1962 Magourna Reject, winner of the 1953 St Leger and Cesarewitch died aged 12. Owned by Mrs Frances Chandler, Reject won 34 of his 61 races including Trafalgar Cup, St Leger, Key and Cesarewitch. He created history when 12 of his offspring contested two divisions of a marathon open at Walthamstow.
1989 Local grader Westcourt Apache became the big crowd pleaser in a supporting race on St Leger final night. Grabbing the lure at the pick-up, Apache was nabbed by track staff as he attempted to escape. Their mistake was to grab his racing jacket – but something had to give. He escaped to a plot in front of a packed grandstand where track staff attempted to fan out, four on each side. Apache surrendered by dropping the lure and awaiting capture. But just as they were to nab him, he grabbed the lure, produced a classy body swerve and headed back to the first bend. His fans went wild. The game lasted a full eight minutes before a whole army of bad guys finally collared their hound much to the disgust of the crowd who began booing. While impressive in its own right, Wimbledon boss Tony James recalled a dog called Mental’s Only Hope who in 1961 once extended the game for 31 minutes. Tony recalls: “When everyone was exhausted and no longer wanted to play, Mentals Only Hope did the decent thing by surrendering with a friendly trail wag.”
1979 17 month old pup Sports Promoter breaks the Cambridge 400 metre track record in the first race of his career. The 62 pound brindle was bred by Mrs M Cole but was whelped down and reared by Pat and Linda Mullins. He is by Pat’s former Derby finalist Breakaway Town out of Kensington Queen, a winner of 14 opens for the Mullins’ family.
1990 The previous year’s Derby finalist Catsrock Rocket falls and breaks his back in a Walthamstow open.
2010 Two former Derby winning trainers dies within days of each other, both aged 77. Arthur Hitch, who sent Tico and Master Hardy to the 1986 Derby forecast, loses a battle with pancreatic cancer. Terry Duggan, who spent his most successful years at Romford, handled the 1982 winner Lauries Panther.
1990 There is a triple dead heat at Tampa track in the USA. Unfortunately for the connections of one of the trio, his racing muzzle came off during the race, or he would have got the verdict by half an inch.
1955 Chubb O’Connor the owner and breeder of the sensational triple Irish Derby winner Spanish Battleship reveals that the dog’s racing career almost took a completely different route. After rearing, the whole litter were due to be sent to trainer Quinn at Eastville, but immediately before their departure, ‘the Battleship’ was bitten by a pig and was left in Ireland to recover. Upon recovery he ran a fantastic qualifying trial and never made the trip. O’Connor also revealed that the ‘Spanish’ prefix came about several years earlier after a whole series of previous names were rejected by the ICC. While on the phone, the Kerry breeder spotted a box containing Spanish marmalade and offered the name out of exasperation. An offer of £15,000 from an American syndicate was rejected for the dog who goes unbeaten through his last 18 races. For the final of the McCalmont Cup at Kilkenny, the record breaking crowd was so huge that over 1,000 spectators had to watch the race from the centre of the circuit. Battleship’s racing career culminates in two four-runner invitations, at Celtic Park and Galway. He wins both and sets a new track record at Galway. He then travels to Romford for an exhibition trial before heading onto White City His final outing, he is now four years and three months old, is a three dog race against Duet Leader and Hi There where he finishes third.
1970 Leading Irish trainer Tom Lynch sends out a 150-1 double in 24 hours when Hey Dizzy’s 25-1 win in the Irish Puppy Derby was followed by Mark Anthony’s 6-1 victory in the Irish St Leger final.
1970 The NGRC remind East Anglian breeders on the importance of inoculations following an outbreak of distemper in the region
1988 Five trainers, all based at Poole have been censured by NGRC stewards for a variety of cases. They are Hamilton (foul language and adopting an aggressive attitude – fined £500), Hicks, Randall, and Keane (time finding) and Blanchard (poor performance).
1973 After eight previous unsuccessful attempts, White City’s Joe Pickering lands the International Derby in Spain. While teams entered from Bord nc gCon and six runners from Seabrook all failed to reach the final, Pickering had three in the decider and finished first and second with new track record holder Ross Royal beating Heath Hall.
1994 The Star ran the following story related by Norton Canes promoter John Preece who needed to speak to one of his regular trainers. However, the phone was answered by the trainer’s three year old son. “Hello, is your dad there?” asked the grader. “Hello Peter” said the lad, “I’ll try and find him.” (“Dad you are wanted on the phone”). “Sorry Peter I can’t find him”. “Don’t worry son, I’ll call him back later” suggested the grader. “Peter, I thought your dog ran well the other night. My dad had one in the race too, but he put him out of the way and backed yours.”