“I can’t speak for any one else, but as far as we are concerned, the breeding game has certainly turned around in the last year.”

Michael Dunphy, co-founder with brother Sean of the world famous ‘Droopys’ Kennel in Portlaw – admits to struggling to cope with demand as the greyhound shortage begins to bite.

Irish breeding has fallen by 25% in six years and combined with the increased demands caused by the media rights battle, the demand for greyhounds is unprecedented and prices are rising.

Michael said: “Business is certainly up on the last three or four years. We have actually cut back on breeding a bit in the last year, purely for personal reasons. We were working non-stop seven days a week and just couldn’t cope. There might be a few less litters but we are trying to concentrate on the better class brood bitches.”

Apart from being Ireland’s biggest greyhound breeders, the kennel houses one of Ireland’s strongest stud dog strengths.  One of the new arrivals, Azza Azza Azza, sired his first British open winner at Sheffield on Tuesday night with Barrie Draper’s Droopys Albert landing a puppy open in the fastest time of the night – 28.80 for 500m.

The September ’16 whelp is from the Australian import’s first litter out of Droopys Start, whose previous offspring include Billys Bullet, Touch Tackle and Droopys Roddick.

The kennel’s Laughil Blake is probably Ireland’s busiest young sire, with Droopys Jet, Droopys Nidge, Droopys Ruddick, Droopys Cain and Laughil Duke also in high demand.