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    The Four Stages Of Positive Despair
The Four Stages Of Positive Despair
CHURCHFIELD SYD Photo: © Steve Nash

The Four Stages Of Positive Despair

Richard Rees has been speaking about the four stages that he and his family have gone through since being notified at the weekend of the positive test for Winter Derby winner Churchfield Syd.

He said: “The first reaction was being absolutely stunned. It was like the ground being taken from beneath you. We were just in a daze; it was hard to take in.

“That was followed by ‘what’s the point?’ ‘Do we really want to stay in the game or jack it in and do something else?’

“The third stage was suddenly feeling very angry that we had done nothing wrong. We knew we hadn’t but felt like we were being robbed. Strangely enough, it wasn’t about us, or the owners, the title or even the prize money. Honestly it wasn’t. I was most angry for the dog as stupid as that seems.

“He had done his best and was going to be robbed of something that he had rightly earned. Even Rab McNair said to me that in his mind, Syd had won that final.

“But the fourth stage was being overcome by the response we have received. So many people got in touch wanting to give their support. Some of them – like former Simon Harris (ex-RM Wimbledon) who I hadn’t spoken to in years – but offering to be a character witness for the inquiry.

“I can’t tell you how much that meant. For so many people to put themselves out and tell us that they know we aren’t cheats. It has made the whole thing so much easier to deal with. I can’t thank them enough.”

Bizarrely, Churchfield Syd almost didn’t compete in the final.

Richard said: “We had the worst sickness in the kennel that I can ever remember. It is one of those things that you get used to over years. Maybe six or eight dogs going down with it at a time. We had 25. It was unbelievable.

“The symptoms were weird too. You tend to get three main symptoms with sickness. The most common is that the dogs don’t eat and just want to curl up in a ball. Or you might get the absolute gannets who will eat no matter how ill they feel, but then throw it all up. Lastly, you get the shits. With this lot, we had all three at the same time.

“Even more strange was how quickly they recovered. In some cases, the dogs would throw up, and within a few hours had bounced back looking like Derby dogs.

“Thankfully, Syd wasn’t affected, but we were keeping our options open as late as Friday. But we went down the kennel on Saturday morning and he was up at the bars, absolutely full of himself. It was only then that we decided that we could definitely run him.”


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