Black Type

15 Feb

As a greyhound handler I can say I’ve handled the winners or placegetter of 3 Group1 races, the Silver Chief and The Hobart Thousand, a 3rd in China Trips 1st Australian Cup a couple of group 2 country cups wins and placings.
Some of the other good dogs in the Bate kennel at the time like Immortal Flash a son of Ned Bryant’s 1985 Melbourne Cup quinella, his mother Sydney Dingaan beat home a future top stud dog in Shining Chariot.
Flash was a magnificent railer and a city Free For All winner was runner up in a Maturity and made the state final of The National Sprint Championship.
One night he was entered into a FFA at Bendigo drew box 1. I didn’t handle him that night I had a few runners in other events and I got one of our trusty handlers to box him, the other reason is I wanted to have a decent bet on him if the odds were there. He opened at 5-4 and as I wanted to take no chance that anyone else jumped I laid the ears back, rushed in and had $500 on him at……. 4-5 concession. Yeah I chickened a bit, I was about to have the biggest bet I’d ever had to that night, 10 times more than I’d ever bet before so I took the insurance of money back if he placed and not won.
I was shaking, palms sweaty, I looked at the squiggle on the bookies ticket IF 900 I could just make sense of it.
As the lids went up, still shaking and now I had this knot in my stomach, Flash had pinged straight on the lure and won the race like the class dog he was.

Not that I ever remember seeing them, somewhere on the walk to the kennels those 2 little devils the one Good on the left shoulder and Bad one on my right had their battle over me. Some might say the bad devil won. I like to think not! for right there and then I knew working with animals was the life I wanted.
I was fortunate enough to race against some of the best Greyhounds in Australia
Dogs like Highly Blessed, Head Honcho, China Trip. Two other dogs that I raced against that I have good memories about were litter brother and sister Iceni Princess and Frightful Flash. Iceni Princess could produce some remarkable efforts to overcome the trouble she found herself in, on the other hand Frightful Flash was just very good compared to his sister more importantly though was his consistency, what I really remember him for is his stud deeds in Ireland. He just clicked with those Irish bitches, he was the trailblazer for what was to become a host of Australian bred greyhounds standing at stud succesfully over there.

Without spoiling future posts some other Black Type events I have had the honour of presenting to race were:
1985 Inter Dominion with New Zealand visitor Zebec trained by Wilfred Arthur Slater and driven by Robin Butt unplaced to the great Scotch Notch.
In 2002 I post race paraded trotting Inter Dominion winner Game Bid while trainer Brent Lilley collected the trophy.
Sires Stakes Final 2yo fillies with Full Pleasure
Lady Joy mother of triple Derby winner Captain Joy, she is the fastest horse I’ve ever sat behind, paced a final furlong of a mile workout in under 13 seconds

I also attended to Makybe Diva’s 3/4 brother Musket at 2 of his last Melbourne Spring Carnival runs, Kidnapped who won a South Australian Derby although I didn’t travel to Adelaide to strap him, now we come to my favourite all time racetrack experience.
A 3rd place with Rarefied in the 2009 Group 2 Danehill Stakes won by the immortal Black Caviar at her 4th start. Wanted ran second in that race.


Harness Racing

6 Feb

Currently I feel Harness Racing in Australia is dire straits.
I’m writing this without any knowledge of any official data from wagering, *yearling sale averages or HR own KPI’s this is my gut feel.
At a time when we have some sensational horses providing sensational racing and individual performances, with one (Lazarus) even being compared with immortals of era’s past, prompting passionate debate, all of these positives for the sport can’t gain traction becausevof the ongoing race fixing scandals. Even the punt on anything brigade are turning their nose’s up at betting on harness! Obviously this will decimate turnover figures, in turn stiffling any prize money increase while also keeping hands un-raised at yearling sales.
*I have since heard the averages were down at Melbourne sale. Unofficially at time of writing.

All I’ll mention about the integrity issues is they need to be dealt with swiftly, by Harness Racing Authorities before waiting until the civil judicial process is heard.
Breaking the rules of harness racing themselves is not breaking the law.
Then apply penalties to make any other contemplating doing wrong to think better of it!
As for the scandals overall damage one only has to look at the Greyhound industry and what nearly happened to it. Don’t think HR is too big to be allowed to fail!
Take solace in the greyhound industry’s ability to overcome the adversity it faced!
Greyhound racing in Victoria had a helping hand from within by having over 10,000 registered participants at the time, GRV offered an easy avenue to increase these numbers by allowing interested parties a simple and free online application process to become a registered participant!

The Industry needs to be better served by its Broadcast Partner Sky Channel. The coverage of last week’s Hunter Cup was poor. They had all the harness media on course so why didn’t they use them better? The time allowed to Jason Bonnington in his pre race stable interviews wasn’t long enough for him to interview connections of more competitors!
I have tweeted suggestions about using social media platforms such as Facebook Live or Twitter’s Periscope to offer a hosting panel with time to hear from more connections.
I’m obviously unaware if there are broadcast stipulations that prevent this from being done.

I was initially critical of the marketing of the Cup but on review that wasn’t just!

The marketing of the race during the week was extensive on FM Radio stations and in mainstream print media, it was obviously sufficient enough to attract, what was it? 5,900 on course spectators. It was the coverage on the night that needs tinkering with, another medium to engage with those the pre-race marketing has reached but were unable to participate with their presence on the night.
Another thought on the presentation of the racing product is use of Go-Pro type cameras in the actual race! The footage doesn’t have to be broadcast live although that would be better, it can certainly be used in reviews of the race and in possible stewards investigation’s including protest hearings.

Another way I think could re-invigorate the Harness Racing economy overall is having more participants, HR needs facilities to offer a lower cost alternative to having to invest in your own training property. Shared facilities within a designated training hub.

Inside all these big stables are some very talented horsemen and women working as stablehands and foremen. Now if these people had the opportunity to set themselves up as trainers they would be more than capable of doing so! Starting with a few horses they’ll attract investment from family, friends and supporters, to survive they can offer pre-training services or breaking in depending on their skill set and contacts.
In my time on harness training farms in America these farms were run as a business some with 40-50 maybe more registered trainers, some with a very small team could actually share a barn to suit their numbers. As a business an empty barn earns no money! all the facilities were there for their use, at a cost of course. Day paddocks could be rented in morning afternoon or in all day periods, use of the pool or water Walker, feed suppliers delivered weekly with just the right amount of feed per horse per day charged at a daily rate, farriers were abundant it was a whole community within a community.
There would only need to be one of these to start with, ideally being adjacent to a existing track would be beneficial but there are other options, a property within half an hour drive of towns like Horsham, Hamilton, St.Arnaud Charlton or even as far out as Birchip. Towns like these offer affordable housing with mediums under $200,000 and rents are also commensurate with the lower house prices.
Increases in populations to these towns also benefit the township overall, there could also be some government incentives some of which are already available for rural relocation and 1st home buyers grants, so im sure if you did the figures 10 trainers could provide up to 100 horses to the racing pool with an accompanying increase in participants to the racing, these participants get a chance to establish a foothold in the game and can set roots in a township/community instead of being itinerant workers, taking them here and there to the next best job offer.
The industry could also help by programming more claiming races across all grades and claiming prices giving new trainers an option to purchase already racing stock for new owners and for other owners to turnover their charges even for themselves to take that chance to reinvigorate an old crock thus showing off their training talents!

How many registered participants does harness racing have? The Dale Monteith audit stated that over a period 4 years 2010-14 Harness Racing Victoria lost over 200 trainers nearly 15%

I’m intelligent enough to know these ideas are not without flaws, coming from a half mad sometimes narky nearly old fool. However you are quite welcome to point these flaws out through the comment section or on twitter @wrouty


I can say that in 6 years when I’m 55 and looking for a tree change I could not think of anything better than trotting off to my stable every morning and being as one with an equine athlete!

Twitter Interactions

31 Jul

On the night Fernando Bale competed and won his heat of the National Sprint Championship I had a lot of Twitter interactions with a few of my followers. I realised there are a lot of greyhound fans out there that don’t really know that much about the dogs they are betting on or even following, aside from reading a form guide, that’s not to say they are ignorant or don’t want to know. There are so many different scenarios that can affect a dog’s performance on the night. It’s not just about how they ran last start or what box they have. Queries were brought up as to the state of a wet track, the wind that was blowing on this particular night, the best size for a race dog and whether a male dog or a bitch are better to bet or easier to train.

So I’ll try and answer some of the questions as they were asked of me.

First off was the weight of a dog, as most should know a greyhound weight cannot vary more or less than 1kg between starts unless it’s last start was more than a month previous and a new weight is declared. I commented that for a circle track I would prefer a dog weighing no more than 34kg, this is my personal choice and by no means a dog larger than that couldn’t win on a circle track. A general rule with stayers is they should be lighter than when their careers first started off as sprinters. The theory is the less weight a dog has to carry (its own weight that is) the less effort that dog needs to exert to run out a 700m+ distance. For sprinters it’s the opposite, a heavily muscled large dog ( think disgraced Olympic Sprinter Ben Johnson) is no hindrance up to 500m. So when looking at weight variations which are released after all dogs have been kenneled it’s worth remembering these tips. Sprinters up in weight or the same should not be a concern and stayers down in weight or the same again should be no concern. The actual weight variations for me personally week to week should be no more or less than ½ a kilo variant.

Another query was whether bitches were less consistent than male dogs. I would say no. When looking back through some of the greats that I’ve seen from Sandi’s Me Mum, Highly Blessed, Miata, Xylia Allen, Sweet It Is to name just a few you couldn’t say they were inconsistent. The main hassle of training a bitch is her seasonal habits, an old school rule of thumb was if a bitch came on season under 2 years of she would come on season on average every 6 months and if she held on over 2 years of age she would be a 12 month cyclical bitch. In some cases a trainer may be lucky enough to have his girl not come on at all while racing. There are legal medications that can be used to keep a bitch off season but if used incorrectly they could lead to a positive swab for excessive hormone levels. Myself I prefer not to use any hormones on my bitches in case I wish to breed with them. I also don’t mind a bitch having a season as it’s a maturing process a canine goes through similar to a girl having a menstrual cycle thus turning her into a woman. The hassle with seasons for racing purposes is a bitch can bleed for up to 21 days and with a swollen vulva it is hard to get a bitch over the vets table in this condition, as it’s also against the rules of racing. She can continue to be worked and once her season is over there is a short time frame she can race before her mammary glands start to fill with milk due to the expectation she is having pups to feed, to run a bitch in milk can be dangerous as she can rupture her glands and do damage to herself.

Now to the track condition query, I’ll start by asking you a question, If you were to go for a jog on the beach where would it be easier to jog? Obviously not in the thick dry sand away from the water’s edge and not in the actual water either, it would be on the part the wave has covered in water and then receded back into the ocean. In theory a track is similar apply enough water and the track should race perfectly, even if light showers persist during the night and the track curator can get their machinery on to groom it there should also be no real change in condition. Now if it’s been pouring all night and the grooming cannot be done between races the paw-prints can’t be filled which would lead to a track downgrade, add to this a very windy night and times should be considerably slower.

I will add one more comment that wasn’t asked that I would like to explain. In another form of Greyhound racing which is called Lure Coursing as opposed to the still practiced Live Lure Coursing in Ireland, is 2 dogs compete against each other up a straight track with the lure dragged along the ground. These races are knock out rounds and the winner of the final will have 3 runs in the 1 day. Generally the runs of these dogs, on average 400m, the dogs run quicker as the day progresses. This shows the versatility of the Greyhound as well as their recovery rate.

So thanks Jack, Joel and Last_selections for your queries during the night and I hope this goes someway to help answer those queries, if you have any more questions you know where to find me on twitter @wrouty550WalkHardAction

Tasmania and Beyond

29 Dec

Sorry to all that I haven’t posted in awhile, 2015 I hope to change that, but as many who write know finding inspiration and mindset to do so becomes complicated when things are not going the way you want them too.

Having been poached or recruited in  what at the time seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand my career I packed up and flew to Hobart, Tasmania. The kennels were located in New Norfolk, there were a total of 16 kennels and 5 dogs ready and waiting for my expertise. I brought with me 3 dogs of my own so I  had 8 ready to go runners. We had 2 working runs and what is still at this stage one of the best straight tracks I have used  at my disposal. One of the dogs already located there was a well performed dog in Free For All company who was a brilliant beginner but struggled to run out a strong 457metre race. He also had a litter brother there who was struggling in any race. After a 2 weeks of strong conditioning work including being slipped up the straight every 2nd day under his own steam. That meaning handslipping without chasing the a lure, just somebody up the other end calling him up and waving a plastic bag, I entered him in a race he was eligible for which just happened to be the Easter Cup over the 457m distance at the Hobart showgrounds.

I was eager on race day to get the daily paper to see read the comments about him. He was  given no hope against what were Tassies best dogs at the time. Every one had an opinion and they were all similar, my dog had no chance, wasn’t strong enough at the end to win. So off to the start we go, I was as nervous as I had ever been placing a dog into the boxes. The last time I placed a dog into these boxes was the best dog i’d ever handled, Bomber Gleeson and that was in the final of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand which he won.

So Sonic Silver was placed into his box, the lure started rolling and I started shaking, lids up and Silver pinged the lids and led by 5 lengths around the bend and turning into the straight  he was still leading by the same distance and I like everyone else was waiting for him to stop, of course this was a fairytale beginning and Ol’ Silver kept going to win the race at the juicy odds of 50/1. Wow just Wow was all I could say. Perfect start. Silver won a couple of more races for me and his brother sonic Special joined the party on another occasion giving me my first double.

I was offered a couple of dogs including a hurdler, now are they fun to have around, although this one was a nightmare, I set the galloping runs at home up with construction orange bunding about a foot high and every time the hurdler worked he jumped over these little hurdles. He was a natural, so anyway off to Hobart trials we go with a warning that he tries to jump everything to keep following the lure as he knew it stopped in the back straight. I let a friend box the dog as I wanted to see what he did in the catching pen for myself to make sure he didn’t escape and become a nuisance of himself . It was a four dog hurdle trial and he began well and powered away for an easy trial win, as the lure pulled away and the dogs were entering the catching pen this boy hadn’t eased up one bit, into the pen fell speed, with everyone waving their arms and yelling for him to stop he put in an almighty leap and cleared the catching pen gate and proceeded to follow the lure to where it stops up the back straight.

A moment I’ll never forget and the excitement as I ran up to collect him was soon tempered as he was standing at the lure with his leg in the air, with his almighty  leap over the catching pen gate he must of landed awkwardly and unfortunately had a broken wrist. So a hurdle winner he was not to be nor me as a trainer.

After 3 months in Tasmania I had trained 15 winners, unfortunately this was all about to come to an end, the person I was in partnership had been embarrassed by my success and devised an argument to have with me and my anger came to the fore and we decided going separate ways was the only option. I moved down the road to the tiny township of Magra and set up camp there, the facilities were ok but they did’t have the working runs I needed to suit my training style. I battled to keep my charges fit although one dog in particular continued to keep improving, we were good mates Billy and I. Billy was owned by 3 race callers from Melbourne, Ron Hawkswell, David Raphael and Rob Testa. I took him up to Launceston the only track he hadn’t won at in Tasmania and he duly saluted giving me enough cash to board the boat and return home to Melbourne. So ending my Tasmanian sojourn.

After returning to Melbourne I entered Billy in a maiden  coursing event at Lang Lang. He won that also. I knew I could train but had no property to train from that suited my style. I waited a few years and during that time I worked on the city link project at the Tullamarine end of the project. I was leading hand on the crew that placed  all the barriers in the middle of tollway  and at the sides as well. they are all still standing today. A very proud achievement for a greyhound trainer.

More From Anakie

29 Dec

I settled in well at Anakie, there was Graeme his wife Bev 100 dogs and myself, as well as working 100 dogs from 3 sets of kennels. One Gaeme’s one for Bev and a set for myself we had 30 break ins and ran a public trial track 4 mornings a week. It was busy but like all top operations we were all as important as each other and the system Graeme used made it easy than most would imagine.

There were 3 pairs of 100 metre long by 10 metres wide runs The runs are 10 metres apart with a walkway down the middle of them. In the morning all dogs would be worked in their normal pairings. The left hand side run was for dogs and the right hand side for bitches. Dogs are released into each run and will usually wait for their partner before taking off for a gallop. With both dogs released they gallop off eyeing each other off a few barks to stir each other up. A good working pair could work up to 1k in the runs of free galloping. Stress free galloping a frolic if you will. Some dogs were keener than others and could run themselves into the ground if you let them. This is where discretion and your skill as a trainer is required, to know when a dog has had enough work. While the dogs are working you keep your eye on them for soundness issues and keenness. Once the dogs have emptied and have their breathing under control, they are returned to the kennels fed an easy breakfast of bread or a 2×4 biscuit. and rested until 3pm when the same procedure is repeated. The only difference is dogs racing that evening are let loose into the runs by themselves, once emptied they are placed into the trailer and taken to the races. For the rest not racing the work continues. There is no day off for greyhounds even after they race, the next morning they will work with their partner and again observation is key in detecting any abnormalities.

Normal racing weeks went like this. Monday night Olympic Park or Bendigo

Tuesday Horsham or Geelong trials

Wednesday Morning Olympic Park trials, evening Ballarat, occasionally Warnambool

Thursday Shepparton or Sandown  

Friday night home track at Geelong. Saturday night we would sometimes venture to Cranbourne but as Saturday and Sunday mornings were public trial mornings we concentrated on that on weekends as well as some fishing in Corio Bay. The trial track was an important tool in feeding Graeme kennels with a constant supply of race dogs, graduating from break in class to others with chasing issues. 

Muscle checking was done by Graeme himself and i’m forever grateful to Graeme for teaching me this skill. It has saved me 1000’s of dollars in wasted trips to another muscle man or vet to confirm what I already knew.

After 3 years at Anakie I was enticed by an owner to train for myself and I packed my bags and headed off to the Apple Isle to forge out my own identity as a trainer. That will be in my next post, until then have a safe New Years eve and may 2014 bring you success in what you do.

Until then. 


Call to Arms

25 Oct

G’day Shane.

I read your latest spring carnival blog and I have to agree that something needs to be done to  engage new participants and just as importantly it must  also re-engage with a lost generation. While reading your post I realised by definition I am a stalker. For all these years I thought I had a relationship with racing, alas racing doesn’t know or want to know I exist. It doesn’t know when I attend and what I spend my cash on or even what it needs to do to continue this relationship. You see I fall outside the targeted demographic of 18-39 age group.

Now classed in the 40-54 demographic our age group still remembers the glory days of racing when being at the track was a must. The crowd was “captured” by the racing and the event.  Not to attend regular Saturday’s meant you were only a casual race goer and not a serious follower of the sport. This same age group has seen racing fall from those lofty heights, a sport now attended by gambling degenerates and drunks, at sparsely attended racecourses, well past their use by date both on-course and off. It has now witnessed this industry become disposable, 7 day a week meetings that roll into each other and have little purpose, aside from a betting medium  . Even if this is not entirely true, guilt by association rules peoples thoughts of this once great sport.

If the racing industry is to capture any demographic as regular race goers, it has to offer a lot more than it currently does. A new experience, more modern ,more streamlined and as you state take some risks , try different things and importantly listen to people and  admit any  failings.

Shane, you are being heard by those that want change. You shouldn’t be the lone voice, we as participants should stand alongside you and demand racing administrators stop this sport sliding into an abyss from which there is no return.

What else can be done for administrators to hear us?

Regards David.


Kyneton Party pies?

11 Oct

Hello Racing Fans

I haven’t written for a while as I wanted to concentrate this blog as a story of my life in racing.

At this time I don’t think sharing that is as important as other things I have on my mind.

My concern is Racings culture.

What do people expect from a day at the track?

What amenities and facilities and to what standards should a Race Club offer?

What grandstand activities should clubs provide?

Each of these questions contain a myriad of questions themselves the further you delve.

The answers to those questions are there but is there anyone from racings authorities asking them?

One thing for certain is there is no quality control of the product provided.

Today I attended the Kyneton and Hanging Rock Race Club Meet @ Kyneton.

I attended as it is now my local club, living at Macedon the club controls 2 racetracks within a 20 minute drive of me.

It was purely a day out for myself on a sunny spring day. Warm enough mid afternoon to wear a tee shirt.

Glancing at the track after paying my entrance fee, why do I have to purchase a ticket off 1 person walk less than 4 steps and hand that ticket to another is beyond me, anyway back to the track it looked sensational obviously the track staff were well informed that the Club were holding their 1st meeting of the racing season. The rest of the course suffered in comparison.

As you enter the course there’s a small cafeteria next to a children’s playground, not today CLOSED. Onwards we go past about 30-40 disused tote windows that run along the backside of the course, by the looks no more than 20 years old. EMPTY I keep going fully expected a tumble weed to blow by, it doesn’t it’s too early in the season of spring for them, I get to the Bar under the grandstand also CLOSED. Honestly if it were not for the fact that I had paid admission, had driven past horse floats and could see people in the betting ring I could of sworn I had attended on a trial day. Ok quick they’re nearly off for the 1 st. through the mugs in the betting ring and watch the first. It was won in Ultra fine style by Tear Gas. So back behind I go in the search of refreshments. There is coffee available out the back of a Van next to the betting ring and a food caravan beyond that. As I approach the caravan it is obvious they are not set up and no food is available. Shall we cut them some slack because it’s only early and the first race has just been run and won. NO WAY it’s 1 PM. LUNCHTIME.So I spy the crowd and think FOOD..DRINK… I have arrived at the Mounting Yard Bar, lucky I’m not an alcoholic, or for that matter an older kid asked by his unsuspecting parents to acquire soft drinks for their siblings or self, IN A BAR that serves alcohol, anyway as I approach the bar and I ask what they have to eat? OH great… you have what? Party Pies and Sausage Rolls. Party Pies and what oh leave me out of that. as my twitter mate Jack later commented ” no fairy bread”? I’LL PASS.

I head out back to the parade ring to inspect the runners for the 2 nd. Nothing stands out so I head back to the food caravan, I smell something, well it’s about… not food but oil heating up, damn Wait 5 minutes .Time check 1:25pm 10 mins to race. 5 more minutes pass and food is available. A Cup of Hot chips, again I pass, then proceed to watch the race. As soon as the horses crossed the line I turned and headed for the car park, drove into town acquired food, drove back to the track. I ate the food in the car park then re entered the course and re started the day.

The rest of the day passed as I had expected it to. A peaceful day at the track on a sunny spring day. The equine athletes lived up to their part and provided a great spectacle. For the record I didn’t have a bet. For me racing is more than the PUNT. Therein lies the problem, the race course is well equipped and prepared if you like a bet or a drink of alcohol, now I am not a wowser as I do both just not what I was looking to do today. Ok I’ve asked the questions and provided a personal experience of a failure from a race club to provide acceptable facilities, now I’ll put my head on the chopping block and subject myself to ridicule for some of the following suggestions. I’m no marketing expert but I’ll give it a crack based solely on today’s experience. I am the clubs new marketing manager with free reign to create a new raceday experience. Remember it is a Friday. Here Goes.

1.Come and see The Cup .

A request to the VRC to have The Melbourne Cup on course has been approved.

2. Come and celebrate SPRING At Kyneton’s First Race Meeting of the Racing Season.

Confirmed local businesses attending are Hardware Store with their range of garden tools and other spring garden ideas also mowers including ride ons.

The Farm Supply Store is bringing a larger tractor with slasher and other equipment to display and as he is a club sponsor he can have the largest space available to accommodate his needs.

The Female Clothing Store and The Male Clothing Store will have their latest range of fashion for the upcoming Spring Racing Season

4 local food stores are setting up pop up eateries for guests to sample their wares. The towns rotary club is will have their standard sausage sizzle.

The CFA will have a fire fighting unit onsite with fire safety tips for the upcoming fire season.

In conjunction with NMIT and RVL the 2 local high school’s Year 12 students will have a careers day with a talk from an apprentice jockey, a senior rider and a trainer as well as career advisors from NMIT.

Entry Will Be FREE.

I think you get my drift.

How is that sounding so far? The only extravagant request I have made here is for the attendance of The Melbourne Cup otherwise the scenario I have just put forward is not that far fetched, it’s relatively risk free for the club financially. A little imagination goes a long way.

At the very least have a food facility open before the first race.

Feel feel to leave a comment here or on twitter @wrouty

Bye for now. Big D

2012 Melbourne Cup tall tale

6 Nov

I was hunting with a Zabeelionaire it was Maluckyday as we were joined by an Americain Cavalryman . He was handy to have as he had set a Precedence in his pursuit of the elusive Jackleberry in the Mount Athos region of Ethiopia .
Galileo’s Choice of weapon was a Winchester, we were glad he had it because after just passing the Tac De Boistron a ferocious Fiorente burst out of the Kelinni scrub with a Red Cadeaux in his mouth. With only the Lights Of Heaven to see the Unusual Suspect bolt off back into the scrub.
Niwot I asked ? Dunaden , Mourayan replied.
So with the Green Moon rising we opened our Voila Ici , threw some Sanagas on the fire and in My Quest For Peace I dreamt of the infamous Glencadam Gold heist. The End


30 Aug

October 1990 and Collingwood have just won the first AFL flag and I start working for Graeme Bate.  So why would a Carlton fan mention Collingwood ? Well that part comes into its own later .

My very first memory  of  Graeme  is  seeing him  working on the engine of this bus.  A bus you might ask ? well with Graeme already being a leading city trainer with close to 80 dogs in work he had to transport them some how. So he had bought this bus to transport them around in. I can’t recall the exact number of compartments around 18 i think it was but i do remember one day attending qualifying  trials and we had 26 greyhounds on board , this was certainly an introduction to greyhound racing as  i had only placed a dog into the starting boxes about 20 times under race situation now i would be handling up to 8 greyhounds per night. The very 1st greyhound i handled ran 2nd at Sandown the 2nd one was Miluna Boy and he won. Great i had my first city winner on my very first night , a top start i then backed up the next night at Geelong and to my surprise so was Miluna Boy yep he was going around again unfortunately this time  he ran 4th.  Miluna Boy would  run unplaced  in 1991 Group 1 Australian Cup won by Franklin Deano whose trainer Ned Bryant is  legendary in Greyhound racing  he   is also the  father of Black Caviar’s chiropractor. I quickly got into the routine of racing every day with Monday nights at Olympic Park the best of them.

While at Anakie i raced all over Victoria and did 13 trips to Adelaide which included a win with Revealing in the S.A Oaks , Graeme trained the quinella  in that race and just missed the trifecta with another bitch running fourth.  There was also an overnight trip to race at the legendary Gabba greyhound track , the dog and i flew up on the morning of the race and after running 4th we flew straight back to Melbourne and i was back racing at Geelong on the Friday night.

Geelong was also one of my favourite race nights being our home track and all. I remember this one particular night at Geelong and we were trialling after the last race , i only had 2 dogs to trial that night and a rival trainer spotted the young pup i had and recognized him as the winner of the Bendigo Puppy Classic and the trainer asked me what trial i was in and i replied trial 2 with this pup and 3 with the other dog i had.  He asked if i could put Zapper Dinney in trial 3 as his dog was in trial 2. I had a bit of a giggle because the rival  trainer obviously didn’t notice that the other dog was Melbourne Cup winner Fair Sentence , needless to say he blitzed  in the trial and said rival trainer had outsmarted himself  and still  talks about that night whenever i see him.

Now back to Fair Sentence , i  wasn’t at Batesy’s when Fair Sentence won the cup , but he was owned by Collingwood footballer and now RSN  radio host Mick Mcguane . Mick loved racing this dog , Jack was his kennel name and he was a freak , even at 4 yo he broke the track record at Horsham and that would have been his 70th odd start.

As you can imagine i have raced in some big races and won them , including the Silver Chief , Shepparton and Warnambool Cups as well SA oaks , and the Hobart Thousand with Bomber Gleeson who ran 3rd to China trip in her 2 historical Australian Cup wins. The photo of that presentation is now displayed in the Kenneling are of the Meadows Greyhound track in Melbourne.  I have also been beaten by some of the best with Highly Blessed being by far the best greyhound i have ever raced against , it truly was an honour to lead out the Melbourne Cup field that she won with Fair Sentence the previous years winner, he was  unable to defend his title after missing out in the semi finals.

Without going into too much detail but a good Friday night  sting was always on the cards at Geelong. At the time there was only 1 bookmaker fielding and and with the drop of right misinformation  on this particular dog  the sting was set. The bookie wound the odds out and we kept  up the ruse and no one  from the kennel  backed the dog. I think he got out to about  8/1 when really he was an even money shot but that didn’t matter because the 2 blokes  that cleaned out the 6 bookies  at Harold Park trots in Sydney  and needed a security escort to a taxi , well they were still drunk when they lobbed next morning and tipped out a bag of cash on the kitchen table. About 40k not exactly sure but not a bad collect from a $800 race at Geelong.

My next couple of blogs will be more of my time at Batesy’s  where i will try and explain  my interpretations of Graeme’s  training methods and some simple tips on greyhound training.  Until then !!!

What i want from a day at the Track !

2 Aug

Having  viewed  races  from  various  vantage  points  on  a  racetrack  ,  from  hanging  over  a  fence  ,  from behind the   starting  boxes of  greyhound  races  to  reserved  seats  in  the  grandstand  and  even  right  on  the  finish  line  at  some  city  racetracks  a  place  where  owners  can’t  even  stand i  have  realised  that  access  to  a  T.V  screen  is  a  must.   Whether  that  screen  is  a  large  center   of  the  track  type  or an   on course  monitor  around  a  bar , try  viewing  a  race  nowadays  without  one .  Even jockeys  use  them  during  the  run  to  the  line   to  judge  how  far  in  front  they  are .  So  long  as  you  can  see  a  T.V  it  doesn’t  matter  where  you  are  situated on  course , you  don’t  even have  to  be  on  course  any more ,  to  see  the  action .   So what  would  be  needed  get  me back  to the  track  as  a regular  well  here  are  some  of  my   thoughts .

I  would  like  free  racecourse  admission    for  a start  , and   if  i  am  to  pay  an  entrance  fee  then  i  think   dollar  4  dollar  betting  vouchers  should be  issued  to  entice me to bet .  With out  betting  turnover there  is  no  racing  but   i  don’t  need to  get  into  that  here .

I  also  think  on  course  dividends  should  be  a  small percentage  higher  than  off course  TAB dividends and  it  should only  take  a  small % cut  in  the  on course  take for  this to happen .

I  don’t  mind  the  idea  of  paying  for  a  reserved   seat  for  optimum  viewing  or  for  dinning  packages  but  i  certainly  don’t  think  that  race club membership  is  good  value  unless  you  intend  to  go  to  all  the  main  carnival  race days  and a few extra race days as well .

I  would  like  to  see  a  more  modern  lounge type  punters  room  or  even  a  pub  like  set  up where  you  can  reserve  your  table  or  cubicle   and  have  a  touch screen  betting  terminal  where  i  can  place  bets  and order  food  and  drinks  and  pay  for  it  all  with  the  swipe  of  an  on course royalties  debit  card.

I  would  also  like  to  be  able  to  purchase  food  at  a  reasonable  price  and  to  pick  from  a  simple  menu  known  for  its  value ,  something  like  which  ,     is  offered  by  the  off course   but  trackside and club  owned   Tabaret  venues.

As  far  as  on  course  entertainment goes  i  personally  don’t  like  the current  punters  club  idea  and  if  it  is   to  be  continued  then  it  could   be  an   inter- active  on  course  T.V  channel ,  with  pictures  of  horses  competing that day , upon  entering  stable  area  and  then   is  up loaded  with  its  current  form  to  on track  betting  booths  and  available  to  smart phones  through  a race course  app.  Lets  capture  the  E  generation .  Lets  also  have  better  wi-fi  coverage  even  if  it  is  limited  to  apps  that  the  betting  companies    or  race club have  available .  Surely  some  sponsorship   could  offset  running  costs .  I’m no  E  genius  but    it  can’t  be  all  too  hard  to  implement.

These  are  just  little  things , simple  things   they  are  not  costed and  i  don’t  know  if  they  are  practicable  but  after  attending  race tracks for   30 years i  also  know  that  they  are  not  unique  as   all  have  been  mentioned   in  conversations   over  that  time   as  ways  of  improving  a  Punters  day  at  the track  ,   year  round  and   not  just  something  for  the  carnival cowboys  and their  once  a  year  ride.