THE first dead heat in a top-class greyhound race for 20 years saw Hometown Honey and Calazaghe Lilly share the prize money in the William Hill Grand Prix at the Tetley’s Sunderland Greyhound Stadium.
Judges were unable to split the two dogs crossing the line.
Blonde greyhound Hometown Honey (trap five) was neck and neck with race favourite Calazaghe Lilly (trap 6) just as the two dogs hit the line.
With a £15,000 first prize, the Category One race is one of the richest prizes in the greyhound racing calendar and the last time one of the sport’s elite races was called a dead-heat was for the 1991 Grand National race, held at Hall Green in Birmingham.
Jennie Prest, spokeswoman for race sponsors William Hill, said: “Few people at the stadium could ever remember a dead-heat in a top-flight race and we had to dig out the record books to look up the last time this happened, more than 20 years ago.
“It is made even more unusual in that Thursday night’s race was over the longer distance of 640m race, rather than a sprint distance where the runners are always closer together – in athletics terms it’s like having a photo-finish in a 5,000m race rather than the 100m.”
The co-winners have share the total £18,000 first and second prize money and will both receive a trophy from the race sponsors.
Local trainer Kelly Macari scored one of the biggest wins of her young career as her Pinpoint Maxi took the other Category One feature race of the evening, the £25,000 William Hill Classic.
It was Macari’s fifth Category One win, but the first at her home track. Favourite Pinpoint Maxi was a popular winner with the crowd.