Ian Fortune

Raha Mofo has virtually come out of nowhere to be amongst the leading fancies in the Sporting Press Online Edition Irish Oaks.

For most it came as a surprise but Marissa Molloy, who is lucky enough to own the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Clares Queen, always knew she had the ability to be top class.

Marissa has been steeped in greyhounds for much of her life with her late father, Stephen, heavily involved for many decades. It was, in fact, Stephen, who not long before his sad passing last June, bought both Raha Mofo and her sister Raha Gogo.

The fact that they were the last two pups Stephen purchased means they have a special place in the heart of Marissa and has admitted to turning down some substantial offers with her focus on the Oaks at present.

Marissa, who is based in Galway, admitted that the fact that her father bought the pair just a few months ahead of his passing makes it all the more meaningful to be in this position. She also says, “I could never have imagined this”.

By this she means the impact Raha Mofo would make in such a short spell and the fact that so many have shown an interest in purchasing the September ’20 whelp. It is understandable when you consider she had already raced nine times before capturing an A5 stake at Shelbourne Park in early May.

She posted a stunning 28.26 in said final, although many put it down to the fact that Shelbourne Park was running particularly fast that week. They were left with little choice but to enter her in the Oaks and the rest is history.

A breathtaking run in the opening round, when coming from a mile back to be beaten a short head by Burgess Josie in 28.30, alerted those paying attention that she was a potential star. Fast forward seven days and she posted the fastest time of the second round last Saturday when recording an incredible 11.99 from the third turn to the winning line.

And Marissa is enjoying every second of the Oaks journey with Raha Mofo. She says of her uncle Stephen, who is on the journey with her, that he is every bit as excited. The night Raha Mofo won the A5 stake at Shelbourne Park, both her and Stephen were racing across the infield to greet their star, when they saw the clock. Stephen’s instant reaction was, “that’s it. The Oaks next”  

Of course, it couldn’t have happened without Murt Leahy and Stephen Dunne. Marissa chose Murt to trained the bitch because his operation is family based and the dogs are looked after wonderfully. As fate would have it, Stevie Dunne, who works with Murt is a son of the breeder Stephen Dunne.

This was a fact that only came to light after the bitch had taken up residence. Marissa admits I’ve yet to meet Stephen snr but we chat regularly and hopefully we’ll meet before our Oaks adventure is over.

Indeed, such is the power and pace that Raha Mofo is showing at present, she is a single figure price with Boylesports to capture the bitch classic. Were she to make the Oaks decider, Marissa would have a very tough choice to make.

As it happens, her nephew Kieran Molloy, who was one of Ireland’s best amateur boxers in recent years, turned pro late last year and is due to have his second professional fight at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Oaks final night.  

Marissa has flights and accommodation booked and paid for but she intimated, if it came down to a choice, she would be in Shelbourne Park and hopefully watch Kieran make it two from two on television. Just imagine if both Kieran and Raha Mofo both won on the same night. Now that would be a story to tell.