03 January 2019, The Tablet

Remembering hare coursing, the sport that fell from grace

Remembering hare coursing, the sport that fell from grace

Spectators at Ireland’s 2006 national hare coursing championships in Co. Tipperary
Niall Carson


When the Hunting Act came into force in 2005, hare coursing, a sport that had once drawn larger crowds than the Grand National, came to an end

In the 1980s I was persuaded by a pub acquaintance of mine in London to buy a racing greyhound. It was to be trained just off the A3 and would race at the Wimbledon Greyhound stadium. I was assured that we were on to a winner. I persuaded four other foolhardy punters to come in with me. The man in the pub told me he would tip us the nod when our dog, an import from Ireland called Mylers Arch, would win.

Sadly it never did. We all lost money on the dog’s first outing. But we persevered; we kept paying our monthly training fees and wondering when the brute would have his next run.

After six months I went back to the man in the pub – the conduit between our syndicate and the trainer – and asked when we might see our dog on the track again. I was informed that the wretched creature had broken his leg and had been put down five months previously. Five months! For good measure, I was told that no training fees would be returned.

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