By Neil Brown - www.agra.com.au
There was probably only one greyhound that deserved to be the oldest member of the AGRA Hall of Fame and that’s the dog that is claimed to be Australian’s Champion of Champions Chief Havoc. It is almost impossible to compare eras but it’s hard to argue with both Chief Havoc’s race record and more importantly his contribution to the Australian stud scene is quite imposing. I think combined they almost put the champion out on his own, I’m happy to let you be the judge.
In a time following the Second World War, Chief Havoc was acclaimed to be the world’s fastest greyhound. His deeds captured the imagination of the nation and brought crowds to the track in numbers never seen before.
The legend commenced in the mid 40’s in north-eastern New South Wales. Mr Russ Westerweller a public trainer of Gunnedah and Mr Ernie Swan of Manilla decided to breed a litter combining greyhounds they had raced by association. Westerweller had raced and trained Naw’s Own on lease from Swan. He also trained Trion an outstanding greyhound bred by Mrs Swan, both dogs had clashed in the 1944 NCA Trophy.
You could call it luck or just good management that the gentlemen decided on a union between the brilliant Trion, a greyhound who had won 40 races on 15 different tracks in New South Wales and Thelma’s Mate – a litter sister to Naw’s Own. Whatever the case it’s a breeding philosophy that has stood the test of time and remains a successful formula today.
The litter was the first for both dogs and was whelped on September 12th 1944; it comprised six dogs and two bitches. Entry the second and another prominent figure in the Chief Havoc story Mr Jack Millerd of Werris Creek New South Wales. Millerd sent a letter requesting a pup from the litter and purchased a five-week-old fawn and white dog for eight guneas in October 1944. Chief Havoc or “Patches” as he was affectionately called, soon became an important member of the Millerd family. Not only was he was reared in the backyard, but the young pup had the run of the place from the time he arrived.
Chief Havoc commenced his race career on the 20th of April 1946 at Grafton in a heat of the Easter Maiden. He was backed off the map and won easily, returning to score in the final two days later. It was to be the start of an astonishing career that saw the champion tagged as the “World’s fastest greyhound” and ” a wonder dog”.
A Tribute To Chief Havoc
Now gather round you punters and bookies here tonight,
We want to draw attention to an important oversight.
There’s a wonder dog in question made coursing history,
This hound was named CHIEF HAVOC and is buried by this tree.
Born a real Australian, won races by the score.
With a heart as big as Phar Lap and the brains of trainers galore,
Tonight we all should toast him, a son of GUNNEDAH.
A brave and honest coursing dog, as good ones mostly are,
Tonight we should remember him, as all here will agree.
They never breed them better than the old hound by the tree.
And sometimes on a race night, when the bunny starts to whirr,
And the traps spring open I’m sure the old CHIEF stirs
And listens fill the punters have all gone home, Too soon,
Then he has a final gallop by the pale light of the moon.