For any greyhound to win a Derby is exceptional – to win three in the same year is bordering on the impossible. Patricias Hope was that exception, though. A greyhound blessed with remarkable all round pace and determination, he naturally belongs in any Hall Of Fame.
He embarked on his British career at the end of 1971 where he won at the first time of asking at Clapton, the track that seemed to spawn champions during the seventies. His trainer, Adam Jackson, was one of the best of his profession and he guided Patricias Hope to eight wins from his first 13 races. Despite still being quite a novice at less than two years old, Jackson felt he was good enough to take on the best in the British Isles in the 1972 Derby.
He duly made it through to that year’s final but was considered as something of a no-hoper after a couple of defeats in the event and was sent off a 7-1 chance to clinch the sport’s greatest prize.
Super Rory, who had set a new world speed record in the semi-finals was sent off a warm favourite but nothing had a chance with Patricias Hope as he blasted clear from the traps and into what was to prove an unassailable lead. It was a clinical run, expertly overseen by Jackson but it was far the last that was to be seen of this special greyhound.
His next target was the Welsh Derby at Cardiff, which Patricias Hope went through unbeaten and then on to Shawfield for the Scottish Derby where he was to again face Super Rory, who was once again sent off favourite in the final. This time Super Rory was the one to get the drop on his rivals and he looked the winner by halfway.
However, Patricias Hope was nothing if not a battler and he gradually clawed his way back into the race to beat Priory Hi and Super Rory in a thrilling finish that saw barely a length and a half covering the three of them.
Winning three Classics was a fantastic achievement by any measure but the gruelling schedule had taken its toll and Patricias Hope never quite recaptured his brilliant summertime form and the decision to retire him to stud was taken in November of that year.
A brief spell in the breeding paddocks saw him cover more than 60 bitches but connections still had tremendous faith in their star and were itching to emulate the great Mick The Miller by twice winning the English Derby. Now trained by Jimmy O’Connor, Patricias Hope came back to the track in seemingly great form and again battled his way through to the Derby final.
And the 1973 decider went down as one of the most exciting spectacles ever seen on a greyhound track.
Patricias Hope was away like a shot but, favourite for the race, Say Little was ominously close as was Black Banjo and a bitch named Softly. In a pulsating finish, Patricias Hope refused to give way to the continued challenge of the others and held on determinedly to hold Softly by half a length with Say Little a further half length away and Black Banjo a neck back in fourth.
Further stud duties followed that famous success and, a year later, connections decided to give their charge the chance to become immortal in the sport and sent him back to White City again for the 1974 running of the event. It was a dream too far and, although Patricias Hope ran with tremendous heart, he was always going to struggle to find his former glory and went out of the event in his second round heat.
His story is one of the more remarkable and no greyhound since has managed to achieve the ‘impossible’ Derby double.