Published: 05:00, 20 October 2021
Owner Jozef Kis was in tears after his 28/1 shot Galaxy Freedom won the Kent Derby at Central Park on Sunday night.
Galaxy beat Hilight Arkle by a short head in a photo finish to give Kis a night to savour at the Sittingbourne dog track.
“I’ve been telling everyone for weeks he had so much potential - in hindsight I could have put my life savings on him!” said Hove-based Kis.
“He was second-last after the first bend but he has the heart of a lion.
“I thought trap 4 had won it on the line and I was so elated when the result was announced.
“I was crying, it was an amazing feeling.
“Everyone wants to win a Category 1 race but when your dog’s running it’s not about winning money, you just want them to be safe and not get knocked over.
“I’ve had so many goodwill messages.”
Kis got back into greyhound ownership about 18 months ago following a long break of 15 years.
The 63-year-old has an eye for it, with Galaxy Freedom bought from Ireland for a fraction of the cost of his Kent Derby rivals.
It’s perhaps time owners were afforded the same credit as trainers when greyhounds enjoy success.
“Not enough credit goes to the owners,” said Kis.
“I think the reason for that is sometimes you get owners with lots of money who’ll think nothing of spending £25-30,000 on a dog without doing their homework and they don’t really get involved.
"I take the family to the kennels, we walk the dogs, I’m quite involved.
“I got back into it about 18 months ago.
“When Covid came along, and you’re semi-retired, what do you do?
“I watched hundreds of videos of dogs and studied the Greyhound Data website, and Galaxy Freedom was one I was concentrating on.
“I didn’t pay a lot for him, he was a bargain.
“There’s an element of luck involved as well, of course there is, and I have made a couple of mistakes, but you won’t get every dog right.”