Dog Chat: Hawk defies injury to get off the mark for Byrne
There was a fairytale ending to the Red Mills Produce Stakes at Clonmel on Sunday when Whiteys Hawk had the first victory of his career in winning the €24,500 prize -- but the story had a sting in the tail as the dog aggravated a wrist injury in the race.
Trained in Carrick-on-Suir by Declan Byrne for David and Catherine Tuohy from Kill in Waterford, Whiteys Hawk became the first dog to enter the Produce Stakes as an unraced pup and to go on to win the race.
Whiteys Hawk hadn't won a heat up to the final, but he flew the traps when it mattered and stormed to a length-and-a-half victory over Uncle Eoin in 28.38 -- the fastest time ever recorded in the Classic final.
However Byrne, who was scoring the most significant victory of his racing career, reported yesterday the dog had a wrist problem since the first round and was treated after every round.
"At the pick-up, he was as lame as a duck," said Byrne. "We will give him plenty of time and if he is okay we will go for the Irish Derby with him -- if not the Irish Laurels would be the obvious target and Curraheen Park should be ideal for him."
This week will be all about semi-finals, with a number of high-profile competitions at the penultimate stage. At Shelbourne, the semis of the Hegarty 600, the Larry Dunne 525 and the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks will be decided on Saturday.
The same night at Curraheen Park the semis of the Barry's Tea Open 750 will be run. On Friday night, the two semi-finals of the Broadway Pet Foods McCalmont Cup will be on the menu.
The big one will be the Hegarty 600 and here Kingo has emerged as the clear favourite to take the €20,000 prize.
The Dolores Ruth-trained dog has taken well to the 600-yard trip at Shelbourne and his 32.33 run last Saturday was the seventh fastest run of all time -- and the best since College Causeway's 32.29 three years ago.
However, he faces a tricky draw in the second heat this weekend, where he will be opposed by fellow second-round winners Tyrur Domingo and Skywalker Cindy.