We’ve started the year pretty well and it continues as we’re delighted to announce two top class young dogs have arrived in the kennel. Skywalker Rory and Skywalker Archie.

We know Rory well, he beat us in the Irish St.Leger final last year and is a top class hound. Archie reached the final of the Puppy Derby (Juvenile) at Harolds Cross. Both dogs are a credit to Pat Guilfoyle who is a teacher by profession and he has trained the dogs to perfection, supported by the whole family who pitch in. But Pat had decided to concentrate his efforts on progressing his career and the dogs have been dispersed. Thankfully, Ray Petterson offered us Rory and Archie, and I hope we can do him proud. I think we already have a good kennel of young dogs, but animals of that calibre are like gold dust.

On the other side of things, our Oaks runner-up Hovex Princess has left to join Kelly Macari. Princess is the personal favourite of my daughter Rachel and there were a few tears before she left for school.

We’re looking forward to the Joe Dunne Memorial heats at Shelbourne on Saturday. It is a sign of the times that even such a highly rated puppy event as the Joe Dunne didn’t fill and will be staged as two semi finals. We have four runners: Riverside Chip and Riverside Oscar, owned by Larry Dunne, Greenhill Pearl and Clares Rocket. Oscar, who is a son of our Laurels winner Knockglass Billy, has won his last four in a row and has a 28.60 on his card. His brother Chip has won three from four including a 28.66 at Shelbourne. Greenhill Pearl, who is by Michael Dunne’s stud dog Vans Escalade out of the great bitch we had in the kennel, Rockburst Pearl, has a 28.49 Drumbo run on her card and a 28.60 trial at Shelbourne.

I am also very excited about Clares Rocket. We put him in the Comerford Cakes when he was still very young, and he got caught out. But he has since won in 28.35 at Shelbourne and really impressed me in a sprint trial at the weekend when he did 18.61 at Shelbourne beat Sidarian Vega. Chip and Rocket are drawn in the same heat. Pearl and Oscar are in the second up against Droopys Roddick, who will obviously take an awful lot of beating.

Also at the weekend, we have Colarhouse Jim in the Red Mills Unraced at Clonmel. He won his first two heats but was picked up by fastest heat winner Airmount Tess in the third round. I really like the dog. He has fantastic early pace, probably more than any other dog in the stake, but doesn’t quite see out the 525. I would be hopeful that he would qualify though.

Then to follow that we have the Tote Gold Cup at Shelbourne, when I hope to send Rural Hawaii, Sidarian Vega, Proud Graham, Skywalker Pearl, and hopefully a couple of others.

*With credit to Graham’s column for the Greyhound Star Website.