Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Drumbo Park prize money to be cut

Greyhounds

Winning trainer Kenny Bell with Gazunder after taking the War on Want 50 Years Fighting Poverty 525 at Drumbo Park
Winning trainer Kenny Bell with Gazunder after taking the War on Want 50 Years Fighting Poverty 525 at Drumbo Park

Prize money at Drumbo Park is about to be cut as the recession bites into all areas of the local economy.

Track management met with a delegation of trainers to inform them of the need for cutbacks which have also been undertaken at the stadium in other areas in a bid to lessen overall running costs.

The amounts for first, second and third in each race will reduce in total by £30 which will mean just under £1,000 per week not going into the pockets of owners and trainers.

Naturally, the move met with much disapproval in some quarters but others felt it was not unreasonable in the current climate and was much better than having to move from three nights to two nights of racing per week.

Racing manager John-Paul Connor said that closing on Thursdays, while considered at one point, was not realistic.

“We are trying, and indeed succeeding, in improving racing on Thursdays and the deal on offer to diners that night is big value for money,” he said. “Also, we would not be able to cater for all the dogs over two nights. Last week we had 340 entries.

“We appreciate the point of view and disappointment of many owners and trainers but we have to reduce overheads in these trying times.

“We will stay in consultation with them and will take on board any proposals they have to offer in an effort to meet everyone's interests,” he added.

Back on the track, Erwin Birkmyre's Crumlin bitch Ballyhill Hazel maintained her 100 per cent record with a third success earlier this week.

The litter sister to coursing Derby winner Central City just held off favourite Star Head in a photo-finish, clocking a solid 18.18 seconds for the sprint trip.

There was a hat-trick of wins for Lurgan couple Colm and Sandra Wilson who followed up Astro Peg's victory earlier in the week with two more victories for litter brothers Senor Baracka and Senor Micky while finishing off with another triumph courtesy of the consistent Daisys Duck.

Kevin McCreesh's Newry runner Wash The Kat appreciated the ease in grade to romp home over 525 yards, breaking 29 seconds in the process (28.98).

Birkmyre also delivered on Saturday night with Ballyhill Excel, another black dog on the up. The son of Droopys Maldini took a competitive sprint in winning the race to the bend, surviving crowding and coming home two and a half lengths clear of Up Late in 18.28 seconds.

The top performance came in the last race over 525 yards when Everglade, owned and trained by Bangor's Willie Atcheson, scorched round in 28.79 seconds, leading from trap-to-line in defeating Killacolla Pearl a length and a half and sending favourite backers home happy.

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