A HANDSOME white and black dog by Lively Band, Balliniska Band was whelped in May 1975 and won the English Derby at only two years and one month old. He was owned by Raphaello Bacci and trained by Eddie Moore at Belle Vue.

His sire won the 1974 Irish Derby at Shelbourne Park for Cyril Scotland, and was trained by his former owner and breeder, Jack Murphy of Kilmessan, Co. Meath, to win the £10,000 first prize. Winning his semi-final, Lively Band went on to take the final by two and a half lengths from the reliable Windjammer, with Myrtown third. His win compensated his owner for his unlucky defeat in the English Derby that year. This great dog also won the 1000 Guineas at Dundalk and after taking the St Leger at Limerick, was elected Greyhound of the Year for 1974.

His outstanding son Balliniska Band won more than £20,000 in prize money during 1977 when he was also chosen Greyhound of the Year, an award he richly deserved for, during that year, he won the Puppy Stakes at White City, Manchester. He was also a finalist in the Wood Lane Stakes at White City, London; and finished third in the final of the Pall Mall.

He broke the 460m record at his home track, Belle Vue, and in the Derby final equalled Glen Rock’s 500m record of 29.16sec to win the premier event by two and a half lengths from El Cavalier and Pat Seamur in third place. That was after winning all of his heats and semi-final. He was an even-money favourite for the final and the first favourite to win for eight years.

Balliniska Band had been purchased by Bacci for £2,000 after winning his only race in Ireland by 12 lengths at Cork and he proved a rare bargain. In all during 1977, he won 21 events and collected more than £20,000 in prize money before his winter rest.

Coming out again in March 1978 to contest the Daily Mirror Trophy, run over 500m at White City in aid of the Newspapers’ Press Fund, he found himself alongside the five finest greyhounds of 1977-1978.

The field included the winners of the St Leger, Grand Prix, Oaks, Scurry Cup and the Edinburgh Cup. The Derby winner was first from the traps and held on to his lead all the way to win a thrilling race by a neck from his litter brother Linacre, winner of the Edinburgh Cup in 1977.

Linacre was to win the Wembley Spring Cup and finished second in the Welsh Derby and Laurels.

He was also the first greyhound ever to break 29sec for 500m, when he recorded 28.99sec at Brighton. His sire, Lively Band (by Silver Hope), after two years at stud in Ireland, crossed the Atlantic and was at stud in Australia for several years.

Sadly he died on the way back home, which was a great loss to greyhound breeding.