Update: Racing will return to Cork greyhound tracks from Monday week

Update: Racing will return to Cork greyhound tracks from Monday week
Greyhound racing action from Curraheen track in Cork. Training resumes at the track from Monday. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

GREYHOUND racing returns from next Monday after the government updated the roadmap out of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Greyhound racing was given the green light to return on June 15 behind closed doors, with trainers and dogs allowed begin preparations for the races from this Monday, at Curraheen Park, and the following day, in Youghal.

A statement from the Irish Greyhound Board said: 

"The IGB today welcomed the decision of the government to permit greyhound racing behind closed doors as part of the second phase of the Roadmap for Re-opening Society and Business. The IGB has arranged for a comprehensive schedule of greyhound trials to commence on Monday at all 14 greyhound tracks with the intention of returning to racing behind closed doors early in the week commencing June 15.

Classic winning trainer from Blarney, Johnny Linehan is excited about greyhound racing returning. 

"We are really looking forward to starting again. We have been galloping away and I've trials booked for Monday and Wednesday. We will also have a lot for unrecorded trials the following week. 

"There are some nice dogs, the likes of Broadstrand Bono, who will hopefully be our Derby dog this year, then we have Droopys Hamish, Pacemaker Ted and Runninta Seeya. Unraced Pellegrino is another to watch out for."

Linehan was also keen to point out that the standard of racing at Curraheen Park on a Saturday needs to improve urgently. 

Leading trainers at the Cork track have been voicing their concern for quite some time.

Linehan commented: "The standard of racing needs to improve right away. It's no good for me, my co-trainers, owners, patrons and punters. We have a state-of-the-art facility at Curraheen Park and the standard of racing on a Saturday night is way short of what is expected. 

"We need to get the place rocking again and good racing is very important. The SIS racing in Cork is doing fierce damage, if it's to continue we either need three nights racing or get rid of the SIS racing and race two nights."

Richard O'Regan making a presentation to Kieran Ryan following the Blarney Racing Syndicate-owned Droopys Tulip's win in the 525 Unraced Final last year. Included are Brian Collins, Eoin Holland, John Linehan, trainer, Michael Walsh and Michael O'Leary. Picture: Mike English
Richard O'Regan making a presentation to Kieran Ryan following the Blarney Racing Syndicate-owned Droopys Tulip's win in the 525 Unraced Final last year. Included are Brian Collins, Eoin Holland, John Linehan, trainer, Michael Walsh and Michael O'Leary. Picture: Mike English

Racing has been suspended in Ireland due to Covid-19 since the fixtures at Shelbourne Park and Tralee on March 24.

The trialling activity will resume under strict Covid-19 precautionary measures. All Official Trials are strictly by appointment only and there will be no exceptions. 

Raced greyhounds may re-qualify for racing with a sprint trial, however, the minimum requirement for SIS greyhound racing is at least one trial around the 525-yard distance.

In other news, the IGB (Irish Greyhound Board) announced that they plan to run all 2020 classic events, where possible. 

"Discussions will continue with relevant sponsors in that regard. In the event that a sponsor for understandable reasons is not in a position to commit to the event, the Board undertakes to run the event either with an alternative sponsor or with a reduction in the prize money pot."

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