Caption: Paul Horig is holding the Laurels Trophy in the middle
(Each month Chase puts the spotlight on a person and/or their ‘best friend’ – a story that gives an insight into the true heart of greyhound racing. It showcases all that is good in this sport and is a monthly tribute to much-loved greyhound identity Daryl ‘Albert’ Gleeson)
By DAVID BRASCH
PAUL Horig wasn’t in Ireland for the “greatest moment of my time in greyhound racing”.
The Queenslander, now based in the Bahamas for work reasons, was on his way home to Brisbane for a six-week stint with his family.
But, his focus was entirely on Ireland where his coursing youngster Berlin Station (Newinn Wonder-Tory Ellie) was a 12-1 chance for the coveted Irish Cup, the 120-year-old event that is the longest running greyhound classic of all.
Horig has been an addict since he first went coursing way back in 1992. He has not missed the annual festival at Clonmel, where the Coursing Derby, Oaks and Champion Stakes are run, since.
“I didn’t go back to Ireland because it was very wet for the Irish Cup and Berlin Station is not at his best in the wet,” Paul said.
“But, as luck would have it, the rain stopped, the drying wind came out and the course suited him perfectly.”
Berlin Station, the baby of the Irish Cup series, led throughout to give trainer Michael Murphy his second Irish Cup winner and Horig his greatest moment in a life devoted to finding champion greyhounds.
“The Irish Cup trophy is 120 years old and is worth $50,000 Australian,” he said. “We are allowed to keep the Cup for a year, but it is then passed on to the new winning connections.
“If anything at all happens to the Cup, even a slight scratch, it is to be immediately returned and repaired.”
It has been a huge past few months for Horig.
He and close mate Thomas O’Donovan landed the Group 1 Irish Laurels late last year with One Time Only (Droopys Sydney-Maga Image). They had become friends when Thomas came to Australia some years back on a working holiday.
Thomas spent some time with Robbie Britton and then went out on his own with great success. Homesickness saw him head back to Ireland a few years ago.
“Thomas found One Time Only for us when he was a highly promising youngster and I bought him for the kennel,” Paul said. “The Irish Laurels final at Cork was run on a bog and we were all soaked by the end of the night but who even noticed?
“It was wonderful.”
Of his Irish Cup champ, Horig said he was young and could go on to repeat the victory next year.
“We’ll give him time off and bring him back for the coursing season later in the year and next year,” he said.
Horig has been snapping up quality coursing-bred pups for some years.
“I want to win the Derby or the Oaks, or both,” he said. “I had a pup by Mafi Magic-Amelies Milly for this year’s Derby but unfortunately he broke a leg at nine months and we lost him.
“He was being reared with another of the dogs in that litter who, racing as Annual Fergie, went on to win the Derby this year.”
While Horig is beaming with his Irish greyhound success he is no stranger to winning.
He raced Queensland greyhounds of the year Elusive Odie and Cool Marvel and with his great mate Mick Zammit shared in the success of the first $100,000 race in Queensland with Run Rampant in the Lawnton 100,000 back in 1989.
Run Rampant was twice placed at Group 1 level.
“The Irish Cup is such a prestigious race with such a wonderful history and to win it is amazing, the greatest moment of my time in greyhounds,” Paul said.
But Horig has never been one to rest on his laurels. He’s already bought a host of coursing pups for next year’s classics.
And Berlin Station will be back to try to create history by winning back-to-back Cups.
Paul Horig likes the look of the Irish Cup and wants to keep for that little bit longer.