THERE have been few greyhounds to win a Classic event both in England and Ireland but I’m Slippy did just that in 1983. A white and brindle by Laurdella Fun out of Glencoe Bess and whelped in May, 1981, he was owned by J.J. Quinn of Northern Ireland and trained by Barbara Tompkins.
He won his heat in the qualifying round at White City, when 220 greyhounds took part, beating On Spec, the Sheffield dog trained by Harry Crapper and whom he was to beat in the final, by three lengths in 30.43sec. In his first round heat, he beat Cricket’s Style in 29.75sec.
Come the second round, he was well beaten by Game Ball, the outright favourite to win the event and who outpaced him along the back straight, but I’m Slippy set a blistering pace to win his quarter final from Speedy Hope.
In his semi-final, however, he was beaten half a length by Amazing Man, with Real Miller the 33-1 outsider in third. In the other semi Game Ball took first place with Debbycot Lad and On Spec closely behind and these six outstanding greyhounds fought out the final sponsored by the Daily Mirror for a prize of £25,000.
In a most exciting final, I’m Slippy, racing from trap four, led all the way but so great was the challenge from On Spec and Debbycot Lad that only two necks separated the first three
who finished in that order, with Game Ball less than a length away in fourth. The time was 29.40sec and it was Barbara Tompkins’ second Derby winner.
In September, the dog was back in N. Ireland to contest the Guinness National Sprint at Dunmore Park, the Irish equivalent of the Scurry Cup and, still in peak form, he showed the same devastating speed as he had at White City, being undefeated throughout the event and winning the final by four lengths from Ring Beacon in 29.30secs.
I’m Slippy, his owner and trainer thus became members of a select few to win a Classic event on both sides of the Irish Sea, this being only the second occasion in the sport’s history that it had been achieved in the same year.
After such a great track career, I’m Slippy went on to prove himself one of the most influential stud greyhounds of modern times and his progeny have, in turn, gone on to be champions and sires in their own right.