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    Nick Savva: The Esteemed Figure in British Greyhound Racing
Nick Savva: The Esteemed Figure in British Greyhound Racing

Nick Savva: The Esteemed Figure in British Greyhound Racing

Nicholas Savva, or Nick Savva, is widely regarded as the most accomplished and respected greyhound trainer in the United Kingdom. His impressive list of victories includes being a four-time winner of the English Greyhound Derby and a four-time winner of the Trainers' Championship, highlighting just a fraction of his illustrious achievements.

Born in 1934 in Cyprus, Savva moved to London where he developed an interest in horse racing. In 1961, he tied the knot. Natalie Savva became more than a wife; she was a loyal friend and colleague, obtaining a trainer’s license and standing by his side for many years, sharing in both victories and defeats.

The dog kennel, Westmead Kennels, owned by Nick and Natalie Savva, was relatively small, with no more than five litters a year, usually three or four. The consistent success of his students is rooted in the outstanding talent of the coach, high professionalism, and painstaking, tireless work. Many dogs born here were given a name with the Westmead prefix, becoming a mark of quality as a runner and a hallmark of dogs trained by Nick Savva. The largest number of top-class racing sires were bred in his nursery.

In an interview with Greyhound Star, Savva spoke about the reasons for the success of his dogs:

Firstly, greyhounds do not receive any stimulants, much less drugs, to enhance their athletic performance. Secondly, there is no point in putting in a lot of effort and training a dog that needs external motivators to run. Natural runners are the most promising. Even if the dog is weak, if it strives to win, it has a great chance of becoming a champion and producer.

Nick Savva's unique talent lies in his fantastic instinct and understanding of the dog, the so-called “X factor.” According to Nick, the lack of an emotional connection between the trainer and the dog can be the reason for disobedience and sporting failures. Dogs never lie and always express only what they feel. If you understand a dog, you can work with it successfully and get the most out of what it can give.

For example, for no apparent reason, simply by talking with a greyhound, Nick Savva can decide to change the diet, change the regime, or conditions of detention. In Nick's presence, dogs behave differently than with other people; he radiates calmness and goodwill. Thus, in his kennel, he could allow several dogs to play peacefully in a pen without muzzles, although the rules stipulate that no more than two dogs should be in one pen and always wearing muzzles. Nick believes that confidence and determination can also be passed on to a dog from a trainer, as his champion greyhounds prove year after year.

One of the most famous students of Nick Savva, a magnificent athlete and a real fighter - Westmead Hawk, Westmead Hawk. This dog won the English Greyhound Derby twice, in 2006 and 2006, and was also the sire of two English Greyhound Derby winners. He was called the greyhound of the generation and compared to the legendary Mick Miller. There is a replica of “The Hawk” in Madame Tussauds wax museum, and an hour-long documentary was made about it. The Westmead Hawk had his own special way of running; he usually did not lead the race, but in the last meters before the finish, he made a desperate dash, overtaking all the participants and finishing first. It was an unforgettable, very exciting spectacle that elevated him to the rank of People's Champion. Crowds of fans from all over the world came to the competition to see this fantastic finish with their own eyes.

In a 2020 interview with Greyhound Star, Nick Savva listed a few things he wishes he had known early in his coaching career. Consider this a parting word for novice dog trainers.

  • If you do something, do it for the dog, based on its inclinations, without making up unnecessary things. If the dog runs well, leave him alone!
  • No need to take risks before the final! To avoid injury, you need to carefully choose training locations and not overwork the dogs.
  • Be flexible and loyal in many things other than routine and routine. Dogs love predictability and certainty; they want to know when they will be fed and when they will be taken for a walk.
  • Train your greyhounds well to prepare them for competition. Anything can happen, but a trained dog is less likely to get injured.

Despite his advanced age, the famous coach continues his work, alas, without his beloved wife, who recently passed away. With his athletic longevity and special gift for training champions, Nick Savva has earned a brilliant reputation in the world of greyhound racing. His achievements and victories fuel people's interest in greyhound racing, serve as an example and inspire the younger generation of breeders, trainers, and simply greyhound lovers.

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