A day at the races

Since her return to full-on physical activity, Beanie’s frequently impressed us with her speed and agility when playing chases with other dogs. She routinely exhausts labradors and can even outrun her older, male Beagle buddy Tanner. So, when we heard that there was a weekly Beagle racing club not too far away, we just had to go.

The races are held at Inch Farm, Kincardine on Sunday. The race track is a straight, flat piece of fenced land and the lure is a bundle of tape pulled by a cable. The track is shared with a friendly group of whippet enthusiasts. When the whippets race, they’re released from proper racing cages. These are far too narrow for well-fed Beagle bottoms though, so the Beagles are just held at the start line and released by hand. They do still get to wear proper colored racing jackets though:

At the start line

When we got there we figured Beanie would only get to run on her own due to her young age, but after some discussion it was decided that our pup would be allowed to run in a proper race. After all, she runs far more than that when she’s playing in the park! So Beanie’s name went into the draw and before long she was lined up against two adult Beagles, straining at her collar and baying excitedly.

Both Susan and I were playing it cool, but we had high hopes for our little houndlet. On the journey in we’d joked that Beanie would not only outrun the other overweight and under-exercised Beagles, but catch and chew up the lure as well. As I stood waiting at the finish line – with my camera all ready to shoot – I couldn’t stop the theme from Chariots of Fire from playing in my head. Oh yes, the sweet scent of victory was in the air! Suddenly the signal was given, and the race was on:

Keep watching the clip, because Beanie’s not the first dog to cross the line. Or the second. Nope, she’s the little rascal in the red jacket that would only jog down the track if Susan came with her. Apparently, she did start running at the start of the race, but then like a good girl she thought better of leaving her Mum at the start line, and headed back to make sure that everything was OK. Happily, she got another try later on, and with both Susan and I down at the finish line she did actually complete the race, although she was completely outpaced by the older Beagles. My mental jukebox switched from “Chariots of Fire” to “Shattered Dreams”, another 80’s classic.

After the races an informal dog show was held for both Beagles and Whippets. Beanie was awarded a rosette by way of consolation, but it tasted just as good to her as a hard-won “1st in show”. She was a bit upset when I extracted from her mouth though.

And finally, you may be familiar with the cute little Labrador puppy that fronts the commercials for Andrex toilet tissue. Here’s the Beagle version:

Now how you gonna wipe yer arse?