NEW South Wales superstar Bessy Boo has been retired after tearing a back muscle at Wentworth Park on Friday night.
Trained at Londonderry by Christine and Alan Proctor, Bessy Boo was having his 158th start and was remarkably still able to finish the race despite sustaining his injury.
A crowd favourite for many racegoers, Bessy Boo retires as the most successful greyhound to have competed at Wentworth Park, having won 34 races at headquarters including the 2014 Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic.
Alan Proctor told Australian Racing Greyhound on Saturday that he is sad to see his champion chaser retire, but says he is extremely thankful for the many thrills Bessy Boo has delivered throughout his career which saw him win 44 races and earn $337,311 in prize money.
“It was sad to see him retire like that, but we knew the end of his career was getting very close – he is four years and 10 months old,” Proctor said.
“It has been a great ride – he has been racing now for over three years against the best dogs every week – we couldn’t have asked him to do any more.
“He has been a terrific dog.”
Having started his career on November 2, 2013, Proctor said there was nothing to indicate early in the piece that Bessy Boo was going to go on to become such a sensation on the racetrack.
“There was never anything early on to indicate he was going to be special. I gave him a post to post at Richmond and he only went fair – he was never going terrific – and then I started to race him.
“After one of his starts at Richmond John Finn came up to me and said ‘you’ve got a good dog there’ and from there on he just kept improving.
“Just the way he races, the way he used to charge home and I think his name made him popular – so many people used to tell me he was their favourite dog.
“I still remember the day his owner Ashley Wilson brought his papers around and I took one look at them and said ‘he’s a male’ – she didn’t know – she got the dog as an engagement present.
“Having a girl’s name never worried him though – he won 34 races at Wentworth Park – that in itself shows his tenacity – and he just had an unbelievable constitution.
“If you won 34 races at Taree it would be unbelievable, but to do it at a metropolitan track racing against the best dogs in the state – it’s a credit to him – he is an unbelievable animal.”
Proctor was able to single out his favourite memory of Bessy Boo, although he says his whole career has been a memorable experience.
“Winning the Peter Mosman was unbelievable that was probably our favourite memory – and he also ran second to Fernando Bale in the National Sprint Championship after winning the NSW final – we were very proud that night too.
“Christine went to WA with him for the 2014 Nationals and I went to Melbourne and Queensland with him – the thrill of travelling with a good dog was sensational.
“I have been in the game 47 years and I have never had a dog like him and I know I will never get another.”
Despite one door closing, another is about to open for Bessy Boo who is now set to commence stud duties, with Proctor adamant he will live a life of luxury in retirement.
“He has a home with us for life and he will be off to the vets this week to get things started on his stud career.
“I think he is really going to miss going to the race track – he just loved to chase – but he will have a great life at home with us and I am sure he is going to be happy in retirement.”