Mick The Miller

Mick The Miller

Photo(s) Courtesy www.thedogs.co.uk

Mick the Miller, perhaps the most famous racing greyhound of all time, was one of a litter of twelve pups born in Ireland in June 1926. The breeder was a parish priest and coursing enthusiast, Father Martin Brophy. Mick, a brindle, was the runt of the litter and almost died from distemper when he was just a year old. Saved by the skill of veterinary surgeon Arthur Callanan, Mick was given plenty of time to recover, and made a winning debut at Shelbourne Park in April 1928. Trained in Ireland by Mick Horan, Mick the Miller won fifteen of his twenty races in Ireland before crossing the Irish Sea to contest the 1929 English Derby. His first trial over the White City track was sensational, and such was the interest in buying Mick that Father Brophy auctioned Mick at the track. Mick was bought by London bookmaker A.H. Williams for a record 800 guineas. Mick broke the track record in his first Derby heat, winning in 29.82 seconds over the 525 yard course, and went on to win a re-run Derby final. Sold after the race for £2000 to Mr Arundel Kempton, Mick was trained from then on by Sidney Orton at Wimbledon Stadium.

Mick the Miler wasn’t a brilliant trapper, but he was a supremely intelligent dog, taking advantage of every opportunity to find a clear run and blessed with a wonderfully equable temperament. He was at his best at distances between 525 and 700 yards, and on big, galloping tracks like Wembley and White City.

Mick was back again at White City for the 1930 Derby, which he won for a second time. In winning two Derbys, Mick ran undefeated through every round. Two days after his second Derby triumph Mick won every heat and final of the 600 yard Cesarewitch at West Ham, breaking the course record in his semi-final. Between July 1929 and May 1931 Mick the Miller ran thirty-four races in England, winning twenty-nine times, including nineteen races in succession. In four of his five defeats he was beaten only a neck or a short head.

Could Mick make it three in a row in the 1931 Derby? By now he was almost five years old and well past his prime. His courage, however, was undiminished, and he again won the final of the competition. Unfortunately for Mick it was declared a no-race, and in the re-run he could finish only fourth behind Seldom Led. But Mick hadn’t finished yet; in his last competition before retirement, he went unbeaten through the heats and final of the St Leger at Wembley over 700 yards.

Mick the Miller was, in the unanimous opinion of all lucky enough to see him race, a truly amazing greyhound. After his death in 1939, Mick’s body was embalmed and put on display in London’s Natural History museum. He is now in the Natural History museum at Tring, Hertfordshire.

Sources:
The NGRC Book of Greyhound Racing: NGRC and Roy Genders (Pelham Books 1990)
The Legend of Mick the Miller: Michael Tanner (Highdown 2003)

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