EARLIER thus year a statue was unveiled to a greyhound in Killeigh village in Offaly. Very few dogs are immortalised as statue but this greyhound, Mick the miller, was the fist star of greyhound track racing in the early twentieth century. The dog was so famous that upon his death he was stuffed and displayed in the British Natural History Museum.
The breeder of the dog was a Kilkenny man - Fr Martin Brophy from Shankill, Paulstown. While he was working in Offaly Fr Brophy had mated Glorious Event (Sire) with Na Boc Lei (Dam). the result was a litter of ten pups. The weakest pup of the litter was the Mick the Miller. A Micheal Greene who worked with Fr Brophy insisted that they keep Mick the Miller. Micheal Greene reared the pups feeding them milk from a bottle and walking them to build up their stamina.
In April 1927 track racing had begun in Ireland. The first track built was Celtic Park in Belfast, followed by Shelbourne Park in Dublin, with Harold`s Cross in Dublin soon to follow. Fr Brophy could see the possibility of success for Mick The Miller in racing. He won his first race in Shelbourne Park, the Shelbourne Sweepstakes and a prize of £10. He also ventured up to Celtic Park in Belfast where he won his first round leg and his semi-final but finished third in the final of The Abercorn Cup.
The dog was taken with an illness after his initial success in racing. After seeing a number of vets and recuperating Mick the miller returned to racing.
In March 1929 Mick resumed his track-racing career by competing in and winning the Shelbourne Stakes at Shelbourne Park. During the rest of the year Mick The Miller went on to win the Leinster Plate and The Spring Cup at Harold`s Cross and The National Cup at Shelbourne Park.
Mick The Miller had by now clocked up 15 wins out of 20 races and it was decided to have a crack at The English Greyhound Derby.
Mick The Miller left Ireland two days after the National Cup success. At the Greyhound Derby track at White City in London, Mick took part in a trial run, a solo run of 525 yards against the clock. He actually broke the track record by 0.03 seconds!
Four days later Round 1 of The Derby took place. This time Mick The Miller broke the world record in a time of 29.80 seconds! This meant he was the first greyhound in history to run 525 yards in under 30 seconds!
Following that fantastic Derby debut, several offers were made to Fr Brophy to buy Mick The Miller. He agreed to sell him to Albert Williams (a bookmaker from Wimbledon) on condition that Fr Brophy would get the prize-money if Mick The Miller came 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the final. Mick The Miller did indeed go on to win the final and Fr Brophy was presented with the winning cheque of £700. It was also agreed that Fr Brophy would be presented with the trophy.
Mick The Miller went on to break many World Records, some of which remain unbroken to this day.
His unique running style and popularity drew people in their thousands to the new sport of greyhound racing in England. It is said he did more to promote the sport than any man or dog. He is still regarded as the most famous greyhound in the world.
In 1934 Mick The Miller starred in a film called Wild Boy produced by Gainsborough Pictures along with stars of the day, Sonnie Hale, Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen.