Will champagne Corks be popping?

Alan Briggs (far left) with some of his fellow owners of Corkish Mick.
Alan Briggs (far left) with some of his fellow owners of Corkish Mick.

Could the luck of the Irish bring one of greyhound racing’s biggest prizes back to Bridlington?

Corkish Mick, who is part-owned by local trader Alan Briggs, runs in the final of the Steel City Cup at Owlerton tonight.

The race carries £9,500 in prize money, with £7,500 to the winner, and it is the premier category one race of the year at Sheffield.

Mr Briggs, who runs Southside Memorabilia in Quay Road, is part of a 10-strong syndicate which bought Corkish Mick earlier this year after spotting his potential.

He finished second in his heat and third in his semi-final to qualify for the final, which will be shown on Sky Sports.

Mr Briggs said: “It’s an honour to be in it, win or lose. It is great to have a dog that has a chance. He was considered to be an 8/1 chance in the final but I firmly believe he’s got a far better chance than that.

“Dogs come from all over the country but this year all six of the finalists are Northern-trained. in greyhound terms, this is big prize money. There are only eight or 10 races like this each year in the country, and he has already beaten dogs who cost up to £25,000.”

Mr Briggs is part of a group of working-class friends who bought Corkish Mick for £1,600 around six months ago. He is trained near Worksop by Norman Melbourne.

“There are two sales a year at Sheffield. The Irish breeders bring them over and you watch them have a couple of trial races and form your own judgement and bid accordingly,” added Mr Briggs.

“Collectively, we saw something in this dog that we really liked and he has proved to be an excellent bargain.

“Everything we predicted for him has come to fruition, in fact he has done far better than we imagined.

“He was a shrewd buy but we didn’t buy him to make money, he gives us lots of fun and we wouldn’t sell him now.”

Having turned two in June, he believes Corkish Mick is approaching his prime, but a fast start is essential, something the dog has not managed in his heat or semi-final.

Mr Briggs said: “He only raced twice in Ireland before his sales. He had a couple of niggly injuries which we’ve had to nurse him through, so while we’ve had him he has only had a handful of races but he won the Steel City Cup Trial Stakes.”

One of his races saw him pitched against Mr Briggs’ other greyhound Harry’s Blue eight weeks ago.

They finished first and second but Harry’s Blue has had injury problems and is not in the same league as Corkish Mick.

The Steel City Cup saw Corkish Mick against Glenpadden’s Post, Hadrians Wall, Jolly Angelo, Pay Freeze and Kowloon Connor.

Mr Briggs added: “Winning this cup is the last thing I think about before I go to bed and the first thing I think about when I wake up. It would be such a bonus, although just being in the top four would be great.”