PATIENCE is a virtue which trainer Charlie Lister has in spades and his softly-softly approach with Spring Rose no doubt helped her becoming the leading stayer of her generation when she was eventually stepped up to six bends.

It was soon obvious that whatever the Steve Spiteri-owned bitch achieved over four bends would be a bonus as a test of stamina was always going to see her in better light, but she did reach the Puppy Classic final at Nottingham as a youngster in 1995 and finished second to Elliots Gem. The early part of 1996 saw her sidelined which delayed that six-bend debut still further, but it prived well worth waiting for when it did eventually happen as she skated in by over ten lengths over Wembley’s tough 655m course.

The Grand Prix at Walthamstow proved something of a formality as she twice broke the 640m track record during the event, and then she went on to emulate Huberts Shade (1982) as only the second greyhound to complete the Grand Prix/St Leger double.

Just as at Walthamstow, Spring Rose went unbeaten through the Leger at Wembley and she saved her best for the final when setting new figures for the 655m distance in clocking 39.29sec when slamming Wise Beauty by almost eight lengths.

1997 started the same way in which 1996 – when she was voted Greyhound of the Year – had ended with a record run at Monmore, but her race appearances were vastly outnumbered by trials as she was campaigned solely with the Grand Prix and St Leger in mind once again.

All looked well when she went unbeaten through to the Grand Prix final, but El Gran Senor got first run on her on the night and there was disappointment, too, in the final of the St Leger when as 1-2 favourite she trailed in fifth behind Tralee Crazy with an injury that brought her illustrious racing career to an end.

But that was not the last we were to hear from her as owner Spiteri decided to mate her with his 1997 Derby winner Some Picture in a match seemingly made in heaven and one of the resultant pups, Sexy Delight, went on to win the 2000 TV Trophy as the highlight of a top class career of her own.