SPECTRE II, whelped in February 1965 at the kennels of Leo Stack at Duagh, Co. Kerry, was from one of the greatest litters in the history of track racing. It included Tric Trac, winner of the 1967 English Derby, and Forward King, winner of the 1968 English St Leger and more than £5,000 in prize money.

Forward Flash was also in the litter and, but for injury, might well have been the best of them all. In the few months of 1966 in which he did race, he won the Juvenile Stakes at Wembley, the Manchester Cup at White City, Manchester, and the Mackeson Cup at Walthamstow with further great things expected of him.

The litter, of five dogs and four bitches, was by Crazy Parachute out of Supreme Witch. The dam, Witching Grand, was one of a litter that included Mile Bush Pride, whelped in 1956 and who won the English Derby in 1959.

The 1967 Derby in which Spectre II and Tric Trac contested was sensational in that owner, Nat Pinson from Sheffield, and trainer, Ron Hookway of Sheffield Stadium, had the first two home in the Derby. It was also the first time that two from the same litter had finished first and second in a classic event. Although Spectre II was made favourite, Tric Trac was in trap one and, an excellent railer, he made full use of his position to win by a length.

It was a Derby final full of outstanding greyhounds which included Shady Parachute, who also contested the 1968 final and again finished in fourth, a great sire of the future, Silver Hope, and Laurels winner Ambiguous. Tric Trac was retired to stud after his great win but was brought back to the track the following year and won the Wimbledon Champion Stakes.

Sadly, he died shortly afterwards following a kennel accident. He was track record holder for many years over 525yds at his home track, Sheffield.

Spectre II continued to win in top company during 1967, taking the 880yds BBC TV Trophy at Brighton in a record time of 50.09sec, and the Midlands St Leger at Wolverhampton. Retired to stud in 1968, he was to prove one of the greatest sires in track racing. One of his first sons was Black Andrew, who won the 1971 Laurels. Another was Spectre Jockey, who ran up to Down Your Way in the Gold Collar and in the same year, 1971, won the prestigious Evening Standard Cup and All England Stakes.

Spectre II must rank with Monalee Champion, Newdown Heather, Clonalvy Pride and Westmead County as the most outstanding sires of the late 1970s.

Among Spectre II’s other famous offspring was Tartan Khan, who won the Derby and St Leger in 1975, emulating Dolores Rocket, winning connections £23,000 in that year alone. Then there were Stormy Spirit, winner of the 1977 St Leger; Glin Bridge, who won £8,000 in prize money and became Britain’s leading stud dog.

Shamrock Sailor; Paradise Spectre and Rita’s Choice, one of Spectre II’s greatest sons were other tremendously gifted off-spring. A black dog like his sire, Rita’s Choice was to earn himself the title of best Irish track greyhound of 1973, winning several major long distance events, including the Corn Cuchulainn at Harolds Cross, the Cesarewitch at Navan and the Sean Graham 700 at Dunmore Park.

Forward King, the other excellent member of Leo Stack’s wonderful litter, won the St Leger and the Scottish St Leger, the only dog ever to have done so. He also won the Wembley Gold Cup and the Stewards’ Cup and, in 70 top class open events, won half of them. Yet he might never have reached a race track at all. When he was 12 months old, he escaped from his kennels and lived wild on the Yorkshire moors for many weeks before being recaptured!