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    From Underdog To Champion
From Underdog To Champion
Farneys Willie (T3) wins the ARC Grand Prix from Savana Heross (T1) - pic Tony Brealey. Source: greyhoundstar.co.uk

From Underdog To Champion

On March 3rd, Farneys Willie marked the beginning of a new chapter for Richard Wales, who had recently acquired his racing license. Purchased for a modest sum from Norfolk handler Kevin Boon, Willie made his debut in a heat of the Queen Mother Cup at Sheffield. Starting at 7/1 odds, the blue brindle suffered a setback at the first bend and trailed behind, ultimately being outpaced by Savana Heross, who went on to clinch victory in the final.

Their paths crossed once again on Friday night, this time in the final of the ARC Grand Prix at Sunderland. What followed was remarkable.

Clocking in at 39.33, Willie's winning time was just seven spots shy of the year's fastest 640, showcasing a significant improvement from his previous races where his times ranged from 40.34 to 39.53.

This triumph marked a significant milestone for the Wales family, who boast a rich history in greyhound racing.

Reflecting on their journey, Richard shared, “My dad (Trevor) held a license a few years back and had a notable dog called Markeys Star (3rd in the 2008 National Sprint). However, our experience has primarily been in smaller circuits like Highgate, Whitwood, Kinsley, and more recently, Askern. When Askern closed down, we decided to obtain a license again, and what ensued has been nothing short of extraordinary.”

As the manager of a boarding kennel, Richard is constantly surrounded by dogs, and he maintains a philosophical outlook on their newfound success.

He explained, “Kevin Boon put him up for sale, and based on his form, it was evident that Willie was a promising contender. Despite not securing as many victories as expected, he consistently competed in strong fields. We decided to take a chance on him.”

Despite some initial adjustments, Willie settled in well under Richard's care, showcasing a steady improvement in performance.

Looking ahead, Willie's next appearance will likely be at Sheffield for the 'Three Steps'. Who knows, perhaps another encounter with Heross awaits?

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