Best of care earns back-to-back titles for Dan – By Anne Marie O’Brien
THE meticulous care and feeding regime that has won the Dog of the Year title at Mullingar for Dan Byrne’s dogs for the past two years is being maintained during the Covid-19 shutdown.
Dan is pictured here with his grandsons Daniel and Shane, and three of his dogs, Oldinn Daddy, the white and black Panda Bawn, and the brindled Starcash Tiger.
Racing or not, Dan, who lives in Clongorey, near Newbridge, is out with his seven dogs at 7am each morning, walking up a laneway near his home. They get another walk in the evening, and a gallop every week, so will certainly be race-fit whenever it begins again.
Dan races at Mullingar nearly every weekend and is a very regular winner there, with Panda Bawn winning the Dog of the Year title in 2019 and the 2018 winner was Pride Of Luck, who has since retired with an injury and has been happily rehomed in Italy.
He says: “I’m a pensioner and a widower and it suits me to race on a Saturday and Sunday. My grandchildren come with me most of the time, and the dogs keep me occupied.
“I do my dogs well – I feed them cereal, yogurt and honey for breakfast every morning. If they’re winning, it’s what I’m putting into them. Starcash Tiger was bought in the sales but has won 18 races.”
Dan is ably assisted by his 11 and 12-year-old grandsons, Daniel and Shane Byrne, who are first cousins and live nearby, so are always on hand to go racing with their grandad.
Dan says: “All the dog men in Mullingar know them and say they’re the future of the sport.”
The two boys have a great knowledge of racing, able to recall every detail of the dogs they’ve had and seen; and hopefully it won’t be too long before they’re all on the road again to Mullingar and enjoying more Sunday successes.