PROMOTERS here take note that “recognising the increased costs of travel...” the Irish Greyhound Board, following on from major increases in prizemoney at the top end, Dublin track Harolds Cross will from next Friday be offering increased prizemoney.

The rises will focus on open races, A1 and A2 events with winners in these spheres getting a boost from 250 euros up to 400 thank you very much but equally good news is that seconds and thirds will also benefit with runner-ups now receiving 100 euros (up from 70) and thirds 50 euros (up from 30).

Rewarding the also-ran prizemoney is what trainers are pressing for here and while we are waiting for the powers that be to address the matter positively Irish owners and trainers will be both grateful and relieved that their difficulties have been recognised and acted upon.

Prizemoney for all other races at the Cross will remain at the current level and while some would quibble that only the higher class dogs will be in receipt of the boost it is a move in the right direction by the Board and one which will go down well with Irish owners and trainers.

Now just wait for owners and trainers of dogs at the lower end of the Harolds Cross scale to ask for similar increases, betcha a euro to a cent they will!

 
 
AFTER a slow pick up Galway now look certain to stage their Betfair 600 Trial Stakes this Friday, having at one stage being “badly stuck” for runners said racing manager Ollie Hester.

“I was looking for all six runners earlier in the week but now I’m confident the race will fill,” said Hester, who freely admits that his track is constantly in competition with state of the art Limerick a few miles down the road from Galway.

“Limerick is a higher end track and understandably attracts the top dogs but I’m both pleased and relieved that our race will go ahead,” added the RM

The winner will qualify for entry into the Betfair 600 proper at Shelbourne next month and it is a race steeped in tradition, greyhound historians amongst you will recall the event under its previous title, the Guinness 600 and Ladbrokes 600.

Other trial stakes for the event have been/are at Cork, Tralee and Limerick while the winner of the Cesarewitch at Mullingar will also qualify automatically.

 
 
THE turnstiles at Irish tracks will be open for the first time ever on a Good Friday when four stadia, Harolds Cross, Cork, Galway and Limerick, will all stage evening meetings on April 6.

There has never before been greyhound or horseracing on a Good Friday across the pond and the meetings planned are geographically and strategically placed across the Irish map, no doubt for a nationwide popular or not feedback for the Irish Greyhound Board to consider.

All four tracks will post the gates open sign at 6.30pm with all staging 10-race cards and, collectively again, last orders will be called at 11pm, if not five minutes or so before!

There has never before been greyhound or horseracing on a Good Friday across the pond and the meetings planned are geographically and strategically placed across the Irish map, no doubt for a nationwide popular or not feedback for the Irish Greyhound Board to consider.

All four tracks will post the gates open sign at 6.30pm with all staging 10-race cards and, collectively again, last orders will be called at 11pm, if not five minutes or so before!

 
 
WATCHING Sky on Friday night last week led us to the unmistaken belief that the going for the following night’s racing at Galway’s Sports Ground venue looked sure to be on the holding side.

No, it wasn’t greyhound racing on show but the Heineken Cup rugby match between Connacht and  Harlequins, who went home with tail between the legs, even though they went down a by a mere one point.

Weather conditions were atrocious and hardly conducive to good rugby with the wind blowing a gale and the accompanying monsoon making ball handling nigh on impossible.

Needless to say it was a quagmire and the only good to come of it was that the track ground staff had absolutely no need to water for the meeting 24 hours later, coals to Newcastle and all that!

 
 
Former Holland runner shines at Hove...

SOME say that the former Graham Holland trained Cracking Man is a forgotten dog these days and, admittedly, his latest form in Ireland has been some way below what we have been accustomed to, it has waned somewhat in recent months.

Winner of the Macroom Motor Service Stakes final at Cork last June and a host of other races across the pond, he is now based this side of the Irish sea at the Keston kennels in Kent of Seamus Cahill and, judging by his first spin for his new trainer at Hove this week, chances are the old form is on the way back.

Running a 285 solo Cracking Man zipped round in 16.04sec. (and take off five spots for the going) and that time was 35 spots quicker on the day than the next best of 16.39sec. by Sleeping Urban, who is no slouch exactly. 
 
 
THEY are feeling the pinch in Ireland, perhaps not quite so much as in Britain, but no racing of any description across the pond tonight more than suggests that not everything is as rosy as it once was.

If you were planning a visit to Kilkenny or Shelbourne this evening then forget it, both tracks have dropped the meetings and in fact neither will stage a Wednesday card throughout the month of January.

That Shelbourne Park, the home of Irish greyhound racing and sitting there in the heart of the Irish capital, have cancelled these midweek meetings in January is symptomatic of the malaise that pervades the sport just now and the folk down in Kilkenny will hardly welcome dog-less Wednesdays either.

 
 
BAD news for racegoers but good news for owners and trainers of lesser lights is that Milldean Panther will NOT run in the Comerford Cakes National Puppy Stakes due to start in Dublin next Thursday after all.

Panther was the first entry in the book for the 20,000 euros to the winner Comerford but there have scarcely been any other pups put forward and, at close of business on Wednesday evening, his was the only name in the book.

Yesterday the entries were coming in dribs and drabs but the non-appearance of the Panther will likely see the trickle turn into a flood!

 
 
Another demolition job at Shelbourne....

WE are running out of superlatives in attempting to describe the performances of wonder pup Milldean Panther and even our trusted thesaurus is also beginning to run dry!

In a word, John O’Flynn’s dog was nothing short of brilliant when he returned to Shelbourne last night for the final of the Razldazl George Open 525 having broken Premier Fantasy’s time-tested record set more than seven years ago in his heat last weekend with a 28.00sec. clock.

Last night, however, he could manage only a 28.08sec. (Premier Fantasy’s old figures) when running amok once more. Soon in front, the further they went the further the Panther went clear, eventually running home more than seven lengths ahead of Hillcroft Joe.

 
 
ANOTHER record run from Milldean Panther at Shelbourne tonight? Seems improbable doesn’t it, but, then again, on the evidence so far who knows what the super pup is capable of as he bids to extend his unbeaten record to ten in the Razldazl George Open 525 final.

Amid rumours of unprecedented offers made for the dog, the Panther will be blissfully unaware of all the hype as he goes to traps at about 9.45 tonight. He is drawn in red and some might say that will do thank you, but does it really matter whatever the pitch?

He has fine early speed while his back-straight pace is little short of phenomenal and the Irish board for one will quietly be praying he keeps the record intact, he is potentially the hottest property the greyhound world has seen in yonks, generating all the publicity that goes with it.

 
 
English runners dominate in Dublin... 

SHEFFIELD is hardly famed for its hurdling strength in depth but local trainer Lisa Stephenson did her bit to put the Yorkshire track on the jumping map when sending out Olivers Twist to win last night’s Irish Grand National final over 525 yards and four flights at Harolds Cross.

And there was nothing flukey about the victory, Olivers Twist broke quickly, jumped fluently and led all the way in beating the Dolores Ruth-trained favourite, Barran Bally Hi who, forgive the pun, was twisted slightly at the first bend.