Greyhound trainers delighted to get back on the track at Curraheen and Youghal

Greyhound trainers delighted to get back on the track at Curraheen and Youghal
A greyhound during their trials at Shelbourne Park ahead of racing returning on June 15. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

GREYHOUND action was back last Monday. Trials returned at several tracks around the country.

Curraheen Park was the first Cork track to resume. A number of high-profile trainers attended there.

“It was great to get back trialling last Monday. I have to say, everything was top-class at Curraheen Park,” said Classic-winning trainer, Kieran Lynch. 

“I had 12 dogs there and I was so impressed. I didn’t have to come in close contact with anyone and huge credit must go to the lads at the track. This whole social distancing is very important and everything needs to be done right.”

“The whole Covid-19 situation has been very tough. When you have a kennel full of dogs and they can’t race, that brings plenty of pressure. Personally, I found it very difficult not doing the things I usually do; mentally, it has been extremely hard. You can’t beat heading off to a greyhound track and meeting all the great characters we have,” he said.

Coonough Dasher (1), owned by Aoife Burke, Rochestown and trained by Kieran Lynch, winning ahead of Three Reds (3) and Cronody Mike (4), last summer. Picture: Mike English
Coonough Dasher (1), owned by Aoife Burke, Rochestown and trained by Kieran Lynch, winning ahead of Three Reds (3) and Cronody Mike (4), last summer. Picture: Mike English

During the lockdown, Lynch took to Twitter to announce that Rockybay Foley had mated Killmacdonagh. He said: “It’s exciting. Killmacdonoagh looks to be in pup and we can’t wait. We miss Rockybay Foley, especially the small lads at home. He’s above with Sean Bourke and is doing very well.”

“I missed it a lot. It’s just great to be back and I think it’s a great opportunity for the tracks to take advantage of the restaurants. It has been tough on everyone, especially the older people. I think of the likes of Finbarr Twomey: As long as I have been going to the track, he has been there. He must be missing it mad and I hope he will be back soon,” Lynch added.

Kieran Lynch has enjoyed plenty of big-race success in recent years and the Tracton man is excited about racing returning.

“We have a lot of young pups and a few of them look really good. Two in particular, but we won’t name them, as they are still well-graded; they could even be Laurels dogs. We are very lucky, here in Cork; the lads done fantastic work last year and it’s great to have sponsorship for the Laurels, for the next few years,” Lynch said. “Most of my dogs will get sprint races starting off. They’re not ready for the 525 yards yet and the sprint race will sharpen them up.”

In recent weeks, trainers Denis Fitzgerald and Johnny Linehan have voiced their concern about the standard of racing at Curraheen Park on a Saturday night.

“I saw Johnny’s piece and he is spot on. The cards on a Saturday night are disappointing. It’s wrong that Cork trainers have to go to Dublin. We know Shelbourne Park is the number-one greyhound stadium, but Cork is every bit as good,” Lynch said.

“We need good, 12-dog sweepstakes. We must drive the track on. It must get better.”

Daniel O'Shea, Dungourney, pictured with John Curtin, Castlemartyr and Sean O'Sullivan from Youghal at the Youghal Greyhound track before Covid 19 brought the sport to a halt. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Daniel O'Shea, Dungourney, pictured with John Curtin, Castlemartyr and Sean O'Sullivan from Youghal at the Youghal Greyhound track before Covid 19 brought the sport to a halt. Picture: Howard Crowdy

I’ve expressed this on numerous occasions: We need better racing on a Saturday night. Everyone needs it: Owners, trainers, patrons, and punters.

Curraheen Park is a superb facility and we need to make the most of it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an attraction for a punter on a Saturday night. There is no value in the ring on a Saturday night, but if the racing improved, I’m sure that would as well. A lot of punters have packed up betting at Curraheen Park. It’s time something is done. Hopefully, the track might get a third meeting and the word on the street is that a Sunday meeting could be on the cards.

Sunday carvery at Curraheen Park sounds good to me!

In other news, this week’s trials at both Curraheen Park and Youghal are as follows: Curraheen Park — Tuesday, recorded trials, 2pm-7pm, must be pre-booked; Wednesday, unrecorded trials, 11pm-7 pm, must be pre-booked; Friday, unrecorded trials, 8.15pm-2 pm, must be pre-booked.

Youghal — Tuesday, unofficial, 10am-12pm and 4pm-8 pm, must be pre-booked; Saturday, unofficial 9am-12.15pm, must be pre-booked, official; Thursday, 4pm-7pm.

As previously advised by the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB), greyhounds that are in receipt of the Covid-19 care payment (ie, those greyhounds that trialled or raced at an IGB-licensed stadium between February 11, 2020 and March 24, 2020) will be granted an official sprint/525 trial free of charge.

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