MANY experienced racegoers consider Yellow Printer the fastest dog ever to race and he won the Irish Derby in 1968 which is sufficient to give him immortality but, like Ataxy, Quare Times and Tanist, he was almost too fast for most greyhound tracks with their sharp turns.
A fawn dog whelped in march 1966, he obtained his tremendous speed from his grand sire, Hi There, and his great grandsire through his grand dam, Sally’s Gossip, whose sire was the great Endless Gossip.
Owned by Sir Robert Adeane and Pauline Wallis, the dog hit the headlines when making an early exit from the 1968 English Derby yet bouncing back incredibly well to win the Irish Derby at Shelbourne Park in 29.11sec. The time had never been bettered before for this event and was not equalled or beaten until Lively Band six years later. Yellow Printer won the final when beating Russian Gun, an equally fine greyhound, who had won the event the previous year.
It was in a heat for the Derby that Yellow Printer was to become the first greyhound to break 29sec for 525yds at Shelbourne Park, when he won by nine lengths and clocked 28.83sec which was unbeaten until Tantallons Gift clocked 28.73sec on 24 July 1976. Previously, in the Easter Cup run at the same track in April, Yellow Printer had reached the final won by ltsamint and gave some indication of his Derby potential.
His fantastic run when winning his Derby heat made him the biggest favourite to win the event for years. Once again in the final of a big event he came up against the great bitch ltsamint, owned by Leslie McNair. The others in the final were Russian Gun, Clinker Flash, Drumna Chestnut and Ballybeg Flash.
With such outstanding greyhounds in the final, a huge crowd gathered to witness the race. First from the traps were Ballybeg Flash and Russian Gun, both of whom occupied the outside traps and moved slightly wider at the first turn. It was then that Yellow Printer, from trap four, moved inside and into the lead. He yielded not an inch until he had crossed the line one and a half lengths in front of Russian Gun, who stayed with him the whole way round and only conceded his crown to a younger dog after a tremendous effort. It was Yellow Printer’s finest hour.
Early in 1969 Yellow Printer again showed his amazing speed when winning the Sir Billy Butlin Stakes at White City when he clocked 28.38sec, a time which was beaten only by himself. He again showed his liking for the track when winning the Wood Lane Stakes in 28.91sec after being badly hampered at the first bend.
He also won the Summer Cup at Wembley in 29.20sec. In the Pall Mall at Harringay he won his heat in 28.71sec to set a new track record, which he lowered to 28.60sec when winning his semi in which he defeated the ultimate winner of the event, Localmotive.
He was then flown to Shannon to represent England in the International at Limerick on 30 November but was beaten four lengths by Flaming King in 29.24sec. He was elected Greyhound of the Year in 1969 and retired to stud to stand in Ireland at a fee of 75gns.
He was trained during much of his career by John Bassett at Clapton, who said of him: “Placid types are best. They take nothing out of themselves and Yellow Printer was the perfect example. He was quiet, placid, nothing ever disturbed him. He was the perfect gentleman at all times – an aristocrat of the canine world.” No words summed up this great champion better.
After only a short period at stud in Ireland Yellow Printer joined his owner Pauline O’Donnell (nee Wallis) in America where he became a very influential sire indeed. It was reported that he was the first greyhound in American history to command a stud fee of $500. Mrs O’Donnell and her husband Barney won the Seabrook Derby with one of his daughters, O’Donnells Elite, while Aptly won the Flagler Classic by nine lengths in 1974.
Printer Oily was another Yellow Printer bitch to win considerable prize money in major stakes but the dog Sandy Printer (Yellow Printer-Sandy Sailor) was his best son in the States and was elected America’s leading sire in 1980. That in itself was reward enough but, before he left for foreign parts, Yellow Printer had also given us the blazingly fast, but unlucky, Super Rory, who beat his sire’s track record over 525yds at White City with a time of 28.26sec in 1972.
He was dubbed, in turn, ‘the world’s fastest greyhound’, before breaking a hock at a very tender age.
Yellow Printer spent his later years as a pet in the O’Donnell household where he reportedly lived a life of luxury until he died peacefully in his twelfth year.