We are still six weeks away from the start of the English Derby – which is a long time in greyhound racing – so we still haven’t finalised our Derby team.

At this stage we’d have Clonbrien Hero, Drive On Tipp and Clares Rocket, though there are several younger dogs who could still force their way into taking part.

We had a setback with Clares Rocket who picked up a groin strain on the gallop and a month ago, I would have been quite pessimistic about him taking part. But he has galloped well a couple of times this week and come off sound. The wrist seems perfect so the extra month might have done him some good

I don’t plan to trial him until we come over to Towcester for some trialstakes and I will give him a sprint and take it from there. I am not planning to reside in England for the Derby this year. We were made very welcome by Nick (Savva) last year, but I like to operate from our own premises and with own facilities.

Apart from the gallop, there are a number of schooling tracks where you can turn up and give a dog a sprint without needing to book it and it just suits me better.


We have a dozen entered for the Con Kirby Stake at Limerick though we have been quite unlucky in the draws with a couple of heats with three runners in each.

With so many lightly raced pups among then Slippy Cian would have to be our leading fancy on all known form. He ran exceptionally well at Tralee to be beaten in a photo finish in the Juvenile Classic Final. It was on the nod, and with no photo finish, the judge’s decision was final, but I have no complaint at the outcome.

I think Cian will be better suited to the bigger circuit at Limerick. Of the others, there are several with potential. Keep an eye on Blue East. He ran very well in the heats of a stake at Shelbourne Park and was unlucky in the final.


I am still smarting over being fined £600 over the Ballyvoe Bobby positive for Buscopan in the English Derby last year.

There are various reasons that I am angry. In the first instance, the substance would not affect his performance but was given solely for welfare reasons. It was taken on advice that it would help the dog pass water, a problem that plagued him his whole life.

The dog was trapped up and in pain. So what do I do? I could catheterise him – or technically I couldn’t – because that would have to be carried out by a vet and I would breach of rules. Even if I had a vet permanently in the kennel, no matter how fastidious you are, there is always a chance of a urine infection.

The other option would have been for him to have never raced and keep him permanently on Buscopan. But racing or not, he will have the problem throughout his life.

But what irritates just as much was being fined for giving a d0g a substance ‘within seven days of a trial or race’. I absolutely 100% did not. It was eight days before the race – guaranteed. The stewards didn’t believe me and took scientific advice that is not accurate enough to tell the difference.

I am not the first to be found guilty on flawed evidence and I won’t be the last.