Clonbrien Prince has run his last race. The brilliant son of Confident Rankin and Mongys Rach has been one of the fastest and most consistent greyhounds in training over the past two years and boasts a tremendous CV.
Trained by Graham Holland throughout his career, he was clearly highly thought of as a raw youngster as he debuted in the 2018 Con & Annie Kirby Memorial at Limerick, going out in the second round before finishing runner-up in the Sean O’Connor Cup.
He next took in the Produce Stakes but had to be withdrawn ahead of his third round assignment. By this time he was starting to show his obvious talent and a switch to Shelbourne Park saw him produce some superb performances. After a luckless tilt at the Derby, he posted a fastest of the year 29.20 for the 550yd trip on Derby final night.
He was now firmly amongst the fastest in training and was understandably installed as one of the favourites for Leger glory. He proceeded to reach the final and was the 6-4 joint favourite for the decider only to miss the kick before finishing fifth. He ended the year by reaching the final of the John Slyne Memorial 575 at Cork.
For all his achievements in his debut year, it was 2019 in which Clonbrien Prince really made his name. After trialling in, posting 18.57 for the sprint trip and 28.10 for the 525yd trip at Shelbourne, he was aimed at the Easter Cup and eventually finished a fast finishing second to Clona Blaze in the decider.
His next assignment came in the Gain 600 and it was clear he relished the longer run to the turn. After some superb displays through the competition, he produced a dominant display to win the decider in facile fashion.
The decision was made to aim him at the English Derby and he took to Nottingham straight away. Clonbrien Prince was one of the stars of the competition and, after a brilliant semi final victory, was installed one of the favourites for the decider. Sadly, he was handed a terrible draw in the stripes – the only time in his career to run from trap six - and could never get involved.
A return to 600yds saw him capture the greyhoundsaspets.ie Open 600 at Shelbourne shortly after finishing runner-up in the Derby Plate. His classic swansong came in the Leger and he eventually finished behind Ballymac Anton in the decider.
The brilliant tracker did return to racing this year and actually had a start around Nottingham with a possible crack at the English Derby on the horizon but, alas, it wasn’t to be. After picking up a small injury, it has been decided to retire the brilliant July ’16 whelp.
The dog has returned to his owner/ breeders Jim and Kay Murphy in Clonbrien where he will no doubt enjoy a long retirement. He was rare tracker. He had the early speed to challenge the best in training and stayed 600yds.