Pigalle Wonder

Pigalle Wonder

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

County Kilkenny-bred Pigalle Wonder (by Champion Prince out of Prairie Peg) was whelped in March 1956. In conformation he was a near perfect specimen of the breed, and if he hadn’t been a racing dog he would have been outstanding in the show ring. Named Prairie Champion by his breeder Tom Murphy, he put up a brilliant performance in the McCalmont Cup at Kilkenny, followed by a blistering trial at Harold’s Cross. He was then bought by Mr Al Burnett, who owned the Pigalle Club in London, and his name was changed to Pigalle Wonder.

Pigalle Wonder was blessed with blinding speed from the traps and the courage of a lion. Immensely adaptable, he set track records at seven different tracks. Trained for the 1958 Derby by Jim Syder Jnr. at Wembley, Pigalle Wonder clocked 28.44 seconds in his semi-final, a record that stood for ten years. He won the final by three lengths, with Northern Lad second. A neck behind in third was Mile Bush Pride, who in 1959 was to win the English, Scottish and Welsh Derbys. In the 525 yard Pall Mall at Harringay, Pigalle Wonder again set a record time of 29.03 seconds which also lasted for ten years. His record clocking of 28.78 seconds over Wembley’s 525 yard course stood for almost twenty years, unbeaten until the distance was changed to metres.

A wonderful dog both to look at and to watch in action, Pigalle Wonder passed on his attributes to his offspring at stud. Sold for the then huge sum of £3500, he stood in County Wicklow and became renowned as a sire of bitches. One example is his daughter Martin’s Pigalle, granddam of 1978 English Derby winner Lacca Champion. Among the many good male dogs he sired were Irish Derby winners Wonder Valley and Russian Gun.

The NGRC Book of Greyhound Racing: NGRC and Roy Genders (Pelham Books 1990)

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