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Big break for Nestor and grandson

 Michael Nestor, of Miltown Malbay, with his dog Knockbrack Owen, his entry for the Derby Trialstake at Clonmel.  Photograph by John KellyYear after year familiar names appear on the Clonmel coursing card. However, Michael Nestor from Miltown Malbay will be a new name for 2011 and he qualified for the national meeting after realising a life long ambition at the Galway-Oranmore meeting last November.
Masonbrook Meadows was the venue for his dream come true when Knockbrack Eoin won the final of the Derby trial stake. The attendance was understandably small after the venue was rain-lashed the previous day so that there were no wild scenes of excitement when the son of Bexhill Eoin-Denham Blonde survived a good final. Nonetheless there were the few usual hardy souls from Clare there to cheer and congratulate Michael.
His years of disappointment were a thing of the past when Knockbrack Eoin ended the long wait.
Michael was a cup winner in the past, won several duffer stakes and also tasted success at the track. However, the trial stake win at Loughrea was “unreal,” he said.
It was looking good for Clare after the early rounds were disposed of at Meadows Brooks. A few Clare owned dogs were among the qualifiers for the quarter-finals on the second day. Hoewever, there was disappointment in store for some of the owners as their charges, Venture Out (Leonard McNamara, Clarecastle and Padraig Fannin, Ennis) and in the top half and Roger Crystal (Johnny Maher, Kilmaley and Tony Coote, Ennis) in the bottom half did not make it to slips after being withdrawn injured. Also injured in his second round win was Star Chaser, owned by the Holian family from Athenry.
In the top half, Da Gow (Noel Glynn, Spancilhill) and Frever West, owned in Ennis by John Keane and Frank White and by West Clare native, Alan Troy, were beaten on the second day with the result that Shannonvale Bill, the favourite, made it through to the final to meet Knockbrack Eoin. In the early stages the advantage was with the favourite but when they had reached the halfway mark Knockbrack Eoin was moving out and went on to extend his lead to one-and-a-half-lengths and win his way to Clonmel.
The Galway-Oranmore qualifier is owned and trained by Michael Nestor and a joint owner is his grandchild, Cillian who was also present for the great occasion. The breeder is Tony Heeney from Meath.
Long before he got married to Margaret Curtin, Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, and going to live in Ballard Road, Miltown Malbay, Michael kept a few greyhounds in his native Deerpark, Ennistymon.
He recalls that it was in 1986 he acquired his first greyhound- Tanyard Fawn – from Michael and Katherine Comber, Ennistymon. He did not have to wait too long for success as the native of this hot bed of coursing won the cup in Galbally with the dog in 1988. He also ran up for the cup in Doon the same season.
Michael feels that he could have achieved more were in not for the fact that Cillone Oak was also chasing glory at the same time and George Gallery’s great servant beat Tanyard Fawn in three semi-finals. Nestor also bred a few good coursing dogs in his time, among them Claret Dabbler who won an Irish Plate for Brendan Pourcell, Ballyduff and Knockbrack Spot who was favourite to win the Clonmel Derby for Limerick owner, Michael O’Ryan, but did not compete because of injury.
As regards his track achievements, Michael refers to the races won by his Knocknbrack Knight. He later sold the dog to Pat Curtin when he was based in London and he continued to win a few more races in different parts of England.
Now going to the national meeting for the first time as an owner, Clonmel 2011will be something special for Michael and the Nestor family.

Marrinan on familiar ground
The Miltown Malbay flag is also being flown by Paddy Marrinan who has Atlantic Ashmore in the Grace Bruton Memorial Champion Bitch Stakes.
While Paddy is no stranger to Clonmel, this will be his first time going there with a runner in an all-age stake. He has been at the national meeting on three different occasions in the past with trial stakes winners, one of which, Atlantic Beauty, gave him his best run when reaching the quarter-finals of the Oaks in 1992.
He owns most of his dogs in partnership with two doctors, Michael Corcoran from Oranmore and Cork man, Eamonn Kiely. They have known each other since they were studying medicine and the link with the Miltown Malbay trainer comes through Paddy Marrinan’s brother, Jim, whose wife is a sister of Michael Corcoran’s wife.
A third season dog and a trial stake winner at the Regional, Atlantic Ashmore (Ashmore View-Atlantic Beauty) had a short programme last year because of an injury picked up at the Regional meeting. And this season she had only two outings, winning on both occasions. Her first cup win was at the Killimer-Kilrush fixture where she beat Squid of Inagh in the final. Her next target was the South Clare All-Age Bitch Stake where she again collected full points to put her in the frame for Clonmel.
Paddy Marrian is enthusiastic about having his first all-age runner in Clonmel. “She is one of the best eight bitches in the countrry and she is in right good form now, better than she was in Cooraclare,” he said.

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