Dog chat: Relief as HQ gets back to business
A collective sigh of relief greeted the news that racing is set to resume at Shelbourne Park on Thursday night following the most prolonged interruption of racing at the stadium since the Foot and Mouth shutdown.
The majority of racing at Shelbourne Park has been lost since the end of November due to the two periods of Arctic weather and then the bursting of pipes caused by the thaw, which resulted in considerable damage to the grandstand on all three floors and forced the closure of the facilities on health and safety grounds.
A final decision on Thursday's meeting is due this morning but the indications are that it will go ahead with an all-final 12-race card that was postponed before Christmas.
The Tyrur Open 575 was due to start on Saturday night but this is not possible now due to the lengthy closure and the fact that many intended runners would be out of their time. Instead, the first-round heats will be run on Saturday week, January 22.
Saturday's card will be an all-graded programme but there will be trials held at the track today (10-12.30) and Thursday (4.30-5.30) to allow owners and trainers to re-qualify their charges.
Other tracks also hope to stage their meetings postponed from last weekend over the next week. Sunday's important meeting at Clonmel, which included the heats of the Open Unraced Stake, will be run tomorrow night.
The Thurles card postponed from Saturday will be run next Friday, while the Tipperary venue will also stage their sales on Saturday and racing again that night. Last night's Longford meeting was called off due to frost but will stage trials today and tomorrow.
Finally, there is news from Limerick of a smashing new competition to be run in the early season. The Roche's Feeds Limerick Oaks will have a total prize fund of €15,000, of which the winner will receive €6,000.
The 72-bitch event will start on February 26, with the final set for March 26.