We took Clares Rocket for his first look at a track since picking up his wrist injury when we gave him a handslip at Clonmel.

I strapped up the wrist, in fact both wrists, to give him every possible protection and he flew around, just as he had been doing on the gallop. After that though it didn’t all go quite to plan.

He is a bugger for not wanting to be caught, he was the same at Towcester last year, and although there were three of us and we were ready for him, he ducked and swerved between us and did another couple of circuits, though not at full speed.

Thankfully he came off in great order and I couldn’t be more pleased with him.


Rocket absolutely flies up the gallop but no better than Clonbrien Hero who was two spots inside the Limerick track record in a recent sprint trial.

It would have come as no surprise to anyone who has seen him at home. We have a two acre field, fully fenced and although he is quite a timid dog, put him in the field and he comes alive as he goes hunting for rabbits.

He had already trialled in 18.57 for the Shelbourne sprint on what I thought was a slow track but even I was pleasantly surprised by the Limerick run. The traps are different to Shelbourne and he slightly missed his break. His split time was decent but not amazing, but he was really travelling at the winning line.

The long term plan is the English Derby, I think he will love the Towcester bends but we will give him a spin at Shelbourne on Saturday before the Easter Cup where I also intend to enter Sonic, Drive On Tipp and Droopys Cabaye.

Before then we have the annual awards. I don’t know whether he has any chance of Track Greyhound of the Year, but if any dog can better three classics plus a win on the Night Of Stars, they must be very special.


We have five runners lined up for the Juvenile Classic. All have ability but some have more experience and are further forward than the others.

If I had to choose the most likely of them, it would probably be Slippy Cian. He was well schooled by his owners at Tralee, is in good condition and looks to be in a reasonable heat.

Newinn Blake really excites me and is very fast, though he might lack a bit of experience. Fingers crossed it goes to plan. Farenheit Daz has tremendous early pace and also knows his way around the track, but he has been off colour and will benefit from the run.

Ballycowen Jake has not had an ideal preparation but takes his chance based on ability. He had a stress fracture of the fibia and has been off colour but can only improve. Nice Charmer was 50-50 whether to run him but went well in trials. His issue would only be a lack of experience.

Incidentally, when I was qualifying them, I gave Newinn Blake a trial with our very popular open racer Ballinakill Clare. She recently had a litter of pups by Tyrur Big Mike. There were only three bitches in the litter, of which one had a cleft palate. So the litter didn’t take much out of her and I knew she was in pretty good shape. Sure enough she won her trial by two lengths in 28.57 (-10).


I have decided to enter a team for the Towcester v Shelbourne Park inter-track taking place in March

Towcester have generously offered to help with the travelling allowances and I will use the opportunity to bring over some of my Derby trialists for a first look at the track.

(I understand that in addition to the home/away intertracks, Towcester’s Mick Livesey and Shelbourne’s Patrick Flynn have agreed to stage trialstake for each other’s 2018 Derbys – Ed)