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 !!!


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