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Calne Racing Arc - Swindon 480m - £8,000

THE saying “It’s an ill wind that blows no good” was one of the first things that sprung to mind after Garryvoe Bobby crossed the line to become the first Irish-trained greyhound to land the Calne Racing Arc at Swindon on Wednesday.

But for the current impasse between the Irish Greyhound Board and the Dublin Greyhound Owners’ and Breeders’ Association, which has brought about the suspension of racing in the Irish capital since late January, it is odds-on the dog would never have been in the Category One competition.

Garryvoe Bobby was contesting the Best Car Parks Gold Cup at Shelbourne Park when the dispute began and to keep the June ’14 son of Knockglass Billy active Graham Holland, his County Tipperary-based trainer, decided on a tilt at the £8,000-to-the-winner feature.

It was an inspired move as Garryvoe Bobby ran unbeaten through the 480-metre competition and finished off with a sizzling performance from a good trap one draw in the final.

The dog owned by Cork-based Pat Maloney returned the 11-10 favourite and, after deploying a fine turn of pace to the first bend, he didn’t give his supporters an anxious moment as he converted a first lead into a near four lengths victory in 28.35sec (0.10sec fast).

The runner-up Black Zack proved his big-price semi-final win was no fluke with another impressive effort. The Richard Rees-trained dog battled on gamely and he is clearly finding his best form since joining his Hove-based trainer last Autumn.

Oscar Whisky, last year’s All England Cup winner, was quietly fancied and broke well. But he was held up on his journey to the first band and was relegated to last around the first and second turns.

Under the circumstances, the Charlie Lister-trained Oscar Whisky ran on well to finish third and is clearly rediscovering the form that made him one of the leading middle distance dogs in 2016.

Barricane Tiger, the Sussex Cup winner last year, broke well from trap five but appeared to be denied a clear passage around the first and second bends and was pretty much a bit part player thereafter.

Dorotas Del Mar, a half-brother of Oscar Whisky on the Droopys Danneel dam-line, was fifth after first bend crowding, three parts of a lengths ahead of Savana Donie, who was also embroiled in a bit of bother.


Graham Holland (trainer of Garryvoe Bobby) said: “Nicky (his wife) has done a tremendous job coming over here for the preliminary rounds. It also helps that he is a great dog to travel. I’ve just come over for the glory! It’s a nice to come back. I used to train dogs here some years ago, and it is great to win. He has got used to the track as the competition has gone on and he is now running the track well. The trap draw in the final (one) helped. He didn’t break that well but made the bend in front and that is what it is all about in finals. There were five very good dogs in the final, so it was important he hit the front. He’s running well and will most probably go to the Derby next.”