So far, only four dogs have managed to win the English Greyhound Derby more than once, and one of them was Rapid Ranger (1998-2010) who won this prestigious race in the years 2000 and 2001.
Rapid Ranger was born in Ireland on January 11, 1998. His parents were “Come on Ranger” and “Rapid Vienna”. His owner was Ray White.
When Rapid Ranger started racing, he was defeated in his first two events, but won the third one and qualified for the Puppy Classic final at Nottingham Greyhound Stadium. He enjoyed a series of victories in late 1999 and placed second in the Juvenile Championship at Wimbledon in January 2000.
After his series of race victories in the later part of 1999, Rapid Ranger was sent to the renowned dog trainer Charlie Lister who trained him for the rest of his career.
The English Greyhound Derbies of 2000 and 2001
As a young adult, Rapid Ranger finished third the Scottish Greyhound Derby and was sent to England to participate in the 2000 English Greyhound Derby. He didn´t win the second round but placed high enough to continue to the derby final. In the final, he performed much better and crossed the finish line with 3.5 lengths to spare against runner-up Racket Jet.
Fairly soon after the 2000 English Greyhound Derby victory, Ray White decided to let Rapid Ranger rest from the racing world. The dog did participate in a few races soon after his English derby victory, but after finishing second in the Irish Derby (won by Judicial Pride) he was sent to relax from competitions for several months. It would be about seven months before he surfaced again in the travelling circuit, as he got into competition mode again by starting in the Scottish Derby and a race in Brighton & Hove.
For the 2001 English Greyhound Derby, Rapid Ranger lost in both the first round and the quarter-final but placed high enough to continue. For the final, the betting favourite was Sonic Flight, with the odds 10:11, while odds for Rapid Ranger were 7:4.
In the final, Rapid Ranger took the lead right away and never relinquished it. As he crossed the finish line, he secured a £50,000 first prize and became the third dog ever to win this derby more than once. The betting favourite Sonic Flight finished second (and in 2003, he became the father of the famous Westmead Hawk, who would go on to win the derby twice).
Rapid Ranger went into semi-retirement after his victory but re-emerged to participate in the 2002 English Greyhound Derby. He won the first round, but after two more rounds, he was out of the event. Now, he was retired for good.
After being retired from his racing career, Rapid Ranger lived with Lorraine Patient, a woman who worked for the dog trainer Tony Collett. Ray White kept in touch with Ranger and the two of them would take long walks together on the weekends. Ranger embarked on a new career as a breeding stud and was much sought after.
When Rapid Ranger was already quite old, he participated in a champions parade. The event was a very exciting affair for him, and unfortunately, he suffered a stroke as a result. The stroke was not severe and Ranger survived.
In 2010, Ranger had a second stroke, and this one was much more serious. Despite extensive veterinary care, he never regained his ability to walk again after the stroke. The though the decision was made and he was euthanised on September 30, 2010, aged 12.