A void was left in the greyhound world on Friday night when Fr Bryan Dalton was taken from our midst.
I first met Bryan Dalton when attending the 1987 Irish-American Classic at Biscayne track in Florida and was fortunate enough to be able to call him a friend.
Bryan loved nothing better than his annual visits home to Ireland where he frequented the greyhound tracks and the racecourses.
He was born in Listowel, studied for the priesthood in Waterford and was then sent to Palm Beach in Florida where he administered for the duration of his life.
He named his dogs Deerfield after the parish where he worked and enjoyed huge success over the years in Ireland and America.
His two trainers over the years were Moss O’Connor and Ger McKenna and they enjoyed great times together. Tim Keane was another member of the team and he picked a champion or two for him, including a certain Deerfield Sunset who was originally known as Group Sunset.
The first of the winners for Bryan was Willie Joe but then came the Irish Laurels in 1996 with Deerfield Bypass and the 1998 St Leger with Deerfield Sunset.
He had three English Derby finalists, Deerfield Sunset twice and Itsallovernow which ran up the 1991 classic. There were a host of Deerfields of note, the likes of Chant, Gold, Hill, Mover, Music, Park, Rock, Site, Sings and many others.
But Bryan also had considerable success in the States and won a Hollywood Classic with Barney and Pauline O’Donnell.
The Dalton/ O’Connor team added a real twist to the Irish Derby in 2009 when they sent their American tracker Kiowa Myth to take on the Irish dogs. He created a real stir and actually won the Derby Plate.
Bryan’s sister Mona was an ever-present when the Deerfield dogs were in action. We extend our sympathy to Mona and all the members of the family.
He will be very sadly missed.