The Sandman Story

Put to stud the dog had 14 litters in 1978, the first in April. Of the 14 litters 5 were from Peter or his brother John Franklin’s own broods, the dams of the remaining 9 were nearly all local. In 1979 Sandman sired about 30 more litters, again they were mostly local broods with a few exceptions. Maythorn Pride being one of these, she had a litter to Clashing in 1977 and other to Itsachampion in May ‘78.

So if all of Sandmans pups from 1978 and 1979 were running by September 1980 we are looking at 50 litters maximum but more likely figure might be 35 to 40. We will return to September 1980 shortly. During the latter part of 1979 Sandman’s early pups began hitting Knocklong and other local schooling tracks, The Knocklong operator Denis Cleary otherwise fondly called The Gander noted that they were small but nothing out of the ordinary. The present manager of the local IGB track who was then assistant manager warned Peter that his new American stud would break the local breeders.

As 1980 progressed Sandman progeny were showing up in a very positive light especially bearing in mind the small number of litters which were old enough to race. Sandman was sold for a price in excess of £30,000 thereafter. This sum would then have bought a 3/4 bedroom detached house in the private areas of Cork or Limerick.The buyer was John Murphy of London and it is very likely that John Fitzpatrick recommended the costly purchase. Sandman would spend the rest of his time with the studmaster Fitzpatrick. John Fitzpatrick went on to breed Flashy Sir by Sandman ex. his daughter Geraldine's Cherry Express.

The original Cherry Express was also the property of the John Fitzpatrick. We are going to switch back to County Limerick now, what of the 14 litters registered in the 1978 studbook? Bearing in mind that the oldest dog sired by Sandman at the time of his sale was 29 months - how had those local breeders viewed Sandman as a sire?

Denis Cleary said that he noticed the pups that were tried on his track were small but otherwise they did not stand out. The first bitches to whelp pups to Sandman as we have posted did so in April 1978. They were just two litters in that month. One of them was Peter Franklin's Eileen's Flame and the other was Anthony O'Keefe's Highway Run. Anthony followed up the following year (1979) by having another Sandman litter - to Highway Fun who was of course a litter sister to Jim's Girl the grand dam of Tapwatcher. Highway Run was a daughter of Highway Fun by Free Speech. Then in August 1980 both bitches had litters to Sandman. Surely a remarkable vote of confidence in the new U.S. stud by a small breeder.

We see something similar with Joe Fogarty, in May '78 he whelped down Final Free and in Aug . '79 Final Leave also had a litter to Sandman. From the time that the U.S. dog arrived here his reputation climbed upwards and upwards but once he had established himself he got a flow of top broods. At the end of 1981 Sandman connections had recouped their outlay with something to spare. John Fitzpatrick had some good studs but nothing quite the same as the small American dog. Flashy Sir was to become Sandman's most influential son, he left us Phantom Flash sire of Spiral Nikita etc. The Maythorn Pride litter to him was to leave a huge impact on the breed particularly through her daughters, they dominate some major U.S. pedigrees. Sandman's litter to Flora's Bar was to re-ignite the line which has given us so many good greyhounds, Rathkeale, Palifium Seventy Four and leave us with Wilton Cross and all that followed from her. Apart from that his influence can be seen in many Irish/U.K. dam lines today.

What was the basic difference between Sandman and other U.S. studs -- his Early Pace. His son Whisper Wishes showed his early foot to great effect in the 1984 Derby Final, he got ahead from the start and just held Moran’s Beef sustained run. Another son, Game Ball was rightfully a short priced in the 1983 Final but met trouble and never recovered. For all round pace another son, Lodge Prince, was up there with the elite.

David Byrne noted that in his first volume of The Greyhound Record that Sandman had sired 52 of stud dogs in that book. There was a few more too staying in Australia; studs like Lansley Bale and Bobniak descend through their male top line from Sandman and another Oz sire Lucky Daniel has him as his damsire. The stud dogs Easy and Slow and Cathy's Fugitive were siblings of Lucky Friend - dam of L. Daniel.

Comparisons with Hondo Black are easy to draw and the next few years will see the sons of Hondo Black get the opportunity to leave another American legacy in the Irish breeding scene.

Michael Murphy

#sandman #hondoblack

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