1950 Haverbrack Martin’s return to racing is being closely followed by veterinary experts and owners alike. The Walthamstow grader is one of the first greyhounds to have a broken hock treated by inserting and screwing a surgical plate. The work is carried out by the Royal Veterinary College.
2015 Mark Wallis breaks one of his own records when he sends out 10 open race winners on the same day, seven at Towcester and three at Henlow.
1947 Greyhound Owner goes on sale for the first time. It is only available on subscription – 8 shillings for three months.
1963 Irish 525 yard track records: Celtic Park-True Picture (28.97), Clones-True Picture (29.90), Clonmel-The Grand Fire (29.90), Cork-Wandering Sailor (29.20), Dumore-Coolkill Hero (29.02), Derry-Prisona Lauth (29.58), Enniscorthy-Laurdella Major (29.75), Harolds X-Skips Choice (29.25), Kilkenny-Fourth Of July (29.30), Limerick-Cresta (29.65), Shelbourne Park-Prince Of Bermuda (28.98), Thurles-General Courtnowski (29.40).
1981 Swift Band, the dog who will become the first of Charlie Lister’s 11 East Anglian Derby winners is sold for 1,000 guineas at Shelbourne sales.
2000 Wayne Wrighting is granted a temporary training licence as his guvnor Gordon Hodson battles cancer.
1949 The NGRC issue a new definition of ‘English bred’. (Not ‘British’ bred!). To qualify a pup must have been born in either England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland AND its dam having been registered in the Greyhound Stud Book.
1952 A meeting of track owners are informed that a mechanism for automatically opening the starting traps which most rejected as being too expensive – at £115 – has been operating at Romford and Dagenham for three years. In over 5,000 races it has failed twice.
2013 After initially dismissing claims of a fraudulent race at Dundalk two years earlier, the Irish Greyhound Board accept the findings of a report, produced by former NGRC chief Frank Melville, into the alleged use of a ‘ringer’. The case concerned a 13 length win by a greyhound racing as Mays Hurryonboy. “The new investigation revealed discrepancies in the markings of the greyhound in question as recorded by the photo finish and those recorded in the official identity card. Furthermore, among other things, it revealed how the Race Management System (its central database used by tracks) was manipulated to undermine industry regulations.”
1994 The last race at Canterbury is void due to seven runners taking part. Pineham Choice, beaten in an earlier race, escaped from the carpark, cleared the outside fence and made a second attempt at victory.
1975 Gayline, who was rated one of the fastest pups at Dunmore, where he won four consecutive races, is an impressive winner of the Coursing Derby at Clonmel. Mary McGrath’s white and black was ante post favourite for the event and was ‘no odds’ to take the final. Gayline is Newdown Heather’s fifth Coursing Derby winner in seven years.
1994 Bill Maynard, otherwise known as Claude Greengrass in the TV programme, Heartbeat, presents the trophies at a meeting at his local track at Whitwood.
2002 The GTA announce that they are compiling a trainers contract. It will set out the terms and conditions and should be signed by owners and trainers.
1968 Former hurdle star Bolshoi Prince returns to the flat to land the £100 Veterans Championship race at Wimbledon. It is the final outing for the Phil Rees trained fawn who is six years and four months old. The dog, who has won over £4,000 in prize money, is retired to the sofa of his dentist owner Harry Seed.
1959 Clare Orton has his first winner at Wimbledon after taking over from his father Sidney.
1972 Trainer Charlie Coyle is fined £20 by the NGRC for ’time finding’ in an open race. The stewards took exception after Coyle’s Doreens Dolores had won a Catford stayers open by nearly nine lengths. The well backed 2-1 favourite recorded 35.48 for the 610 yards, just five days after trialling in 36.80. Swindon trainer M Hunt was disqualified for six months at the same session. No details were given of Mr Hunt’s misdemeanour who was tried under rule 174 (g) which states the stewards “have the power at any NGRC inquiry to disqualify and/or warn off any person, without necessarily assigning a reason for so doing”.
1949 Walthamstow take possession of 15 new greyhounds, none of whom have ever seen an artificial lure before having come from the coursing fields.
1993 Murlens Abbey is declared the 1992 Greyhound of the Year. Kildare Slippy gets the Best British bred award and Westmead Move is dam of the year. John Coleman gets the ‘personality’ award.
2018 Derby winner Astute Missile clocks 28.16 in a comeback trial at Towcester seven months after breaking a broken hock. However the 480m run in only the eighth fastest time of the session with Bruisers Bullet quickest in 27.87. Seamus Cahill’s Missile is unsuccessful in two comeback races and is retired a fortnight later.
1975 Bord na gCon purchase Limerick track. They now own half of Ireland’s 18 greyhound stadia.
1983 Bookmakers introduce a new BAGS formula designed to reduce returns on winning favourites in forecasts by up to 17%.
1986 Bookmakers are roundly vilified after amending the computer forecast tote formula to reduce the returns to betting shop punters. It is the third alteration in two years.
2000 Hereward Carter, son of Sheffield general manager Jon, and a familiar face and pair of hands at the track, dies following a car accident. He was just short of his 21st birthday.
1951 Brigadier-General Critchley reveals that the majority of greyhounds entering the GRA’s nine tracks are now bred by the company themselves. The project, which began as an experiment in 1934, now produces 320 greyhounds per year at the company’s rearing establishments in England and Ireland. Of those, 272 are expected to make it to the track “a surprisingly high number in relation to the number whelped.” Colonel Critchley stated that it was “never the attempt to cut out the small man” but he noted the “partial eclipse of the small breeder owing to the economic difficulties.” All the greyhounds are schooled at the GRA kennels at Horley and are advertised for sale once graded. Critchley accepts that “comparatively few champions among the huge aggregate of racers produced”. The exceptions are Derby winners Greta Renee and ‘wartime substitute’ Derby winner GR Archduke. For this he blamed limited access, via the small Naas kennel, or financial burden of using the top Irish stud dogs. His figures reveal that the leading British based dog Rimmells Black was responsible for £5,200 in major event prize money. That compared unfavourably with the leading Irish sires, notably Mad Tanist (£19,000), Bellas Prince (£8,300) and the British bred Bahs Choice (£7,800).
2002 The GTA are struggling to fill the sixth place for the Trainers Championship meeting. The place would have gone to John McGee who is suspended. Next in line, Owen McKenna is ineligible having moved to Ireland and Nick Savva turns it down due to a lack of runners. Elaine Parker then agrees to field a team.
1968 The lifting of the ban of greyhound movement due to Foot and Mouth allows a top quality bunch of Irish dogs to be entered in Hackney Sales. Despite all dogs being restricted to sprints, over £8,500 changed hands on the day. However, the dog that had attracted the most pre-sale attention, Creamery Pat, was beaten in his trial and failed to reach his reserve. Jack Mullan’s dog had previously won the Dunmore Puppy Cup and reached the semi finals of the Coursing Derby.
1936 February 14 The Golden Jubilee Crufts Dog Show at Agricultural Hall, Islington, is attended by the founder Charles Cruft, now aged 84. It draws a record entry of 10,650 of which 51 are greyhounds.
1994 One of Ireland’s most successful stud keepers, John ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick, announces his retirement to “concentrate on my golf swing”. Best known as the handler of Sand Man, The Portlaoise dog man also bred Nick Savva’s star Flashy Sir.
1972 February 2 Litter brother and sister, Westpark Onion and Westpark Mustard both white and black by Newdown Heather out of April Merry, meet in the Longcross Cup Final over 725 yards at London White City. The £300 and trophy goes to the 4/11 favourite Westpark Mustard, who b eats Heavy Sleeper and litter brother Onion easily by six lengths and in 41.03 on going rated .70 slow. This is win number five in Mustard’s 20 win sequence.
1986 Hove are claiming a record pay-out for a jackpot, for a 20p tote unit – a few pence short of £17K
1954 Crayford finally resume trials after a fortnight’s break due to their peat racing surface being unsafe due to severe frost. It is very unusual for the track to be unraceable due to the overhead roofing.
1963 February 9 The founder of greyhound racing in Britain, Brigadier-General Alfred Cecil Critchley, died at his Wentworth, Surrey home on Saturday, just two weeks away from his 73rd birthday. ‘Critch’ became involved with greyhound racing when shown pictures of greyhounds chasing a mechanical lure in Oklahoma City. In 1926, he joined up with the hare’s inventor, the American Charles Munn, and Sir William Gentle and built Belle Vue stadium, which duly staged it first meeting on July 24 of that year. Within a year, their hugely successful company, GRA was building stadiums throughout Britain. Despite teething problems with the hare, which even made the front pages of the national newspapers, London White City became the industry’s focal point. Soon after opening, it built up a sequence of more than 50 consecutive meetings where the attendance was in excess of 40,000. However, greyhound racing, played just one part in the life a remarkable human being. Born in Calgary, he came to England in 1908 and joined the army. He was a cavalry lieutenant at the start of the 1914-18 war, and a brigadier general at the end of it – and he was still only 28. He was wounded twice, was mentioned in despatches and received the DSO and CMG. He then learned to fly and was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps rising to the rank of Air Commodore. He organised the training of RAF aircrews and later received the CBE. ‘Critch’ was also an amazing athlete. He won a Canadian Boxing Championship, won the Western Canada, one-mile, and half-mile races, two years in a row. He played polo for Canada and was runner-up in the Mexican Golf Championship. In addition to his hand-on role with GRA, he was Director-General of BOAC, and also had a spell as an MP. Following his death, the sport’s good and great lined up to pay their respects. The great Sidney Orton first met Critchley at that historic Belle Vue meeting. He said of Critchley: “He struck me as the most charming man I ever met. And he never changed throughout all the years I knew him. “He was known as ‘Critch’ to everyone, but to us greyhound trainers, he was, and remained always, ‘The Guvnor’. GRA managing director and former Battle of Britain flying ace Laddie Lucas said of Critchley: “He was one of the most remarkable composite figures of our time. His drive and the colourfulness and originality of his mind made him one of the legendary figures of the century.”