Razldazl Jayfkay is still the record holder at Wimbledon while Dundooan Diva is Number One Brood Bitch on Greyhound Data.
His dinner – which I am honoured to carry to him in his kennel – is equally impressive: his owner Dolores Ruth has brought fine cuts of marbled sirloin beef from Ireland, ground it into mince and has mixed about 1lb of this with a soup made from liver and salmon, and biscuits. Although Ruth is staying in Essex with friends who have kennels with about 20 of their own greyhounds, she has brought an astounding range of vitamins and conditioners, taking up most of one shelf in the dogs’ food room.
I feed them the best of everything,” Ruth says. I can believe it: the dog looks fantastically healthy. His fur is soft and shiny, his eyes bright, his teeth – which get brushed every day – are whiter than the average X Factor contestant. His muscles are defined and there isn’t a scrap of fat on him.
He is also clearly in love with Ruth. She sits on the low bed, lined with golden straw with him and he nestles up to her, licking her face and proffering his paw.
A lot of controversy surrounds greyhound racing. The media have carried numerous reports of abuse of and cruelty to greyhounds over the years, but the Retired Greyhound Trust, which rehomed more that 4,000 dogs last year, says the treatment of greyhounds has improved a lot in the last few years. The RSPCA is less sanguine: “Every year at least 10,000 greyhounds are retired from racing. The fate of many is unknown and many simply ‘disappear’. Welfare issues can occur at any life stage, so we believe that all aspects of the industry, from breeding to kennelling, racing, transportation, management and retirement need to be regulated. We want to see greyhounds protected from cradle to grave.”