Gone to the dogs

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Only two Offaly winners, in what was a quiet week for racing in Ireland. Both winners on Saturday and both in sweepstake finals, with Margaret Bolton winning an A4 final in Shelbourne park, as Confident Ash had a one length victory in 29.28 at 3/1. This was Confident Ash's seventh career win while lifting the €800 first prize.

Ballycommon owner Peter Raine had our only other winner of the week when Weather Brown won the final of an A5 sweepstake in Mullingar in 30.09 (80 slow) at a well supported 5/2, winning by five lengths, and a first prize purse of €550. Highlights of the year 2017

Francis Murray was leading trainer in Longford on 35 winners, while in Mullingar Frank Seery recorded 29 wins, and in Newbridge Jerry Melia finished top of the ranking on 20 wins. The trainer with the most wins nationwide was Graham Holland on 167 wins. The Offaly dog with the most wins in any of our tracks for the year was Ninnys Mazda, recording 13 wins in Mullingar and one in Shelbourne for Tullamore owner Niall Deegan.  Other Offaly winners of note, the legend  that is Paddy McCormack had 28 wins for the year, Horseleap owner Sean McGuinness had 16, however, both were surpassed by Croghan Hill trainer Gerry Merriman who ended the year on an impressive 71 wins, Tommy Bolton had 65 wins before handing over his licence to his daughter Margaret who then recorded 23 wins in a short space of time. Kilcormac owner Mary Jennings had 24 wins, with Ballinagar owners Iggy and Geraldine Daly finishing 2017 on 22 wins. Peter Raine ended the year  on 16 wins while Mountmellick owner Marcella Campbell finished  the year with an exceptional 68 wins.

There were numerous other winners from the midlands all over the country proving that the Offaly greyhound owners, breeders and trainers can hold their heads high in any greyhound company.

The Tribune greyhound of the year is derby winner Good News. His joint owner Pat Guilfoyle  was principal in Rhode national school for a while, and a great day was had last September when Good News was paraded in Rhode, for all the local kids to enjoy,  after lifting the €150k first prize, Ireland's richest race.

2017 will probably be best remembered as the greyhound industry most turbulent years, making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, dogs being kidnapped, failed drug tests, massive debts in the greyhound board, leaving it with no choice but to sell off  one of its most iconic tracks in Harold's Cross. However, there seems to be a new wave of optimism now as we start the 2018 season, and let's hope we make the news for all the right reasons, running our industry in a clean and transparent way where families can go and enjoy a great night's fun that won't cost a fortune.


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