We’ve had an indifferent few weeks. The English Derby dogs developed the cough. Our Oaks finalist came into season the weeks of the final and ran below form as expected. Then we had some bad draws in the Produce Stakes (T2 Nicer Charmer) (Blue East T5). With middle runners on the rail and Blue East on the outside, he was guaranteed to give the six a clear run though Charmer ran well to finish second.
On the plus side, Clonbrien Hero was quite lucky in the Race Of Champions draw at Tralee. I would normally seed him wide but was worried that he wouldn’t get across. He is genuinely a middle runner and thankfully drew two in the final with two good dogs either side of him, though neither are the fastest breakers. Also, I think the Droopys Ant, who is a cracking bitch, was put off by a dog going mad making a lot of noise in the traps next to her.
Trap draws are just one of those things though the cough has hit us quite badly, particularly with the younger dogs.
The next event is the Laurels where Clonbrien Hero will attempt to defend his crown. I understand that there is a small local owners group who are protesting against him running.
I am very unhappy about the situation but am not able to talk about it beyond saying we have a judicial review due in court on July 28.
We have cut down on pups in the last year. We have five runs but only 14 pups in them. It isn’t the rearing that is the problem, it’s the schooling which I like to do myself.
You have a lot of young dogs in the kennel at the same time and out of 30, you can only hope to have three or four really good ones. They then have to be moved on. So we will be concentrating more on the racing dogs going forward, and thankfully we have a full kennel.
On the subject of pups, the seven which we have out of Ballydoyle Honey are progressing nicely. They have all qualified at Clonmel second time out of the boxes. But I am being very patient with them at the moment and it will be a while before we know whether they have any ability.
On that subject, keep an eye open for Rural Vic who won a heats of the Jaytee Jet At Stud Unraced at Shelbourne Park on Thursday. He is an August puppy by Ballymac Vic out of Rural Maui, who is Rural Hawaii’s litter sister. Vic is owned by Helen and Michael O’Dwyer and I think they have a good one there
Clares Rocket has settled in really well at home. He was a bit manic when he first came in the house but he is gradually chilling out.
He has actually brought out the best in Garryvoe Bobby, who was a bit of an idle lump who has found a new lease of life now he has a best mate. They go everywhere together and I think they’ve been good for each other.
Bobby is still ‘my mate’. I can’t walk around the house without him. He even sits outside the shower waiting for me.
On the subject of characters, we’ve got a right one in Lenson Blinder. He is a lovely dog but so stubborn he is driving us mad. He is happy enough to fly up the gallop but has to be dragged every step of the way back. When he goes to the track, he simply refuses to parade. He is not nervous or phased in any way – just pig-headed.
It has been suggested by some that it happened as soon as we christened him ‘Lenny’. In the words of Sir Humphrey in ‘Yes Minister’ – I couldn’t possibly comment.
I am waiting to hear who will be appointed as the new Chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board because whoever gets it has a massive job on their hands.
There is great disillusionment among the grass roots about the route that the Board is going. They seem determined to follow the UK way with lots of rules and regulations and I can only see that sickening people.
In England, BAGS racing is a business and people earn their living from it. In Ireland, it is largely done for fun with no need for extra regulation. Only recently they introduced a rule that anybody handling the dogs has to be licensed. Why? What possible purpose is it.
It has always been the Irish way that if someone couldn’t get to the track, his neighbour could take the dogs in. Last week, the son of the owner of a dog was refused entry until he filled in a form.
From a personal perspective, I was quite irritated by the new rule that says that greyhounds trialling before racing at Shelbourne had to be kennelled up far earlier than the race dogs. So I would have to be at the track with my trial dogs at 5.30, but then leave my racedogs on the van until 7pm.
Firstly, is that good welfare? Secondly, what is achieved by it?
I came to Ireland to leave all this red-tape rubbish behind.