Mermaid has potential
The new season kicked into action on Thursday, and the honour of winning the first race of the year went to Kevin O'Gorman's Ballycowen Ann who came from behind to score in 29.33.
Seamus 'Shanks' Whelan also got off to a flying start, recording the first double of the year when his Piercestown Leaf and Moll scored good wins, both coming from off the pace to score.
The run of the night went to Mamas Mermaid in race six as she flew to a very fast 28.68 win for owner Diana Tierney. Mama was recording her third win from four starts and looks a real prospect.
The first unraced stake of the year will commence on Monday, March 7.
February 16 results - race one, Welcome To Enniscorthy A7/A8 525: 1, Ballycowen Ann (owner, Kevin O'Gorman, Sleedagh), 29.33.
This was a very close finish with up to four runners likely to win 50 yards from the line, but Ballycowen finished best to get the verdict by a neck.
Race two, Intertrack Betting A6 525: 1, Lisnakill Alvin (owner, Michael O'Keeffe, Co. Waterford), 29.36.
Lisnakill led and was a clear leader down the back, but his stride shortened up the home stretch. The winner still did enough to get home by one and a half lengths.
Race three, The Try A Trio A5/A6 Bitch 525: 1, Rays Dream (owner, Raymond McNamara, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow), 29.62.
Rays went to the front at the second bend but early leader Tinahely Pearl renewed her challenge and only a head separated them on the line.
Race four, Unrecorded Trials Wednesday and Friday A3 525: 1, Piercestown Leaf (owner, Seamus Whelan, Piercestown), 29.01.
Battledown led here with Assain Og challenging down the back. Piercestown got into gear just behind and put in the better finish to score by a length.
Race five, www.igb.ie A4 525: 1, Strictly Good (owner, George Roche, Barntown), 29.16.
Strictly led here and took advantage of crowding behind him to open a big lead, although he was all out to hold the finish of the runner-up, Pre Tax Profit.
Race six, The Showgrounds A4 525: 1, Mama Mermaid (owner, Diana Tierney, Tagoat), 28.68.
Mama Led with a fast break, with Ballinamona Star challenging down the back. However, Mama powered up the home straight to win in the best of the night time.
Race seven, The Barking Buzz A5 525: 1, Glenbrien Comet (owner, Kathleen Stamp, Enniscorthy), 29.43.
Legacy Boy led everywhere bar on the line as Glenbrien finished well to catch him near the line.
Race eight, The Track Bar A3 575: 1, Daytime Dazzler (owner, Martin Petticrew, Enniscorthy), 31.37.
Daytime led from the start and ran out a comfortable winner.
Race nine, The Next Meeting Thursday 18th February A2 525: 1, Piercestown Moll (owner, Seamus Whelan, Piercestown), 28.92.
Salmon Lad led, only to be caught in the run to the line by Piercestown who got up in the shadows of the winning line.
The recent announcement by the I.G.B. to increase prize money is welcome, although since they took 20% off last year it basically just brings it back to where it was, and with costs going up there needs to be more incentives brought forward urgently.
The grassroots are the backbone of the sport and this I.G.B. board has to quickly recognise this if our sport is to thrive into the future. The recent agriculture report should send a clear message to the I.G.B. that they must get their act together to incentivise owners and breeders within the game for the sport to prosper.
There are thousands of jobs at stake, do not forget. Greyhound racing contributes €500 million to the exchequer, and for a grant of around €12 million that is a great return. I feel most would agree.