We all know that runners from the Jones kennel are never less than fed to the very best; if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be Classic winners and record-breakers.
If, as they say, it’s all about breeding and feeding, then the one Laurence Jones sent out to win the opening semi-final of the Stadium 400 at Dundalk last Saturday night is destined for the very top.
We all know that runners from the Jones kennel are never less than fed to the very best; if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be Classic winners and record-breakers among the many hundreds – no, make that thousands – that have emerged from the Corduff establishment almost as long as there’s been racing in this country.
As for breeding: well, there is hardly a greyhound in the country right now that has better lineage than Dear Oh Dear – perhaps, just perhaps, named with the price she cost in mind. Take a look at it, a Derby winner on one side and an Oaks winner on the other, both doing the business at Shelbourne Park in the decade just ended.
And to give them names: Laughil Blake and Forest Natalee, the latter winning the girls’ Classic for Meath trainer, Martin Lanney, soon after she’d been short-headed in one of the great Bar One Racing Irish Cup finals. And who should have won that thriller at the ’Hill? None other than Heisman, owned by Brian and Laurence Jones.
Maybe then Laurence Jones made up his mind: I’m going to put my name on one of her pups.
Your writer is not aware of how many Forest Natalee produced on her first visit to the breeding paddocks, but the line-ups for juvenile races here and across the water – the daughter of Ballymac Vic and Droopys Danneel was trained by Lanney for English licence-holder, Kevin Hutton – are going to be scanned over the coming weeks.
Trial times suggested Dear Oh Dear could be something special. She had two preliminaries, one at Dowdallshill and the other at Longford, and won neither by less than eight lengths. She had trap two on Saturday night, and was soon in front, taking a sizable lead to the opening corner, which she reached in a very smart 7.19.
If the 58-pounder’s winning time of 21.95 did not match her initial burst, it was almost certainly due to the track’s overall heavy condition after a day of near incessant rain. The winning margin was almost 10 lengths.
The other semi-finals were won in 22.27 and 22.30, both going to litter-comrades, Nicebrindle Lady and Nice White Paws, owned by the Clogherhead-based Michael Webb and Tommy Webb, the former a one-time Mayo goalkeeper.
There should be a huge interest in Dear Oh Dear’s performance in Saturday night’s semi-final, but, sadly, it’s not the same as it used be at the old track on The Ramparts. When one like this came along in years gone by, the place would be buzzing in anticipation. Some marketing, with an emphasis on the greyhounds, is perhaps called for.
There were other local successes on Saturday night’s card. Kenneth Finnegan’s Lordship challenger, Gerards Dream, was always in front, winning comfortably over the 400 – and in the concluding 525, John Lynch, the Haggardstown man best known for his work in the GAA field over a long number years, was there to see his Lady Lewis gain compensation for a few recent near misses. The John Downey-trained bitch put in a storming finish to win by three-and-a-half lengths in 29.48 on a track conservatively estimated at 40 slow.
The semi-finals of another of those novice stakes which are regularly featuring on cards nowadays was run over the 525 on Friday night, and in the second of them, Dryland Tiger made a promising debut, coming late to win by a half-length from Colm Farrelly’s Lavender Fields for Rockmarshal’s Declan Byrne and his Wexford-based dad, John.