WEXFORD MINX (Derek Knight)
In February, 2020, Coral Brighton & Hove Stadium inaugurated a ‘Hall of Fame’ to celebrate outstanding human or canine achievement at the ‘showplace of greyhound racing’ and the magnificent Wexford Minx, trained throughout her career by Derek Knight, is the latest inductee, writes Patrick Kelly.
In the mid-1990s Wexford Minx, one of the most successful competition greyhounds based at Hove since the sport first went metric in 1975, contributed a huge amount in the showcase events and, in doing so, bringing great honour to her herself, her connections and Hove.
“She was purchased by owner Eamon Furlong, via a link with local greyhound racing enthusiast Frank Phillips, from leading Irish breeder Breda Kennedy at her New Ross range in co. Wexford,” said trainer Derek Knight. “Wexford Minx hailed from a very good family and, in fact, she was a half-sister to future St Leger winner Ballarue Minx.”
August ’91 whelp Wexford Minx, a 26.5 kilo brindled bitch by 1987 Irish Champion Stakes victor Manorville Major-Ballarue Suzy, enjoyed her first major open-race triumph when continuing the trend of top-class open-race stayers by landing the 1993 Brighton Belle (515 metres) at Hove.
Other Brighton Belle winners that excelled over long distances, included Sundridge Racing (1982), Lisas Girl (1985), Westmead Move (1987), She Can Boogie (1988), Droopys Savanna (2004) and Jazz Hurricane (2007).
Derek Knight has a special affinity with the Ladbroke Golden Jacket, which since its inception over 660 metres at Harringay in 1975 before ITV’s World Of Sport cameras remains a particularly high-profile event staged at Crayford.
Knight, who sent out his first runners at Hove in 1977, has won the Ladbroke Golden Jacket on no fewer than five previous occasions – Amazing Man (1984), Wexford Minx (1994 & 1995), Coolmona Road (1996) and Shotgun Bullet (2018).
Wexford Minx, who engraved her name on the hallowed list of winners of the Ladbroke Golden Jacket over 714 metres at Crayford in 1994, made a successful defence of her title the following year and Knight heaped praise on the staying sensation.
“Wexford Minx was a lovely, genuine bitch with great versatility and she was impervious to trap draws,” he added. “I would unhesitatingly say that she was one of the best greyhounds that I have ever handled – we will always treasure her all-conquering feats on the track.”
The prestigious Greenwich Cup (555 metres) at Catford fell to Wexford in Minx, who also put up a high-class effort when runner-up to Decoy Cougar in the final of Hove’s Regency over 740 metres the same year, in 1994 and Derek Knight’s ace stayer made a triumphant return to the now-defunct South London venue by beating top-flight opposition in the Boxing Day Marathon (718 metres) at the end of the season.
Wexford Minx, from the same litter that also produced Ballarue Aaron, Ballarue Sally, Ballarue Star, Gwincy Wats Gold, Master Butcher, Slaney View Buzz and Slaney View Suzy, was the lynchpin of Derek Knight’s powerful trio of stayers – Coolmona Road and Ballymoth Tiger were the other representatives – in the one-off Trainers’ Championship meeting at Wimbledon in 1995.
The high-flying Wexford Minx, a greyhound for all seasons, deserves her place among a pantheon of Hove’s all-time greats – she was an absolute star!