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    Flying Winner: Marathon Legend and True Champion
Flying Winner: Marathon Legend and True Champion
Flying Winner. Source: Greyhound Board of Great Britain

Flying Winner: Marathon Legend and True Champion

Flying Winner will always be celebrated as one of the exceptional marathon performers – further solidifying her status as an excellent dog.

Under the guidance of Chris Lund from West Yorkshire, Flying Winner, who Harry Findlay acquired for his associates, showcased an impressive array of performances on the racecourse that perfectly mirrored Findlay's enthusiasm off the track. Trained for proprietors Grant Devenish and Glen Gill, Flying Winner proved to be a true standout.

A vibrant and charismatic individual, Findlay had a reputation in greyhound circles as an impressive bettor and had a prominent connection with another renowned staying greyhound from the past, Chiquita Banana, alongside John 'Ginger' McGee.

He was also widely recognised in horse racing circles for owning Denman, the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Denman's victory over Kauto Star at the Festival in 2008 brought Findlay into the spotlight and established him as a relatable figure among the public.

Nevertheless, greyhounds were always his primary passion—and arguably the finest one he possessed achieved the same level of success as her equine counterpart in 2008 with her career-defining triumph, winning the 2008 TV Trophy Final at Doncaster.

Like Chiquita Banana, also known as "Cheekie," Flying Winner commanded a large and enthusiastic audience wherever she competed, especially in Findlay. Flying Winner exceeded all expectations with Lund's expert direction and the devoted backing of shareholder Devenish.

Connections traversed the whole nation, winning races and putting on spectacular shows. No matter where she went, she left behind an upbeat, energetic vibe and a record for herself. The 2008 GBGB Bitch and Marathon Performer of the Year awards were her just desserts.

In October 2005, Flying Winner was born to Flying Penske and Wise Winner. Pat Dalton started this exceptional greyhound's career as a race dog with the help of a famous handler from Golden County Tipperary. She started off competing over Harolds' Cross's four curves, but she soon advanced to Shelbourne Park's six bends, which are much more challenging. He posed a far more significant obstacle.

Although the brilliant young dog did not make it to the finals of the IGB National 750, he showed encouraging growth in the semi-finals, where he competed. His debut at the Dublin headquarters in the competition's warmup was stunning. Following that, Dalton decided to enter her at a different 750-yard stakes event held in Clonmel.

Flying Winner. Source: Greyhound Star
Flying Winner. Source: Greyhound Star

Flying Winner’s Victories Were Inevitable

Flying Winner was indeed on a winning run, as evidenced by the fact that he continued to dazzle with two triumphs, one of which resulted in a new track being used in the final. One additional win came at Clonmel when they emerged victors in both the heat and the final. This victory came after they had already achieved success at Cork. Participants in the National Meeting from the United Kingdom had assembled in the city, and the crowd was packed with passionate supporters from that country.

The allegations against Dalton, who was much respected in both the United States of America and Ireland, have been entirely debunked. From the beginning, he had a great deal of admiration for her, since she had successfully combined the best American and Irish bloodlines to produce the most tenacious and long-lasting strain in the sport. This endeavour has been fruitful.

When she debuted professionally on March 10, 2008, over 680 metres, at Nottingham, she had a good start in the UK. She then went on to win six-bend races, further demonstrating her impressive form. The audience was captivated by her distinctive sprinting technique, in which she went from last to first.

"Flying Winner may not have been as exceptional as Scurlogue, but she possessed her unique qualities," Birch noted on this remarkable female dog.  With the help of the Sky Sports sensors, she proved her dominance by winning the 695-metre Coral Regency event at Hove.

Afterwards, Flying Winner was assigned the goal of competing in the TV Trophy at Doncaster. As her fame soared and her winning streak continued, the time had come for her to tackle the challenge of running longer distances. Trainer Lund carefully selected Walthamstow as the venue for her inaugural eight-bend race.

Her dominant victory showcased her potential as a marathon runner, impressing the spectators at the renowned east London track with a commanding 13-length lead. Her booth had been arranged, and a receptive and well-informed Stow audience greeted a fresh sensation.

Prior to the 2008 TV Trophy at Doncaster, the talented Midway Skipper, trained by Henry Chalkley, had emerged as a strong contender. A victory in the heat race solidified her status as the favourite for the final, which was broadcast live on Sky.

In spite of facing some obstacles along the way, Flying Winner showed great determination and finished strongly to secure victory, leaving Midway Skipper behind and establishing a new track record for the 868m distance. The Yorkshire-based greyhound continued to impress in the final, crossing the finish line a remarkable ten lengths ahead of the competition.

Sensational Results

What about the time? An impressive 55.82 seconds, yet another record broken on the track.

She went on to win further races, including one that was a benefit for the Dundalk International. Furthermore, she set yet another outstanding record in Nottingham. Her St. Leger campaign was tragically cut short by an injury. She took a beating in  Wimbledon's preliminary matches and didn't make it past the first round.

Flying Winner showcased its exceptional talent by dominating the Ted Hegarty Marathon, a race that took place across the Irish Sea. The remarkable greyhound triumphed in the final, leaving its competitors trailing behind by a staggering 17 lengths. Once again, Flying Winner shattered the track record, solidifying its reputation as a true champion.

Flying Winner. Source: Greyhound Board of Great Britain
Flying Winner. Source: Greyhound Board of Great Britain

In 2009, Lund carefully selected races for his beloved greyhound, and once again, her exceptional talent was evident, especially when she matched the record for the longest track distance at Monmore.

She won 21 of the 32 races that she competed in in the United Kingdom, which is a genuinely outstanding performance and accomplishment on the track. After Flying Winner had returned to her breeder Dalton, she was filled with excitement at the prospect of repeating her previous successes in the breeding paddocks she had previously achieved. In fact, she surpassed every single expectation.

The impact of Flying Winner can still be seen in the bloodlines of elite greyhounds, especially those that excel in longer distances.

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