Its about his match winning bitch he had in the mid 70's, a few may or may not recognise some of the names inside
either way chaps tell me what you think please
My Lou - By Billy Bruce
Saluki x Greyhound x Bedlington
I am about to tell you a story about a little coursing bitch called Lou.
It all started one day back in April 1974, my cousin Phoebe's husband, Johnny Coates, came round to where I lived near Abbeywood and asked if I was interested in two pups. He knew someone who lived at Bean trailer site, near Dartford, called Sammy Samuels. I said “Let’s Go and have a look at them”. We arrived at the site and Johnny said to Sam that I wanted to have a look at the pups. He showed me them and as soon as I saw them I liked them. I asked him how much and he said £150 for the two. In them days it sounded a bit dear, I’m talking when you could buy a decent dog for about £30, but anyway I struck a deal at £125 for the pair. The Sunday after I took them to Baldock with another little brindle bitch called Queenie, she was a bit temperamental some days but when she ran she could bust them. Anyhow she killed plenty of hares for me in her time. That Sunday I put all 3 on 2 hares, knowing that Queenie would kill them for the pups; it was the middle of April so the hares were easy to kill that time of the year. This routine of giving the pup’s easy kills went on all summer long; Lou must have had 30-40 easy kills with her brother and Queenie
One time I was stopping on Albert Taylors yard at Cambridge, when me and my cousin Levi Lee decided to give the dogs a run, he had a black and white bitch that Mick Harris had bred. Mick was one of the best coursing men who had ever lived, I miss him a lot, and we had some good days coursing together. We went coursing, but I decided to only take the black dog, we chucked them both on a half grown leveret, it turned into a bit of a grueler, the leveret kept coming out of the field and onto the lane. One time on the lane the black pup, now 10 month old, fell over a dropped dead, Levi's bitch carried on the course, got the leveret back in the field and killed it. I brought the leveret back home, skinned it, gutted it and cooked it for my dinner the next night, after that I left Lou and Queenie alone for about 6 weeks.
At the beginning of September, when the corn had just been cut, I started to take them coursing again. In September Queenie killed about 10 hares for Lou by doubling up; the way she was running I knew she would kill hares on her own one day. It was the end of September I decided she was ready to have a run single handed, I took her down to the Isle Of Grain on the grass, within 10 minutes a hare got up about 10 yards in front of me, I slipped Lou, she went straight up to it and within about 5 or 6 bends she caught it, I was over the moon. Then, another 2 hares got up, she caught them as well, my little dream came true, I knew she was capable of killing single handed, I thought to myself “3 out of 3,what a bitch”. I started to go back to my van, I was carrying the hares back when another 3 hares got up and she caught them as well. I could hardly believe she could catch 6 hares single handed 1st time of asking, at the time I was wearing braces, I took them off and tied 3 hares on each brace and hung them round my neck and started to walk back, when I got back to my van my neck was aching, I got into the van and drove home. I then went round to my 2nd cousin Buster's place and showed him the 6 hares that she had killed. He was pleased for me, he said “Good Luck Brucey, look after her”. I must have told people what she had done for a whole year after that, run 6 hares and she never missed one.
I started to match her with a few of the boys I knew, my Uncle Eddie, mums brother; I had him for a tenner, then Uncle John, mums brother, a tenner off of him also. Then Johnny Coates and his uncle little Joe Coates, we went to Royston behind Silver Ball Cafe, the match was for £50. Lou stopped 3 hares that day, and then I raced Clifford Lee for £15, not losing any matches. Then me and Buster started going, we went to Prickwillow on the Fens, at 15 1/2 months old, she stopped 3 hares single handed. Two weeks before Christmas 1974, Buster took a photo of us, I took the photo to a man in Dartford who done an oil painting of Lou and me, with 3 hares in one hand.
One night just before Christmas ‘74, Joey Coates came round to where I lived and said he knew 2 brothers who were stopping at Doncaster, on a site, who had permission. He wanted to know if I would race them, I said yes, the race was for £100. Me, Joe and my Dad, went to Doncaster on Boxing Day morning, they was on a site at Thorne. When we got there, still dark, I noticed my Uncle Johns trailer, I knocked him up he made us a cup of tea. He had a 12x12 kitchen tent. He said have you come up here to run them boys, I said yes, he said “you are wasting your money, their bitch is red hot” I replied “you don’t think I have come 200 miles with a dog that can’t kill a hare?”. I wanted him to come and see the match but he couldn’t because he had to visit his boy, Ginger John, who was inside. Anyway, we drove to some fields along the old Scunthorpe Road a18, the first 2 hares up with Mike and Orries bitch, she missed both hares, my bitch Lou killed her first 2 hares, she made the hares look bad, they paid me £100 I said “let’s go home” but seeing as she had 2 easy kills, I decided to run her again, this time I told everybody to stay on side of the field and I would walk it on my own. Joe said “I’ll walk with you”, after about 3 or 4 minutes Joes black rough coated dog saw a hare and took to it, I kept on walking 2 or 3 minutes later a hare jumped about 20ft in front of me, I slipped Lou, she run straight up to it without bending it, picked it straight up.
A few weeks later I raced Billy West from Bottersdale near Diss. He had permission, the race was for £100, Billy had a fawn bitch called Lyla, anyway, I won that race, afterwards we all went in a pub and had a good old chat about dogs and a sing song. All those west boys can sing a song you would be hard pressed to find better company, one and all true gentlemen. After that I started to run her all over the country, Yorkshire, Salisbury Plaines, Wantage, Baldock, Newmarket, Royston, Prickwillow, Leysdown, Romney Marsh, Pevensey Bay, Reculver Bay, Cliff Marches and a few other places I can’t think of. Wherever Lou Ran she made most hares look bad, a little time afterwards I raced my good old coursing partner Buster at Wantage, Buster slipped his black bitch on a hare, had a very good run, unlucky not to have killed it. Lou had next run, all over after 5 bends, another hare dead. I put her on a lead and walked over to Buster, I noticed his bitch’s front pad split open gushing blood, a very bad cut. I said “call the bet off”, it was for £50, I could see she shouldn’t run again that day, anyway, he said 'no'. I slipped again and Lou stopped her hare pretty quick, Buster slipped his bitch on another hare, he shouldn’t of done, she ran the hare in a straight line for about 500 yards then came back, she was finished, he gave me the £50, I didn’t want to take it but he insisted.
A Week later Busters brother Bill Saw me, he made a bet with me for the following Sunday at Stow. Bill, Buster, Me and Billy Pearce and my brother John went together to Stow, however, I beat him as well for £50, and she carried on killing hares not missing any. The summer came I moved to Wolverhampton, behind a disused petrol garage. Me and Johnny Coates went coursing round the lanes, I spotted 2 hares rutting in a field, pulled up, ran my bitch out to them, they both squatted as I was getting nearer to them, one got up and went, I slipped, Lou got to it 4 or 5 bends and had it killed, Johnny was standing about 10 ft. away from the other hare, the one I killed was the buck, so I started to walk back to the van, Johnny was indicating he was near the other hare, me knowing it was the doe, I ignored it, and walked away because I knew if it got up and I slipped Lou she would have killed it, then we moved at the beginning of September to Doncaster, we pulled on Joe Cunningham’s place Tilts. In the night we went for a drink in the Toll Bar Working Men’s Club, after about 20 minutes, Bob Gaskin came over to me and said “I heard you’ve got a good coursing bitch” I replied “yes she aint bad”. He offered to have a bet with me,he had a black bitch called Kinky, she had a broken tail, I said no because Lou had a sore foot, he said “my bitch has got a couple of cuts” he was a bit determined to have a bet, I still said “no”. Then he offered me 5 to 3, I said ill run you your £50 to my £30 he then said “leave off, I mean £500 to your £300” then I replied 'tell you what, I’ll run ya for a straight £100, I don’t need no odds”, the bet was on for the next morning, which was Sunday. We raced in some fields near the Darrington a1, near a stone quarry. Busters brother Bill came, we ran 3 hares each and killed them, we stopped, went home for dinner and carried the match on after dinner, met each other near a pub called the Pied Bull. However Kinky missed her first hare up, Lou stopped hers, He came over and gave me £100, I slipped Lou on another and she stopped that as well. The return match was on for next week, 1st hare up for Bob, his bitch had a grueler finished up running it to a bit of cover, she stopped at the cover panting and blowing, Bob sent 3 or 4 young boys, 7 or 8 year old, over to where the hare went, they flushed it out and his bitch caught it. My turn now, me and Danny Coates were walking when Danny spotted a hare in a seat. He called me over, I went up behind the hare, as it got up I slipped and she only put 2 bends in it then killed it, Bob said ' he can’t run for another hour' I offered to run Lou the next 2 hares to give his bitch a breather. We finished up in the Pied Bull, after about 5 minutes Bob said “his bitch can’t run no more”, and I replied “in that case you lose your money” but he said we are evens, then one of Bobs in laws said to me “ I bet you £50 she won’t catch her next hare” me knowing she aint missed a hare for nearly a year I said “I’ll bet you £100 she will kill her next 2 up, not 1” another man wanted the same bet, so I had he's £100, 2 others wanted the same bet, I said “no, I’ve got enough” but Mike and Orrie Gaskin covered their bets, so now £400 on Lou, needless to say, she killed her next 2 hares, Joe Wilshire saw her do it and tried to buy her offering £600 but I said no, when I dropped the 2 hares at Bobs feet, I said I’ll give you a chance next week, then Bob and Kevin, his brother, tried buying Lou, I again said “No, Joe just tried offering me £600”, Bob said “Do you want £800” I said no again, then they said “put her on price” and I still said 'No’.
I met Bob a week later at Downham market where Joe Wilshire stopped, to race him again, on the way going there, I said to Billy Pearce who came with me “I am going to lose the match”, it was the only way I could get Bob to stop betting me, we walked the fields and a hare got up 300 yards away, I slipped Lou she chased it in a straight line for 400 yards into some woods. Bobs black bitch killed her 1st hare, then I slipped on the same sort of distance again, she ran it in a straight line, into the woods as she did before, I said to Bob “she's had enough and can’t run no more” then I gave him £100, he said “I knew I had the better bitch” I kept my thoughts to myself. The next week I ran her at the tea stall layby 6 mile bottom in Newmarket, with Seaman Anderson and old Johnny Lappin, an Irishmen, who I had known since i was 15. She stopped 5 out of 5 that morning, on the way walking back to my van to go home we met Billy, Tommy and Archie Brown, they said is that the bitch you ran Bob Gaskin last week, I said it was, they said “we'll race you”, they had permission on the fields at the tea stall. They asked how she had done that morning and I said she had run 5 but only killed 1, which was a lie, however I met them there the next week and beat them, Lou ran 3 and stopped them all, and their dog ran 3 and stopped 2. Any dog to stand a chance against Lou, had to kill 3 out of 3 just to draw, she stood about 23 inches, smooth coated and very sharp, vary rarely did she have a grueler, definitely a bitch with that killer instinct.
Then Buster made a meet for me to a man down at Leysdown, he had a fawn broken coated dog for £100. When we met he realised my bitch had been racing the Gaskins, Billy West and the Brown Boys, so decided to back out of the bet, we walked some fields, Busters black bitch ran 3 and stopped them, then Lou ran 3 and killed them, but the last hare took a lot out of her it was a grueler, so I decided not to run her no more. Charlie Winyats dog ran 5 and stopped 5, would I have beaten his dog? I think that day Lou might of lost. It turns out that his dog and my bitch was litter brother and sister. His dog was known as Toby the Hoover. Any man whoever slipped a coursing dog and lived down south, knew Toby, he was the best dog that ever lived and came from Sittingbourne, was Lou better than Toby? Hard to say, all I know is Lou killed hares all over England, where as Toby very rarely ran outside of Kent. If both dogs were alive today and in their prime, they would be worth a fortune; this story could go on a lot longer. Any man who might think I’m exaggerating how good Lou was, just ask the ones I beat with her they will tell you.
- J Darcy, sniffer, bullseye and 96 others like this