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Manchester United Michael Owen star massive fan of Drumbo's big night

By Robert Denton

Published 27/06/2011

Michael Owen is now a fan of greyhound racing at Drumbo Park after the brilliant night of action televised live on Sky Sports.

The Manchester United and former Liverpool and England football star has been on Twitter praising the coverage of the £50,000 Northern Irish Derby, won by Tyrone dog Loughview Gem over 550 yards.

Owen, a major player on the horse racing front as a stable owner and who was in tears after his first Royal Ascot victory with Brown Panther, described the Drumbo coverage on Saturday night as "brilliant viewing."

You simply cannot buy that sort of exposure and sponsors's representative Jayne Clarke added: "It was an unbelievable night and we could not be more pleased.

"We want to do more for greyhound racing and would love to be involved with all greyhound Derbies. We shall certainly be back at Drumbo next year. The crowd and atmosphere was tremendous."

As for the big race, there was much delight that the £25,000 first prize went to a local owner, Tyrone's Peter Corr, as his Loughview Gem, a 5-1 shot, upset the 'good thing' Leeview Jet handled by Cashel's Graham Holland.

A double track record holder over 525 and 550 yards, 1-2 favourite Leeview was expected to make it eight wins in a row here but Loughview, trained by Francis O'Brien, had other ideas.

There was a feeling that trap one would not suit Jet, while Loughview had run Leeview to a short head in the first round.

From trap three, Loughview blasted out while Leeview was slow away.

Leeview rallied to go second but never really got in a blow at the leader, a black son of Big Daddy Cool, who finished three lengths ahead of Star Head in 29.56 seconds, only five spots slower than Leeview's best, 29.51.

"Loughview is the best I have ever reared," said Corr. "But I'm retired from the breeding game now and leave most things to (trainer) Francis."

O'Brien added: "It is the biggest moment of my career and I'm absolutely delighted. I always thought we had a chance especially from trap three as he seems to really love that box.

"I suppose we have to go for the Irish Derby at Shelbourne next. We entered him last year but he got injured in a trial and had to be pulled out."

A success and never a better night at Drumbo Park.

Belfast Telegraph

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