Belfast Telegraph

Proud moment for Blairs as they land trophy in memory of pal Charlie

 

By Robert Fenton

There was no more appropriate winner of Drumbo Park's inaugural £1,000 Charlie Magill Memorial than Cathal Toy, owned and trained by the late Charlie's good friend Joe Blair.

The Larne trainer and his ever popular wife Mabel were understandably emotional after Cathal landed his first win at the 12th attempt, clocking a super 28.94 on Saturday night.

Troubled by muscle problems but not short of ability, especially on the back-straight, Toy proved to be the boy on the night.

Reserve Hee Haws Nero led out but was followed around the opening turn by Cathal and once hitting the far side, Toy upped the gears. He went in front going into the penultimate turn and from there, it was all over bar the shouting.

Unlike his semi-final, there was no checking on the bend and to the delight of the Larne sponsors and winning owner, Toy strode clear in beating Nero four lengths. Eager Silver was two and a half lengths back in third.

The congratulations to Mabel and Joe were warm and plentiful and Mabel said: "It is one of the proudest moments of my life and to receive the trophy form my lovely friend Yvonne (Charlie's wife), was something special."

Another final in memory of Charlie was sponsored by his cousin David Magill for A2 grades, the £600 prize going to College Destiny from Martin Hagan's Coalisland kennels.

In a tight battle into the first bend, there was major scrimmaging which held up Fane Zeema and Timaru Rogue, giving Destiny the chance to come out of the turn in front.

A strong stayer, once there, he was always going to be difficult to peg back. And so it proved as College came home five lengths in front of Zeema who recovered well to grab second from Crinkill Jake. The winning time was a splendid 28.75.

It was a good news story for the Irish Greyhound Board after Good News won the Boylesports Irish Derby worth €150,000 in the fastest final time since the Classic moved to 550 yards in 1986.

Hitting the ground running, the Tipperary-based Pat Guilfoyle-trained blue dog owned jointly by his sister Sandra and Mary Kennedy, the 7/4 joint-favourite with Sonic who was pushed out wide at the first bed, was never seriously troubled in beating Black Farren two lengths in 29.37secs.

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