Terry Dash recalls the day Duleek Dandy won the Greyhound Derby
On the morning of 26th June 1960 Meldreth residents woke to the news that Duleek Dandy, a greyhound owned by Vicky Dash and trained at Westacre, Whitecroft Road by Bill Dash, had won the Greyhound Derby at London’s White City.
The result was totally unexpected as the previous winner, Mile Bush Pride, was in trap one and was a hot favourite. In the weeks leading up to the race Duleek Dandy was often seen being exercised along Whitecroft Road and in the orchards of Chiswick Farm by Bert Dash, brother of Bill. Like most greyhounds, Duleek Dandy was a friendly dog and in winning such a prestigious race put Meldreth to the forefront of the greyhound world in 1960.
Malcolm Woods gives the story behind the win
|Duleek Dandy (4)
|Clonalvy Romance (5)
|Mile Bush Pride (1)
|Wheatfield Swan (2)
|Clonalvy Pride (3)
Duleek Dandy, a 25-1 shot despite being the Trafalgar Cup Champion, was to be the biggest price winner in the Derby’s 80-year history. Owned by Vicky Dash and trained by husband Bill, Duleek Dandy turned second behind Clonalvy Pride and took over by the third bend. The favourite, Mile Bush Pride, had turned third and remained in that position behind the 29.15 seconds winner.
Great excitement welcomed the start of the competition with most believing that Mile Bush Pride, who had won the previous year’s event and the majority of other competitions he had entered, would win for a second consecutive year. Some thought that Pigalle Wonder would regain his former brilliance, but few expected the shocks of the early rounds. First, Pigalle was eliminated after being badly baulked at the first bend, and then Mile Bush was beaten by his kennelmate, Clonalvy Pride. In the second round the brilliance returned to Mile Bush with a scintillating nine length victory in 28.63.
In the first semi-final the doubters returned as Mile Bush was drawn in an unfavourable 5 box and, as expected, missed his break in a bid to reach the required rails position. Kennelmate Clonalvy Pride once again got the upper hand after a slick break and led Mile Bush by a good four lengths. Although he ran on strongly he could not peg back the early leader and even had a tussle with Gorey Airways before getting passed him. The final qualifying spot went to Wheatfield Swan and the winning time was 28.67. The second semi did not command the same interest or excitement and went to litter brother Clonalvy Romance. He led early and was never troubled, coming home 4¾ lengths ahead of runner up Duleek Dandy in a less than impressive 28.91, with Caramilk back in third.
The draw provided Mile Bush Pride with a favourable inside box and he was confidently made the 4/5 favourite with Clonalvy Pride clear next best at 2/1. As the traps lifted it was Clonalvy Romance that led and went clear from Duleek Dandy with Mile Bush Pride a disappointing fifth. As they went down the far side Duleek Dandy gradually made up ground on the leader and Mile Bush started to make his move. By the time they reached the third bend Duleek Dandy had got on terms with Clonalvy and Mile Bush was starting to threaten. The pivotal moment came as Clonalvy tired near the rails and Mile Bush refused to go around on the outside. This provided Duleek Dandy just enough of a lead in the home straight and he hung on by 2¼ lengths in a slow 29.15. Mile Bush could not even pass Clonalvy before the line and finished a length adrift.
This article first appeared in Meldreth Matters in June 2010.
More information on Duleek Dandy can be found by visiting the Duleek Dandy website compiled by Greg Dash.