A veteran greyhound trainer whose kennel star notched her thirteenth victory in succession on Saturday has high hopes of progressing to within one race of a major final this weekend.
Dave Lee has been training greyhounds for over 30 years and first connected with the sport as a child in the 1950s.
The 78-year-old has never reached a Category One final – the highest grade of UK greyhound racing – in that time. But that could be about to change when Laughill Jess runs in Round Two of the Premier Greyhound Racing Oaks at Perry Barr Stadium in Birmingham.
The two-year-old black and white bitch is on the most successful run of any greyhound in the world after she extended her streak to 13 wins in a row when holding off Leighas Dream by a short-head in the competition’s opening round.
Win number 14 could come at 8.06pm on Saturday when she takes on Queen Shakira, Baywatch Bullet, Rosshill Dana and Home Bronagh in Heat Three where the top trio to complete the 480m trip will advance to the Oaks Semi Finals.
Dave revealed his special dog’s achievement almost never happened owing to some untimely superstition. But the Epping-based trainer is pleased to be in the mix of reaching of his first Category One final after over 60 years in the sport.
“I’m not a superstitious person by any means,” said Dave. “But we almost didn’t enter her in the Oaks because we thought race 13 would be the one where her unbelievable run could end.
“Thankfully it didn’t and even at my age of 78 the dream of being a Category One champion lives on.
“She ran really well on Saturday and showed lots of determination to win when it looked like she might get pipped at the post. We’d expect her to improve in Round Two as she’s now more familiar with the Perry Barr track and she has a draw which can work in her favour.
“We knew from the moment she arrived in the kennel this spring that she had ability and she’s been a wonderful greyhound for us since. Fingers crossed we can keep the run going!”
Also progressing to Round Two were locally trained pair Rosshill Dana and Swift Paloma from the John Lambe kennel while Connor Smith’s Home Bronagh booked her Round Two spot as well.
Competition favourite Queen Joni justified her position at the head of the market when storming to an eight-length victory in Heat Five in 27.90 seconds – the fastest Round One qualifying time.
The two Irish runners Droopys Mandolin and Droopys Ailsa also qualified.
Round Two of the Premier Greyhound Racing Oaks at Perry Barr Stadium begins at 6.59pm on Saturday, October 14. Doors open at 5.30pm and tickets are available to purchase online by clicking here or will be available on the door on the night.
Heat One: Whats Up Eva, Droopys Fidget, Coonough Crow, Cashen Eliza, Antigua Bingo, Allowdale Cazoo.
Heat Two: Queen Georgia, Havana Bale Out, Droopys Mandolin, Charming Girl, Keane, Leighas Dream.
Heat Three: Queen Shakira, Baywatch Bullet, Rosshill Dana, Laughill Jess, Home Bronagh.
Heat Four: Droopys Request, Droopys Ailsa, Queen Joni, Deacon Blitz, Crossfield Maxi, No Rush.
Heat Five: Lakeside Lady, Dapper Lana, Betsys Bullet, Ballymac Astra, Freedom Vesta, Ballyhimikin Mel.
Heat Six: Kilbarry Meadows, Starshinestunner, Whitings New Era, Jet Stream Angel, Swift Paloma, Bellmore Lola.