Dog makes mincemeat of horse in battle of the beasts

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The Independent Online

A greyhound called Simply Fabulous was celebrating with his favourite meal of bangers and mash last night after pulling off one of the most unlikely upsets in racing history.

A greyhound called Simply Fabulous was celebrating with his favourite meal of bangers and mash last night after pulling off one of the most unlikely upsets in racing history.

The seven-year-old canine swapped the more familiar territory of Wimbledon and Walthamstow to emerge the victor at Kempton Park racecourse - against a horse.

Early betting placed Tiny Tim, a six-year-old gelding ridden by Fergus Sweeney, a clear favourite to win the 5.45pm race over two furlongs (400 metres) despite only winning one of its last 33 races.

But the dog made the most of its light frame and rapid acceleration to take an early lead and never looked back. It crossed the finish in 23.29 seconds - more than a second faster and around 25 dog lengths clear of its equine challenger - and promptly lunged at the mock "hare" fitted to the trackside for the event.

The dog's trainer Brett Capaldi said: "This greyhound was born to be a champion, and despite the fact that he is claiming his pension now he is more than a match for any long-legged predator. I think the conditions were ideal for us because the greyhound has explosive early speed."

Mr Capaldi readily conceded that the dog was only given a chance by the length of the race and would have easily been overtaken by the horse - with longer legs and superior stamina - if the course had been lengthened even by a furlong.

The race was staged as a forerunner to the biggest events in the horse and dog racing calendar on Saturday - the Epsom Derby and the Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon.

Andrew Balding, trainer of Tiny Tim, said conditions had not been favourable for his horse, which had been fitted with blinkers in order to cut from his vision the sight of his "feisty miniature rival".

Tiny Tim is trained at the famous Park House Stables in Kingsclere, Berkshire and his recent successes include a win at Brighton on 4 May. His canine challenger, trained in Reading, has 14 wins out of 35 starts under his collar.

A further challenge to equine pride will come a week on Saturday when 40 horses and riders will take on 300 human runners over a 22-mile course in the Horse Marathon at Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales. In the previous 24 runnings of the race four legs have always beaten two but two years ago there was under a minute between them.

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