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Greyhounds: Shelbourne to keep its grass.

THE luscious green grass at Shelbourne Park is to remain. A meeting of Bord na gCon yesterday decided to rescind their previous decision which would have meant Ireland's premier track being converted to all- sand in January.

Considerable pressure had been mounted in recent times from owners and trainers who were opposed to Shelbourne, with its unique drainage capability, joining the growing list of all-sand tracks.

This week's Sporting Press newspaper printed the result of a survey which it carried out in recent weeks and it showed almost 90 per cent of the voters were against not only the sanding of Shelbourne Park but the general all-sand move.

It was known that yesterday's vote would be a close one and it was late yesterday evening that news sifted out from the lengthy monthly Bord meeting.

It has now been decided to do major work on the four bends at the track-aligned, cambered and sanded-while retaining grass straights. The circuit will close for the first two weeks of January, losing just one Saturday.

While the new tracks at Cork and Dundalk will apparently be all-sand, there was big opposition to such a move at Shelbourne. Such tracks as Thurles, Enniscorthy and Lifford-who were voted Ireland's best racing circuits in the Sporting Press survey-have shown that grass straights can be maintained properly given the right attention.

Yesterday's meeting of Bord na gCon also decided to scrap the Reserves Rule for all Classics and semi-classics. It means there will be no reserves used at any stage in events with a winner's prize of more than pounds 5,000.

This news will also be loudly welcomed by the greyhound industry. However, one envisages the cry commencing for further restriction on the usage of reserves in sweepstakes.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Fortune, Michael
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 20, 1998
Previous Article:Greyhounds: Back on-song Tenor to triumph; Open Check.
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