One of the truly great bitches has been retired to the breeding paddocks following the news that Singalong Sally is to race no more.
During an illustrious career that commenced in February 2021, she only ever raced in the very best company and cemented her position as one of the greats.
A GREAT START TO HER CAREER
It was clear ahead of her debut that she was hugely exciting. At just 16 months, in November 2020, she recorded a rapid 28.44 in qualifying at Shelbourne Park.
Her first start came in the opening round of the 2021 Greyhound & Petworld Juvenile Classic at Tralee and she gave a sign of things to come.
In a competition that featured future classic winners Good Cody, Romeo Magico, Ballymac Merlin and One Time Only, she set the standard in the opening round, clocking a very useful 28.95 (Rated .60 slow) in very wet conditions.
Winning her second-round heat before overcoming traffic to finish second in the semi-finals, she was at her brilliant best in the decider. Flashing from traps, she made every inch to land the €11,000 decider in a tremendous 28.58 (.30 slow).
It was the start of an incredible career. Her next assignment was the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial and she again reached the decider but was handed a tough draw in the black of four. Bad traffic saw her finish last but she was now firmly established as one of the best in training.
HER DERBY CAMPAIGN
She came in season soon after, missing the Oaks and English Derby, but Pat Buckley felt her forward enough to have a crack at the 2021 Boylesports Derby.
It was clear in the early rounds that she was way off her best but, with each round, she improved.
She was only thirteen weeks out of season by the time the quarter finals came along. This was the first time in the Derby that she was able to show something close to her best form, winning in 29.70. She was now in a Derby semi despite her season dates.
It was an indication of just how special she was. She posted 29.51 in the semi-finals, finishing four lengths behind All About Ted. Incredibly, at just fifteen and a half weeks out of season she was in a Derby final.
Of course, the 2021 Derby decider will forever be remembered for the display of Susie Sapphire as she maintained her unbeaten record through the competition but Singalong Sally produced a massive run to finish runner-up.
Forcing her way through on the fence to go second, she closed on the leader to the third turn before staying on strongly to go down by just three lengths. In defeat, she posted 29.39. To this day, only three Derby winners have ever gone faster including Susie Sapphire.
ENDING 2021 ON A HIGH
Soon after she starred in the early rounds of the Laurels at Cork, only to make an unlucky exit in the third round.
She suffered the same fate in the Leger but she was to return to the winner’s enclosure at the Winter Racing Festival at Shelbourne Park.
Showing all her many qualities, she forced her way past Clona Skye around the last two bends to land the €5,000 Open Bitch 525 in 28.20. She ended the year by reaching another big final, eventually finishing third to Good Cody in the Kingdom Derby.
WHAT A START TO 2022
After achieving so much in her first year, it was perhaps unfair to expect her to be as effective in 2022 but she began the year like a whirlwind.
Returning after a layoff, he took her chance in the Champion Bitch Stake at Thurles.
To say she dominated the competition is quite the understatement. Going unbeaten through the three-round competition, she posted 28.35 (.30 slow) and 28.72 (.30 slow) in the prelims before winning the decider in 28.43 (.30 slow).
Next it was onto the Select Stakes where she again reached the final, finding traffic before finishing fourth to Explosive Boy. A brilliant English Derby Trial Stake victory on Kirby Memorial final night set her up for a crack at the showpiece in Towcester.
OUT OF LUCK AT TOWCESTER
Everything seemed to be going to plan for the brilliant bitch, winning her second and third round assignments with real authority.
By the time she lined up in the quarter finals, she was amongst the favourites for outright glory. An even money favourite for her heat, she was desperately unlucky, being forced to check her stride at a pivotal point in the contest before finishing a close fourth.
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be in England.
She was given a few weeks off only to return for the Dundalk International. Again, she ran her heart out only to be collared late by Explosive Boy. After a second-round exit from the Derby, she returned on final night to run a huge race in defeat, pushing Crossfield Linda to the line.
END OF THE ROAD
To highlight her consistency and continued brilliance, her final start saw her clock 28.16 at Shelbourne Park.
Her lucky owner Gilbert Anderson and handler Pat Buckley contemplated taking in some of the big end of season classics but, at almost three and a half year of age, she would again have to take on the younger generation.
The brilliant daughter of Tullymurry Act and Droopys Smasher has gone to the well so often for them before that they felt the time was right to retire her. She has yet to come into season but, when she does, she will have a date with Droopys Sydney.
A SPECIAL LADY
Pat Buckley was understandably quick to throw rose petals at his star.
“She’s going to be impossible to replace. From the very start we knew she was special and she retires having only ever raced in the very best of company.
“She just didn’t know how to run a bad race. If you look at her record, it’s scary how good she was. To go so close in the Derby at just fifteen and a half weeks out of season tells its own story. Only for Owen’s bitch (Susie Sapphire), she would have been bitch of the year. It was amazing that there were two such special bitches around at the same time.
“Honestly, she was just incredible. She was as tough and genuine as she was brilliant and I’d love to find another like her.”
Pat is right. In any era, she would have been the standout bitch. Given her achievements through her career, she will rightly be remembered as one of the great performers of the modern era. We look forward to seeing her progeny hit the track in the future. Given the brilliance of their dam and their pedigree, they should be worth waiting for.