A greyhound defied the odds to defeat a six-year-old racehorse in a battle of the beasts at Kempton yesterday, finishing well clear of his longer-legged rival in the unlikely contest.
This unusual race was designed to promote two major events this weekend, the Vodafone Derby at Epsom on Saturday, and its greyhound equivalent, the William Hill Derby which takes place at Wimbledon.
The pair battled it out over two furlongs at Kempton Park Racecourse. Tiny Tim, a six-year-old gelding trained by Andrew Balding, set off as odds-on favourite in spite of just one win in his somewhat unremarkable career. Simply Fabulous, a veteran greyhound at eight-years-old, has a career history of 14 wins from 35 starts, was reported not to have raced competitively since November 2002.
The greyhound’s start was significantly quicker and his acceleration speedier, and thereafter, he never lost his lead although his trainer conceded that the length of the race and the dog’s amazing powers of acceleration (0 to 40mph in one second) had played a huge part in the smaller animal’s victory.
Tiny Tim’s trainer Andrew Balding was gracious in defeat, accepting the superiority of the greyhound over this distance, even if he had raced against a “faster” horse:
“In those conditions, I think that the race is always going to be in the dog’s favour,” he said. “Two furlongs is less than half the horse’s optimum distance, and while a dog is designed to chase, a horse is designed to race with other horses, and it has an extra 10% of its bodyweight on its back, in the form of the jockey.
“I think it would be an interesting contest over three furlongs,” he added.