On September 12 last year, Yarmouth staged probably their least satisfactory races of the year writes Floyd Amphlett.
It was an A1 event and things started to go wrong as soon as the traps opened. For no apparent reason, the red jacketed Vinegarhill Rock stumbled on leaving the traps and trailed the field by six lengths heading to the first bend. Copper Eagle (T4) was away and gone in front but as they approached the bend, Brickfield Champ appeared to go amiss. As he checked out, he brought down the two runners on his outside Lakota Port (T5) and Millbank Kola (T6). The first three finished normally with even the slow breaking Vinegarhill Rock running on for third place beaten a total of five lengths – actually closer to the winner than he had been at the sectional. The other three runners failed to finish.
Fast forward three months to Yarmouth’s 70th birthday celebration and a positive piece on the local TV was followed up by an ‘anti’ piece on BBC Radio Norfolk the following day. The lowlight was the call from a local ‘anti’ demanding to know what had happened to the ‘poor dogs’ in that race on September 12. Yarmouth contacted the station and offered a full explanation, but the broadcaster wasn’t interested.
So here is what actually happened. Lakota Port and Millbank Kola emerged sandy but otherwise unscathed from their tumble. Port has raced another twelve times, won three, and recorded the fastest time of her career. Kola has raced another 13 times, won twice, and recorded the fastest time of her career. Both bitches raced on Wednesday.
The unfortunate Brickfield Champ had indeed broken a hock on his run to the bend. He has since had a £900 operation, paid for by the stadium, and is still with trainer Linda Brown. The hock appears to have recovered well, and it is 50/50 as to whether he will race again. If he doesn’t make it, he will have a home for life, like all of Linda’s ex-racers.
Yarmouth are currently renewing their trainers contracts – on the front page is a reminder that it is unacceptable to euthenize greyhounds other than in the most extreme veterinary need and only in the interests of welfare. Radio Norfolk are not expected to carry the story any time soon.