Darci’s team gear up for return to racing – By Anne Marie O’Brien
With families confined to their homes for more than three months now, the children of greyhound owners and trainers are the envy of many others as they’re out and about every day, walking, galloping and feeding dogs and providing valuable help to their busy parents in the process.
One of those is eight-year-old Darci Mernor from Strabane, Co. Tyrone, whose dad Jason and grandad Mark really appreciate the help she gives on a daily basis with their ‘Darcis’ runners, and she’s pictured here looking rightly proud of her charges.
When the Sporting Press caught up with Jason during his lunch break from his day job earlier this week, he said: “It’s great to highlight things like this and see the good side of the dogs, instead of the negativity we often hear.
“Darci is eight years old and mad into the dogs. Every day she’s out with them and the pups. One of the dogs in the picture with her, Marinas Lee, is nearly seven years years old but you’d never think it as he has no grey hair. He raced at Lifford up to the age of six and won his last two races, doing a very fast split of 2.64 at Lifford at the age of five.
“The others are Darcis Hunter and Darcis Chloe and the fourth is a dog we’ve just bought who we plan to name Darcis King. He’s a Pinpoint Maxi dog.”
Since Lifford Track closed, the Mernors have been racing at Dundalk and though it’s a five-hour round trip, Darci wouldn’t miss it.
The Mernors’ dogs are booked in to trial at the Co. Louth venue next Monday and the family are really looking forward to getting back racing again.
During lockdown, they’ve kept the dogs fit on their own 350-yard gallop, where Darci is Jason’s chief helper. “She’s a great help to me – a hard wee worker,” said Jason. “She loves it. It’s a lot better than being inside playing on a computer all day.”
The big hope for the kennel when racing returns will be Darcis Chloe, a two-year-old daughter of Droopys Cain – Hather Sapphire, owned by Jason’s father Mark. “She’s going to be very good over 575 yards and six bends. She’s done good private trials in Drumbo Park, going under 29.00. She’s just turned two and is only out of season, so should go well around Dundalk. It’s just a hobby for us, so breaking 29.00 is good for us,” concluded Jason.