Dog chat: Wipeout as frost proves a real spoilsport
The weather is proving to be a major party pooper for all sports in this country, but greyhound racing is suffering more than most.
All of the meetings scheduled for last night had to be called off following early morning inspections, while Tralee has been closed for all trials and racing for the rest of the week. In addition, the Thursday and Friday meetings at Curraheen Park in Cork have already been called off.
A noon inspection will decide if the meeting scheduled for Harold's Cross tonight can proceed. Racing manager Billy Bell said that the three finals and the heats of the A3 570 scheduled for last night will now be staged on Friday, while the remaining four races from last night's card will be run next Monday.
The forecast doesn't provide much cause for optimism either, though Shelbourne racing manager Declan Carey is hoping that they might race tomorrow, saying, "our card is in place but there is still frost in the ground and we will be inspecting the track on Wednesday morning."
Trainers and owners are experiencing big problems in keeping their dogs in peak form. The first round of the John J Casey Open 575 had to be called off on Saturday and it is now planned to run that competition next Saturday. But keeping these open racers galloped and ticking over properly is proving quite a task.
Another major stake ready to commence is the IGB Open Unraced at Clonmel and the first round is scheduled to be run next Sunday.
Any further delays will cause problems for Eddie Anderson and his team as the final of the Unraced is traditionally the feature event of the National Meeting and is due to be run on February 2.
Anderson reports that he has the required 48 entries and he will be making the draw today. However there is a complication in that some pups, which are already qualified for racing, will be out of their time by Sunday.
Their handlers have been unable to give them the planned trials in the past few weeks due to the weather. This is surely a case where the 42-day rule could be waived due to the freak conditions.
Anderson, incidentally, reports that most of his other Festival sweepstakes are filling nicely but, like everybody else in the game, he could do with a change in the weather.