1946 Popular publication Greyhound Breeder, which amalgamated with Greyhound Breeder to form a paper that would be popular with racing folk for the next half century, ran an interesting an interesting article about the staging of the first greyhound race. It claimed that the origin of track racing could be equally traced back to a coursing meeting in the early 19th century as to that famous event at Welsh Harp in 1876. While acknowledging that the Hendon event was behind a mechanical lure, it was only for two dogs who went from slips. Earlier in the century, at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, “a sweepstakes of a novel character” took place at Ashdown Park, Lambourn. The report reads: “A trap containing a hare was sunk in the ground. At a certain distance from which the dogs were stationed in a row, each held in hand by a servant, and each wearing a riband of a determinate colour, to distinguish him by. The hare being started, the (six) dogs were all at once let loose, and the dog which first reached the hare was the winner.” Incidentally, the article was written by a recently demobbed serviceman by the name of Harry Carpenter (yes THAT Harry Carpenter).
1966 Paddy Milligan is voted Trainer of the Year by the Greyhound Writers Association. His most prolific winner was Dusty Trail (Printers Present-Dolores Daughter, Jun 64) who collects the Greyhound of the Year award. His victories included the Scottish Derby, Pall Mall, Anglo-Irish, Gymcrack, Select, and the International, plus a ten race winning sequence. Bought as a puppy for £80, the dog had collected over £5,700 in prize money (index lined to around £87,000 today). Milligan’s prize includes £50 cash and a dinner hosted by the NGRC. Portsmouth trainer George Curtis receives a special recommendation from the panel. Other canine award winners went to Breaches Blizzard and Cons Duke, who shared the top British bred award though Rutland born Blizzard was also voted Bitch of the Year. Grand National winner Halfpenny King received an award as top hurdler.
2003 Shelbourne Park punters are convinced they have seen a new superstar when Premier Fantasy wins the Comerford Cakes National Puppy Stakes Final at Shelbourne Park. The Seamus Graham trained dog clocks 28.58. The consolation is won in identical time by the 4-7fav who had been confidently tipped to win the main event prior to the semis – Droopys Scholes. Both dogs would feature very strongly in the English Derby six months hence. Droopys Shearer (10-1) is the ante post favourite.
1933 December 30 and trainer Stan Biss is just £83 short of a unique £10,000 won in a single year (index linked to £661,000). He has won runner at the year’s final meeting and duly sees Queen of the Suir win the £125 Orient Cup.
1949 Gastro-enteritis is sweeping the country with many greyhounds dying an meetings cancelled. The chief suspect, at a time of rationing, is the condemned meat that is fed to the greyhounds and the rusk that is made from condemned flour.
2009 Wimbledon staged one of the track’s most dramatic nights in years. The highlight was a high class Oaks final which featured Freedom Emma. The 7-1 chance had contested the first round heats the day after owner Stuart Locke-Hart’s funeral. Showing great early pace she led to the final stride before being beaten a head by the impressive Shaws Dilemma in 28.52. Both hounds went narrowly quicker than Irish runner Newlawn Class who beat the current ante post Derby favourite Eye Onthe Flash in a supporting open in 28.58. Meanwhile over the 460 metre trip saw a new track record of 27.29 set by Ardbeg Kate and then equalled by Yahoo Jamie.
1950 A Sunday newspaper runs the story of greyhound racing’s new betting scam. It involves punters placing money in credit with credit SP offices, for which there is no betting tax, and then punting with those funds on-course and being paid out in cash.
1950 Mad Tanist utterly dominates the British open race sire’s table. The Irish based son of Tanist finishes the year with 163 open race winners. He is followed by 67-Bahs Choice, 55-Smartly Fergus, 34-Bellas Prince and 33 Trevs Perfecttion, the highest placed UK based sire.
1946 Racing managers are still coming to terms with photo finish technology. The Clapton grader, having called for a print to determine the winner of a race, then asked for a second print to determine the runner-up. It was of course precisely the same photograph.