1959 After a three week shut down caused by the deaths of four greyhounds from rat poison, Derby Stadium re-opens for trials. Unfortunately, a fifth greyhound “ran out of the track at a bend” and subsequently died from internal haemorrhaging.
1968 Miss Whirl, the queen of American racing is retired a month short of her fifth birthday. A track record breaker on four different tracks from 647/682 yards, she raced on 236 occasions winning on an incredible 115 occasions.
1959 When a Brighton car dealer found a greyhound in very poor condition wandering not far from the stadium he put him on the back seat of his car and headed to the track. He was informed by the office staff that none of their dogs were missing but suggested that the animal appeared in urgent need of treatment. They recommended track vet Ron White. On arriving at the surgery the dog appeared to be in a very bad state on the backseat, though it turned out to be severe exhaustion. The vet examined the dog who was underweight, badly lame, walking on three legs, with another injury to his face. He decided to keep the dog in the surgery overnight. Meanwhile, two kennelgirls, Doreen Mather and Daphne Mainstone got to hear of the mystery dog and visited the vet the next morning. Upon seeing the girls the dog leapt at them, beside himself with excitement. They recognised the dog as Searcher, a veteran of over 220 races at Brighton who had been re-homed three weeks earlier. The stadium contacted the dog’s new owners and discovered that the dog had escaped when their car broke down on their way home to Newcastle. Searcher had gone missing in the Midlands and they hadn’t thought to alert the track some 150 miles away. Searcher was taken back into the Brighton Kennels until he had made a full recovery and the stadium would then attempt to find a new home for the dog. As a gesture of thanks, the Good Samaritan who found Searcher wandering the streets was invited, with his wife, for a night out at the stadium.
1988 Following their takeover by GRA, Wembley trainers are informed that their contracts will be downgraded when they are renewed in three months time. However, prize money will rise by £40,000.
1959 Irish breeding loses one of its greatest ever sires with the death of The Grand Champion aged nine and a half. A winner on the track of the McCalmont Cup at Kilkenny and the Callanan Cup at Harolds Cross, Paddy Dunphy’ s blue brindle and white dog threw two English Derby winners: Mile Bush Pride and Palms Printer, plus the likes of Prairie Peg (dam of Pigalle Wonder and Prairie Flash), The Grand Fire, Jakfigaralt, Rather Grand etc etc.
1947 Prices are holding up well at Aldridges Sale. The top lot made 620 guineas (index linked to £24,700), though a litter of nine saplings made 935 guineas (£39K).
1995 The Star run a story about frustrated promoter Tom Smith’s plan to unveil a new hare system that he had been perfecting over the previous two years. He said: “I specifically went along to the last promoters meeting to explain the system. It was a major decision because we are a very small outfit here. Unfortunately they had more interesting things to talk about and didn’t have time to hear me.” Our story is read by Ladbrokes’ Gordon Bissett who asks for more details of the low cost, low maintenance option to the Sumner and McKee-Scott hare systems. The ‘Swaffham’ never looks back. Meanwhile Bissett publishes the highly acclaimed ‘Promoters Guide To A Safer Running Track.”
2002 Two greyhounds trained by Mick Willmore die after racing at Peterborough. Mix And Nix finished tailed off last and died in the stadium kennels after the meeting. Belleisle Toby also ran badly and was taken ill after the race. He was taken to vet Bill Steele and died in the surgery following ‘malignant hypothermia’. Tests later reveal that the dogs tested positive for amphetamine. Police are called in to investigate. In the stewards inquiry, six months later, Willmore is made a disqualified person.
1995 Walthamstow bookies are in cocky mode pricing up a 100-1 chance and two 500-1 chances in supporting opens for the Jim Davies Stakes. But they get their comeuppance when Brownbog Connie lands the decider at 50-1.
1947 A survey reveals that Irish sales prices were down on average in 1946 compared to the previous year. They only averaged “a mere £200 each, though that figure can be misleading due to the large number of the most expensive dogs being sold privately.” Indexed lined to 2012, £200 calculates to roughly £6,500.
1988 Sheffield trainer Carol Evans is sacked just months after being axed by Belle Vue. Sheffield promoter Terry Corden was said to be unhappy about the “inconsistency” of Mrs Evans runners.
1947 Following a series of complaints of lost children within the stadium, Walthamstow announce plans to build a playground for 250 children complete with swings, slides and a nurse.
1947 Wimbledon announce that a record 460 litters have been entered in their Produce Stakes at the “£1 entry stage”.
1967 200 American main Ford dealers, plus a team of journalists attend White City as part of their launch of the new Cortina.