Rioga has lofty reputation to live up to

Micheal O Muircheartaigh obviously has high hopes for his new four-legged friend. Upon retiring from his GAA commentary role last September, the Irish Greyhound Board announced that they would present him with a greyhound and the dog was handed over at a function in Shelbourne Park yesterday afternoon.

The legend from Dingle opted for the name Rioga to add to the Razldazl prefix which the dog already bore as a member of the Dolores Ruth kennel in Rathangan. Rioga, of course, stands for ‘kingly’ and so he already has a lofty reputation to live up to in his racing career.

However, Dolores is very confident that this dog will more than make his mark on the track scene and reported yesterday that: “He is very promising. We have given him a few sprints and he has gone extremely well, he did 17.50 on a slow track at Newbridge and should be running in three to four weeks”.

Razldazl Rioga is certainly bred well enough to be a champion as he is a son of World renowned sire Brett Lee out of one of the best broods in the country, Razldazl Pearl. This makes him a half brother to the likes of Town View Foods Champion Stakes winner Makeshift and to the current Ruth flying machines Razldazls Jayfkay, George, Joe, Barack, Lisa, etc.

Meanwhile, a computer glitch in the Irish Greyhound Board accounting system has resulted in double prizemoney payments being made to some owners and trainers. The period involved was for June 2010 and the repeat payments arrived with the roll out which was paid on January 20th.

In most cases the extra prizemoney paid will be deducted from future winnings. A statement from the IGB states that “we apologise for the inconvenience caused. We are committed to ensuring this does not happen again and we are putting further systems in place to ensure same”.

Big talking point of the week is the forthcoming National Meeting which commences at Powerstown Park on Monday morning. However the Track Festival will really kick off on Saturday night at Thurles with the Popgun meeting and then there will be racing at Clonmel each night from Sunday through to Thursday.

There will be quality racing each evening but Tuesday will be the highlight with a number of finals, headlined by the final of the Open Unraced Stake. The Shanks Whelan owned Piercestown Sand enhanced an already glowing reputation when running away with his semi-final on Tuesday night in 28.87 and it leaves him well ahead on the clock of all his rivals. He has drawn trap two in the decider and looks the very likely winner. The draw is: 1 Magellan Lad; 2 Piercestown Sand; 3 Yahoo Ned; 4 Thurlesbeg Bound; 5 Archaton Oak; 6 Ballycasey Girl.

Talking of puppy events, the Joe Dunne Memorial Puppy Stake will commence at Shelbourne on Saturday and there are four very interesting heats. Heat 2 is likely to provide the fireworks with Puppy Derby winner Melodys Royal and National Puppy fourth Boxie drawn side by side in traps four and five.

The Shelbourne card also includes the semi-finals of the Tyrur McGuigan Open 575 where Liam Dowling’s heat winning litter comrades General Dogsbody and Ballymac Lomu have been drawn together in the second heat. De Ex Factor is a clear threat to both in what promises to be a really exciting contest.

Down at Limerick the second round of the Vetsearch International White E Kennedy Cup will be run on Saturday and the first heat is the corker here with four of the first round winners, Ballymac Lefanta, Bua Dearg, Liosgarbh Stumpy and Shelbourne Dawn in addition to the highly rated Belvedere Fox.

I would expect Pat Guilfoyle’s Joey Jojo Junior to bounce back to winning ways in the second heat while Graham Holland’s Cabra Legend and Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Linda could be the winners of the other heats.

Following last week’s postponement, the presentation of the annual awards will take place during racing at Youghal tomorrow evening and admission will be free to all, courtesy of the Track Supporters Club. It deserves a fine turn-out and there will be goodies on offer also to all customers.

Finally, greyhound racing lost a great friend this week with the death of Mary Keane from Knocknagoshel. Together with her husband Mike they ran the Fortune dogs and enjoyed their greatest moments with the brilliant Puppy Derby winner Fortune Mike. Mary, a native of Beehenaugh, was an ever present at the tracks and was one of the chief organisers of the annual fundraiser for the Kerry General Hospital. We send the condolences of the greyhound world to Mike and the Keane family.

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