BRILLIANT BOB was bred in Co. Tipperary by Mr Billy Quinn, who later bred and owned Quare Times. When he was a puppy Mr Quinn sold a half share to an Irish farmer and they were persuaded to part with the dog after he had shown his amazing capabilities. It was through the persistence of Wimbledon trainer Sidney Orton, who knew of the dog’s abilities and had recommended him to his patron, Mr A.J. Dearman.
By Other Ways out of Birchfield Bessie and whelped in 1931, Brilliant Bob was well named for he was one of the finest on the track and coursing field in the history of greyhound racing. The dog first came into prominence in 1933 while still a puppy, when he won Ireland’s oldest coursing event, the Tipperary Cup.
Introduced to track racing in the spring of that year, he finished runner-up in the Easter Cup which is on a par with the Classics. Later that year he proved that while possessing tremendous early pace, he also possessed the stamina for long distances when he won the 1933 Irish St Leger, run at Clonmel for the only time, clocking 31.53sec.
After a winter’s rest, he came out again in spring 1934 to contest the Easter Cup and this time made no mistake, winning in the fast time of 30.29sec. The great Monarch of the Glen could do no better than 30.43sec when winning the event ten years later.
It was at this stage in his career that his owners were persuaded to part with their champion, who had already done enough to stamp himself as a dual-purpose dog of outstanding brilliance. He changed hands for £2,000, a large sum in those days, and reached England in time to contest the 1934 Laurels run in May at his new home track, Wimbledon. His trainer has told of how moody and off-colour the dog was on his arrival, and how he decided to give him no training at all but to let him rest and roam about the kennels until he had found his feet.
The great trainer’s understanding was to pay handsome dividends, for Brilliant Bob took the event and went on to take two other Classics in the same year, a feat never before accomplished.
After his Laurels victory, Brilliant Bob went for the Derby, reaching the final in his usual style. Despite drawing trap one, he ran into trouble on the first bend and could do no better than finish fourth behind the three best greyhounds of the year after ‘Bob’ himself – Davesland, Grey Raca and Wild Woolley.
In the Scurry Gold Cup at Clapton, Brilliant Bob soon made amends for his Derby failure, winning his heat and beating the previous year’s winner, Creamery Border, in the final in the fast time of 23.47sec for the 400yds course.
In October came the Cesarewitch at West Ham, then run over 600yds and on a totally different style of track, with long straights and wide bends, whereas the Clapton track was almost circular and quite small. To Brilliant Bob, though, they all came alike and so did all distances, for he won this event too.
It was his third Classic that year and he had won the St Leger and Easter Cup in Ireland the previous year. He was then only the second greyhound to have won a Classic in England and Ireland, Queen of the Suir having been the first.
Retired to stud at the end of 1934, he was to prove himself as effective in siring outstanding stock as on the track. Monalia Bob and Lawless Bob were two of his best sons but it was through the bitches he produced that he left his own mark on greyhound racing.
Among these were Miss McCloud, dam of Lost Light, winner of the 1942 Irish Coursing Derby; Brilliant Moon, dam of the 1939 International Cup winner, Wireless Rally; Really Brilliant, dam of the 1945 Tipperary Cup winner, Rathelogheen Dancer; and Brilliant Gay, dam of Hurry Kitty, who followed in the footsteps of her maternal grand sire by winning the 1945 Cesarewitch.
Brilliant Gay was a blue brindle and had run up for the Irish Coursing Oaks in 1941.
Mated to Castledown Lad early in 1943, she was to whelp Paddy the Champion, who was to pass on Brilliant Bob’s amazing speed to Astra’s Son from his mating to Astra.
Yet again Astra’s Son was to transmit the ability of his parents and grandparents to another Prairie Vixen, who from a mating with The Grand Champion (sired by Astra’s litter brother, Mad Tanist) was sire of the 1955 Irish Oaks winner Prairie Peg who, when mated to Hi There, was dam of Prairie Flash, one of the greatest post-war sires.
But it was from the mating of Prairie Peg to Champion Prince (Belia’s Prince by Castledown Lad) which produced the English Derby winner Pigalle Wonder that we see the Brilliant Bob influence once more carried through the dam. Pigalle Wonder, when mated to Rather Fancy, produced the bitch Yurituni, who from a mating to Monalee Champion produced Sole Aim, sire of Columbcille Aim, dam of the 1979 Irish Derby winner, the bitch Penny County.