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Suzie's Select success was the thrill of a lifetime

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Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

It started with my grandfather Martin here in Wexford and my father Brendan is still involved and we gallop the dogs together.

I have only a very small kennels with room for two greyhounds and they are normally graders. It was pure luck that I got Southest Suzie.

I always liked Hondo Black as a sire and I saw these pups out of a Droopys bitch advertised by Patsy Sutton in Ross. I got a dog and bitch pretty cheaply, they were nine months old at the time.

The dog was average and we sold him to the UK. The bitch started slowly enough. I was at the track one night and a man looked at her and said that she would only be a real dog when she got to three years old.

He was dead right. She improved from A4 very slowly through the grades. She only comes into season once a year and what I have noticed is that when she returns from each season she gets better on the track.

She started to improve this time last year. She was beaten in the Select Stakes first round but won an A2 on final night in 28.51. She then won at Shelbourne in 28.72 and beat Metro Jack in 28.90.

She then ran through her season but we gave her six weeks off and she was fourth in the Munster Oaks and was then third in the Newbridge Oaks. We put her in the Gain Select Stakes where she won the first round, was second in the semi and won the €13,000 final last weekend. It was the highlight of my career, a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.

We have entered her for the Night of Stars and we will then give her a couple of months off. The plan would be the Oaks at Thurles, Cork and maybe Limerick as she is due in season in May or June and we are going to breed her. I would love to bring her to Laughil Blake.

How did we come up with the name Southest? To be honest, I made a mistake when naming a dog Southeast but it was lucky.

The best I had before Suzie was Southest Lazey. She won over every distance from 525 to 750; a pup from her litter to Razldazl George, Southest Tsunami ran well when second on his debut at Enniscorthy on Monday.

We gallop the dogs on Shanks Whelan's gallops with help from my father and a friend, Joe Devlin.

Susan and I had a baby girl, Daisy, 12 weeks ago and hopefully she'll be able to help out in the future.

I would like to see a new grading system. With the current rating system pups can go up three or four grades at a time. It should be a more gradual system for pups in particular.

As for my ambition, I would love to have regular winners and to become a trainer with proper kennels and facilities.

Wexford's Dan Frayne gained his biggest success when Southest Suzie won the Gain Feeds Select Stakes at Waterford last Saturday

Irish Independent