A greyhound named after Jota will run his first ever race tonight – and if he moves anything as gracefully as the Brentford FC star he'll be a sure fire winner.
Jota El Ray, which translates at Jota the King in Spanish, will run a second grade race at Towcester, a track which lies in the corridor between the M40 and M1 in Northamptonshire.
The dog is owned by a syndicate of some 160 people, mainly Bees fans, which is led by Bees Player commentator Mark Burridge, for whom Brentford FC and greyhounds are twin passions.
Burridge, a Bees fan of some 52 years, has been involved with greyhound racing for just as long and already has a financial interest in three other dogs.
He said: “It all started with a single tweet we received at Bees Player after the Rotherham game (who Brentford beat 4-2 back in February), in which Jota scored a hat-trick, and the idea mushroomed from there.
“Within five days we had enough people to form the syndicate and we started looking at dogs, and we looked at the one we chose just before the Forest game (who Brentford beat 3-2 two weeks after the Rotherham game). I said if Jota scores tonight, this is our dog, and he did.”
The name was originally to be Jota in the Last Minute due to the player's penchant for scoring crucial late goals, not least the last gasp winner against rivals Fulham two years ago.
But as greyhound names are limited to 16 letters, the syndicate settled on Jota El Ray for their dog, which is trained on Stanwell Moor by Matt Dartnall.
There was only ever going to be one player name involved though. Not only is Jota seen as arguably the greatest Brentford player of the modern era, but he provided Burridge with his most memorable piece of commentary.
The Spanish wizard has scored many outstanding goals, but one particularly stunning effort in a win over Blackburn two years ago promoted a Brazilian-style outburst from the commentator.
He added: “It wasn't intended, it just happened, and I still get requests now to do it again. He's certainly the most exciting player I have commentated on down the years.”
Jota El Ray will race from trap number three in the 10pm at Towcester and is up against Jimmy the Liar, Nimrod Son, Towstar Lucy, Pauless Bluemoon and Xavier.