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Veyron's success story could be written in the stars

I couldn't make it to Clonmel on Sunday as I was already booked for a gig elsewhere but when I heard that Jumeirah Veyron had won I was absolutely delighted.

There is something really special about greyhounds. I grew up with dogs down in Doon, where my father Mike always had a kennel of greyhounds, and I remember travelling to the tracks and the coursing meetings with my father and Nom Ryan, who was a great old character. I'd be in the back of the van with the dogs and the two boys would be in the front.

Music is my livelihood but dogs are my hobby and I love getting up the morning after an engagement and going out and spending time with the greyhounds. I get great fun out of that.

I used to have dogs with my brother Pat but now I am trying to do them myself down in Athenry, where we have a few kennels, a few runs and the use of a gallop.

I have two great friends who help me out – Stevie Farrell, an old pal from the music world, and Davy Lavelle. Davy is terrific and is hugely interested in the greyhounds.

We are doing our best and we are learning all the time. Tony Collins looks after them regularly also and between us all we try to keep them right.

In music I have long realised that you can learn something from everybody. If I see something good in a show, I might try to incorporate something like that into my own act. It's the same with the dogs.

Jumeirah Veyron has been great for us. I bought a coursing bitch but had nothing to rear with her. So Dad said to take two pups in his yard and bring them up with me. That's where he came from and he is a lovely greyhound with a brilliant temperament.

He has good early pace and his second time to traps he did 29.88 in Galway. Then he got a bad kennel cough and was two months on the bench.

Then I brought a bitch to a stud dog and when I brought her back she brought the cough with her.

I couldn't believe it when Veyron got it again. Then we had to take his tonsils out and between everything he was out for another three to four months.

He has always shown potential. We ran him in an A2 at Shelbourne but he didn't impress. While there is not a whole lot done with him, he is thriving. For such a small kennel it is great to be in the Produce Stakes semi-final.

I can't be there on Sunday either as I am booked for the Four Seasons in Monaghan but then I have 10 days off and so if we qualify for the final I'll be there. I blocked those days off some time ago and, who knows, maybe it's written in the stars!

Irish Independent