THE winner of the 1986 Derby, Tico first ran at Clonmel on 8 July 1985 for his breeder Jimmy Morrissey of Carrick-on-Suir and won in impressive fashion by ten lengths, recording 29.86sec for the 525yds course. A few weeks later he came into the charge of Slough trainer, Arthur Hitch.

Tico cost his new owner, Alan Smee, £5,000 and, after a few acclimatising runs at Wimbledon at the end of 1985, he was not seen again until the 1986 Pall Mall over 475m at Harringay. It was there in the final that he first mastered his great rival Hot Sauce Yankee when beating him by just under three lengths in 28.45sec.

Harringay was obviously a happy hunting ground for this son of the 1982 Irish Laurels winner, The Stranger, and he returned there on 16 May to contest a Daily Mirror Derby Trial Stakes, which he won by nearly five lengths in 28.44sec.

He was one of exactly 150 greyhounds that started out on their Derby quest on 27 May and he won his qualifier at 1-6 in 29.00sec. Tico was proving to be one of the fastest greyhounds to the bend in the entire competition and, generally, showed all his rivals a clean pair of heels, although he was beaten half a length by Fearless Action in the second round.

That was his only defeat in all rounds of the Derby competition. On the night of the final, he was in electrifying form and, from trap five, just managed to pivot Sunley Express at the first bend and power on to a faultless five and a half lengths victory from Master Hardy who was also trained by Arthur Hitch. This was a feat last achieved by Sheffield’s Ron Hookway with litter brothers Tric Trac and Spectre II in 1967.

Master Hardy was a member of the February 1984 litter by Ron Hardy out of the 1979 Derby winner Sarah’s Bunny. He also had a litter brother in the 1986 final, Fearless Action, who finished fourth and had shared 6-4 favouritism with Tico.

The breeding of the 1986 Derby winner was another success for the famous Skipping Chick line who is Tico’s maternal great grand-dam. Soon after his £25,000 Derby success Tico returned to Ireland for stud duties.