

He was favourite for the St Leger final at Limerick but ruptured ligaments and had to be carried off the track. That was a terrible blow.

I also bought Blasket Music from Liam and she has been a great servant and is really doing well in the breeding paddocks. Her litter to Head Bound is top-class and Jacks Top Gal gave us a great thrill last week when winning the Gain Feeds Christmas Oaks at Shelbourne.

It was extra special, because it is so much better to win something with a dog you bred yourself. We can go into the winter now dreaming of next year's Irish Oaks with Jacks Top Gal and her sister Champagne Jackie.

Also on the litter are Indigojack, which won a puppy stake at Clonmel, Metro Jack, Woe Katie and Jacksagem which broke a toe and we are hoping that he can come back. He was the fastest of the litter.

I also have dogs with Peter Cronin and have enjoyed plenty of success with him also, and we won the Tyrur McGuigan 575 with Whatsupjack.

I call all my dogs after our son Jack and he goes racing most nights with Carmel and me. We love the game and get great enjoyment out of it. But I must say a special word about the sponsors who are so supportive of the game and a big thank you is due to Gain, who sponsored the recent Oaks.

My one priority as an owner is the upkeep of tracks. It is a real blow to an owner when he or she loses a dog through injury. But, in fairness, most of our tracks are very well maintained and Shelbourne is very, very safe.

Like everybody in the game, winning the Derby is our dream and you could say that we are living the dream!

* Larry O'Shea is the proprietor of the Village Inn in Crumlin but he is also a leading greyhound owner who won the Gain Christmas Oaks with Jacks Top Gal at Shelbourne last weekend.

Irish Independent

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