The Greyhound Derby is the oldest and most prestigious race in the entirety of the sport, and every owner and trainer make it their goal to win the sought-after trophy each and every year. No one has had more success than trainer Charlie Lister, who won the Derby a record seven times between 1997 and 2013.
However, whilst trainers landing multiple victories throughout their career is fairly common, greyhounds winning more than one renewal of the Derby is much more of a rarity. In fact, in the race’s rich history, which spans back nearly 100 years, just five greyhounds have won the race successively.
So, as Deerjet Sydney, who was well backed by those who bet on greyhound racing, failed to etch his name in the history books and land back-to-back victories in the race, faring no better than third at Towcester earlier this month, let’s take a look back at those who have won successive races.
1929-30 – Mick the Miller
Mick the Miller was the first greyhound to win successive renewals of the Greyhound Derby. Trained in Dublin by Paddy Horan, the dog won the third edition of the race at White City Stadium, which was built for the 1908 Summer Olympics, in 1929. Just four dogs ran in the race, but it wasn’t without controversy, as Mick the Miller knocked Entomb over at the first bend and the race was later declared a no race, which did not fare well with the connections of Beadsman. 30 minutes later, the race was re-run, and Mick the Miller came out on top, beating Palatinus by three lengths.
Now trained at Wimbledon by Sidney Orton, it was another three-length victory for Mick the Miller in 1930. Around 50,000 people attended White City for the meeting and the famous Derby roar spans back to this race, a tradition that still takes place to this day.
1972-73 – Patricias Hope
It was over 40 years before another greyhound won back-to-back renewals of the Greyhound Derby. Patricias Hope went into the 1972 finale as a 7/1 shot, with Super Rory the odds-on favourite. However, the latter got off to a poor start due to the Derby roar, and Patricias Hope took advantage, beating Bally Lander (16/1) and Micks Pride (25/1), who were second and third respectively, with ease.
Despite her victory in ’72, Patricias Hope entered the 1973 edition as the third favourite behind Say Little (6/4F) and Forest Noble (3/1). However, she did well to avoid crowding at the first bend, taking the lead on the outside. Softly (12/1), Say Little and Forest Noble applied the pressure late on, but Patricias Hope held on to win by just half-a-length.
2000-01 – Rapid Ranger
Now held at Wimbledon Stadium, Rapid Ranger ended an almost 30-year wait for a third greyhound to win back-to-back renewals of the Derby. The Lister-trained dog was the 7/4 favourite heading into the 2000 edition of the race, and Rapid Ranger held off the challenges from the likes of Rackethall Jet (7/1), Greenfield Deal (7/1) and Deerfield Sunset (2/1) to win rather easily.
In 2001, Rapid Ranger was knocked off his perch as the favourite by Sonic Flight. However, the Nick Saava-trained dog ran into trouble at the first bend and despite making up some ground to get back into second, it was another straight forward victory for Rapid Ranger.
2005-06 – Westmead Hawk
There wasn’t to be another long wait for a fifth dual winner of the Derby, as just four years after Rapid Ranger’s double triumph, Westmead Hawk reigned triumphant in successive years. The greyhound set off at the 5/4 favourite, but after a poor start to the race, he found himself at the back of the field. However, he seemed to find a second wind, and after kicking up a gear, he surpassed the leaders to nab the lead right before the line.
It was a similar story for Westmead Hawk in 2006. This time, Saava’s dog set off as the odds-on favourite at 4/7. However, he found himself trailing Mineola Farloe at the final bend. But, another late burst of speed provided a thrilling finish to the race, and Westmead Hawk had enough in the tank to take over the leader and land successive victories.