1996 Indepependent St Helens is used for the filming of an episode of new BBC drama Common As Muck. Belle Vue boss John Gilburn had refused to allow the cameras to film at his track due to the story line of the programme. In a star studded cast which includes Edward Woodward and June Whitfield, the lead character played by Roy Hudd, attaches chewing gum to a dog’s feet in a race nobbling attempt designed to clear a debt with a loan shark.
1959 White City are claiming the first four-coloured dog in training. King Puck is registered as being ‘four coloured’. He is described as “predominantly white, with some fawn on his back with red and brindle on his head” thus he is recorded as ‘w r, f bd’
1969 Bookie Dougie Tyler produces his ante post prices for the St Leger. It is headed by 3-1 chance Cash For Dan. Eventual winner Crefogue Dancer is a 33-1 chance.
1996 Track promoters vetoed a plan for ten programmes on SKY Sports Two which would cost the tracks £10,000 per meeting, before the additional cost of feature open racing. Spokesman Clive Feltham said: “For that we were to be put on SKY Sports 2, not the main sports channels with an estimated audience of 200,000 viewers. Quite frankly we don’t see ourselves paying to go on TV, particularly not for such a small audience. If it had been major network TV for £10,000 we would have jumped at it like a shot. But we’ve been taking advice from various experts in the field and we only see it as a matter of time before TV comes to us. Digital TV is just around the corner and there are a multitude of different channels who will be crying out for sport of all types. I’m not saying that we can go around demanding big fees, but we certainly wouldn’t expect to be paying for the privilege of supplying the product.”
1973 Belle Vue appoints its first female trainer – Jean Day, former head girl to Stan Mitchell. Unfortunately, she lasts only two months before being forced to give up due to ill health. Her position will be taken by Leo Branagh and his wife who will soon leave her position in charge of running the GRA’s greyhound hospital at Northaw.
1984 Not before time, the 1981 Irish Stud Book goes on sale. Sand Man was the leading sire with 138 litters
1969 West Ham attract their biggest crowd since the previous year’s Cesarewitch final when staging a top class open race card for ‘Ladies Night’. There is only one 525 yard event, a high class event won by Valiant Ray. The remaining seven races include two 550 yard opens, a 550 hurdle with the country’s top two hurdlers Sherrys Prince and Tonys Friend in opposition, plus opens over 660, 700, 880 and 1,112 yards.
1969 Portsmouth open a memorial fund for popular local trainer Charlie Curtis (George’s brother) who was killed in a car accident while returning from an open race at Crayford. Within 24 hours, the fund stands at £600. Within a week, a memorial meeting at Crayford had raised a further £820. The proceeds are bumped up by the purchase of two donated pups in an auction by bookies Tony Morris and John Humphreys. They both donate their pups to a raffle to be held at the next meeting which raised a further £280. Portsmouth also make plans for a memorial meeting whereby all proceeds, the complimentary turnstile will be closed for the night, will go to Charlie’s widow and three daughters. The final figure raised was £3,300 (roughly £48,000 at today’s rates).
1989 Water shortages and hosepipe bans are causing problems throughout the country. Least affected are Hove who are offered 3,000 gallons of untreated water by the local water authority.
1974 The Dundalk International saw the first no-race due to mechanical failure. Although Derby winner Lively Band had led first time up, he failed in the re-run won by Nelsons Blast in 30.30. Twelve years later there was repeat incident. This time, connections of Lodge Prince refused the re-run and it was left to Colin Packham’s Mollifrend Lucky (Lauries Panther-Top Princess) to beat Burnpark Pat, Murlens Slippy, Newbrook Stoney and Master Hardy in 29.60.
1996 Trainer Liz Redpath, who is contracted to supply runners at Portsmouth and Wembley, has runners for both teams in an inter-track race between the pair. Her Wembley runner Whitewood Penny won the race; her Pompey runner finished fifth.
1952 The brilliant British bred Rushton Smutty is retired after damaging a hock in the Laurels. Owned and bred by Mr & Mrs Johnson from Traporley in Cheshire, the son of Mad Tanist and Summer Frock ran briefly for Jack Harvey, winning the 1950 Trafalgar Cup and Puppy Derby. He rejoined his owners for whom he ran third in the 1951 English Derby and won the Scottish Derby, Northern Flat, Midland Flat, Chelsea Cup, Edinburgh Cup, Stewards Grand Prix, Critchley Memorial and was beaten a short head in the Pall Mall. He was voted 1951 Greyhound of the Year.