Trained by Christine and Alan Proctor, Bessy Boo is the most cherished greyhound in the state, having faced the starter on 154 occasions from which he has amassed 44 wins and 90 minor placings.
Among those wins are 34 successes at Wentworth Park, making him the most successful greyhound to have competed around the Glebe circuit.
However, Bessy Boo will have to overcome box six and a tough field to secure a start in next week’s $25,000-to-the-winner final.
Among his competitors are Takedown (box one), Nangar Bear (box two) and Good Odds Bricky (box four), with Alan Proctor conceding it is a massive challenge.
“Box six is the worst box on the track so he is going to need a bit of luck,” Proctor told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He has been beginning a bit better lately, but he still doesn’t have that early pace to get him out of trouble.
“If he gets caught wide on the first turn he doesn’t have much hope, but as long as he gets a clear run through the first corner and can find the fence, he will be coming home good.”
His longevity is particularly amazing given that Bessy Boo debuted on the track 161 weeks ago – meaning he has only missed out on a total of seven weeks of racing since November 2013.
Despite turning five years of age next March, Proctor says his kennel star still loves being a race dog,” he said.
“He is such a great chaser and he loves to race.
“He is not going as well as he once was, but he is four years and nine months with 154 starts to his name so you would have to expect that.
“He has a great constitution and he always wants to go, although I am noticing he is starting to get a little bit grey so I don’t think there is a whole lot of racing left in him.
“It will be a sad day for all of us when he does retire because he has been such a joy for such a long time.
“He has taken us all over the country – he has been to Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia – greyhound racing doesn’t get any better than that.
“He loves racing – you get him out of the kennel on race day and he just about knocks you over and every morning after he comes charging out at you.
“He will let us know when it’s time to retire but for now he is still enjoying it.”
The winner of the 2014 Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic and runner-up in the 2015 Group 1 National Sprint Championship, a win in the Christmas Gift would take Bessy Boo’s career earnings over the $360,000 mark.
Proctor said it would be special just to qualify for the final with his old warhorse.
“It would be unbelievable to win the Christmas Gift towards the end of his career, but we are not kidding ourselves – we know we will need a lot of luck just to qualify from box six.
“There are good dogs in all of the heats – but he will be there doing his best because that’s all he knows.”
All up, four heats of the Group 3 Christmas Gift will be run and won on Saturday night, with the first two progressing through to the decider which will be held on December 17.
Group 3 Xmas Gift – all-in market
Mister Twister $5
Big Chicken $5.50
Brad Hill Billy $7
Wicked Warrior $8
Nacho Nellie $8
Clock’s Ticking $8
Camden Gossip $11
Good Odds Bricky $11
Nangar Bear $13
Magic Lace $21
Bessy Boo $21 with Bet365
Dandy Jack $26
Explosive Range $26
Ritza Rossi $26
Maya Herrera $67
Better Call Sloy $81
Old Timer $81
Kyah’s Comet $81
Good Odds Regina $81
Tap Out Axe $101
Awesome Signs $126
However Humble $126
Roman Red $126
Gate Blaster $201
Royal Turbo $201
Long Spring Neck $201
Adrian’s Gold $201
Wahwah Tiggy $201
Bella Can Do $201
Max Cady $201
Finding Mo $501
Top Edge $501