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Cork greyhound tracks reopen for trainers but no racing until later in June

GREYHOUND activity returns at Curraheen Park this Monday and on Tuesday in Youghal.

While greyhound racing doesn’t restart formally until June 29, trainers will begin preparations for the resumption after the weekend.

Classic winning trainer from Blarney, Johnny Linehan is excited about greyhound racing returning.

“We are really looking forward to starting again. We have been galloping away and I’ve trials booked for Monday and Wednesday. We will also have a lot for unrecorded trials the following week.

“There are some nice dogs, the likes of Broadstrand Bono, who will hopefully be our Derby dog this year, then we have Droopys Hamish, Pacemaker Ted and Runninta Seeya. Unraced Pellegrino is another to watch out for.”

Linehan was also keen to point out that the standard of racing at Curraheen Park on a Saturday needs to improve urgently.

Leading trainers at the Cork track have been voicing their concern for quite some time.

Linehan commented: “The standard of racing needs to improve right away. It’s no good for me, my co-trainers, owners, patrons and punters. We have a state-of-the-art facility at Curraheen Park and the standard of racing on a Saturday night is way short of what is expected.

“We need to get the place rocking again and good racing is very important. The SIS racing in Cork is doing fierce damage, if it’s to continue we either need three nights racing or get rid of the SIS racing and race two nights.”

Racing has been suspended in Ireland due to Covid-19 since the fixtures at Shelbourne Park and Tralee on March 24.

Horse Racing also returns in Ireland on Monday, with a meeting at Naas Racecourse. As it stands, the greyhound racing action is set to return on June 29, although that is expected to be brought forward in the coming days. Horse and Greyhound Racing returned in the UK on Monday last, with several fixtures daily.

The trialling activity will resume under strict Covid-19 precautionary measures. All Official Trials are strictly by appointment only and there will be no exceptions. Raced greyhounds may re-qualify for racing with a sprint trial, however, the minimum requirement for SIS greyhound racing is at least one trial around the 525-yard distance.

In other news, the IGB (Irish Greyhound Board) announced that they plan to run all 2020 classic events, where possible.

“Discussions will continue with relevant sponsors in that regard. In the event that a sponsor for understandable reasons is not in a position to commit to the event, the Board undertakes to run the event either with an alternative sponsor or with a reduction in the prize money pot.”

“The Board has undertaken advanced work at all tracks to ensure that activities can operate in a Covid-19 compliant environment. The commencement of trial activity will occur on Monday with the initiation of an intensive schedule of trialling at tracks.”

“Trial schedules will be reviewed on an ongoing basis in the lead up to ‘racing behind closed doors’ currently scheduled for June 29. The board will be operating a cashless system with effect from Monday, June 8 and all payments for trials and entry fees must be made by way of Debit/Credit Card.”

From EchoLive