HE may have only weighed only 64lbs but Monday’s News had the heart of a lion and was an almost instant favourite with those who saw bundle of speed go through his paces. Not since Mick the Miller had appeared on the scene almost twenty years earlier had the racing public taken to their hearts any greyhound in quite the same way. Much like Mick the Miller, he possessed superlative intelligence and never acknowledged defeat.
He came on the scene at exactly the right time, just after the war ended and, with it five long years of black-out and rationing. The public were attending greyhound racing as never before or since (50 million attended the 100 tracks during 1946) and they were looking for a new star to help them forget the lean war years.
That Monday’s News was expected to possess speed from the traps was almost a foregone conclusion, for his sire had won the Scurry Gold Cup in 1938 and was one of the fastest ever over the shorter distance races.
The same combination of sire and dam had also produced an outstanding son in Monday’s Son, whelped in 1942, winner of the Scottish Derby and the St Mungo Cup and who had finished third in both the Gold Collar and Scurry Cup.
Monday’s Son had been raised at Killennerry, Co. Tipperary by John Maher and, when his brood bitch was ready for a second mating, he decided to take her to Orluck’s Best once more. In April 1944 she had her litter and the two dog pups were raised at Maher’s home until they were about nine months old.
By now he had named his pups Monday’s News and Monday’s Times and, although he had great hopes of their emulating the Scottish Derby winner from an earlier mating, he had no hesitation in accepting the £200 offered for the two pups with a view to their racing in England. The buyer was Mr D.T. Stewart and they were left with Mr Maher until they were ready for their trials.
Placed at Harringay, neither performed any better than dozens of others kennelled at the track and who took part in graded racing but, at this point, Stewart made a move he never had cause to regret. He placed the two dogs with Fred Farey, a private trainer at Shenfield in Essex. They were to bring fame and fortune to both their owner and trainer.
After undergoing a number of trials during which they improved all the time, it was decided to enter the dogs for an open race at Southend. Monday’s News gave an amazing display by not only winning but also lowering the track record which had stood for many years, clocking 28.22sec for the 500yds course. It was his first race in public and he never looked back. Entered for the 1946 May Stakes at Wembley, Monday’s News created a sensation by the manner in which he left the traps and led all the way to beat the world’s fastest at that time, the great Bah’s Choice.
There was no hesitation in entering him for the Derby but he was quoted by leading bookmakers at 200-1. He again proved himself classy enough when, in the final of the Circuit at Walthamstow he ran brilliantly, to be beaten only by a short head by Gullane Idol. The contestants for the Derby in 1946 were of outstanding quality. There was the English-bred Bah’s Choice, the first to break 29sec for 525yds, and Quare Times, for whom his owners, Mr and Mrs Quinn of Co.
Tipperary, had refused a staggering £10,000 before the premier event. Others taking part were the Irish Derby winner Lilac’s Luck; Celtic Chief and Shannon Shore along with Plucky Hero and Dante II – all greyhounds of the highest class.
After reaching the final, before which Bah’s Choice and Quare Times were eliminated, Monday’s News, from a none too favourable draw in trap three, came out like a rocket and, moving in to the rails at the first turn, was never headed.
During the rest of the year he took part in twenty events, winning fifteen of them in one of the most successful six months’ running of any greyhound in the history of the sport. He was almost invincible and, apart from his speed from the traps, he cleverly kept himself clear of trouble. In the All England Cup at Brough Park, he took his semi-final in 29.87sec and defeated the Scottish Derby winner Latin Pearl by a short head in the final in 29.55sec, a new track record. Then he went to Perry Barr where he won his heat of the Birmingham Cup and the final by a length from the £3,000 dog, Lemon Flash, in 30.35sec.
For a greyhound with so much early speed, the decision to step up to 700yds and the St Leger at Wembley was a brave one. But Monday’s News adapted well to the longer trip. He won his heat and finished second to Call Maggie in his semi-final, only to be crowded out of contention at the first turn in the final, won by Bohernagraga Boy with Dumbles Maid in second.
Still in the best of form come December, Monday’s News won his heat of the Gilbert Trophy at Hackney by half a length from Col. Skookum and took the final without any real fuss. Before the year ended he had won his heat in the International at Wimbledon from Mrs Dent’s Tonycus, but suffered a rare reverse when beaten by that rival in the final.
During 1946 he had won £3,636 in a year when only £1,000 was awarded to the Derby winner. He was given a well-earned rest during the first months of 1947 when the whole country was encased in snow and ice.
He came back to racing in time to contest the April Stakes at Walthamstow and took up where he had left off, winning by one and a half lengths from Floating Dinghy in 30.50sec. Then he went to Catford for the Classic Gold Collar, where, for the first time, he came up against the future champion of that era, Trev’s Perfection.