Greyhound racing, a sport that was once regarded as being predominantly a man’s sport, has over the years attracted a very large percentage of women owners and trainers. There is in fact, in the north of the state, about fifty women who hold trainers or owner-trainer licenses.
TREAT LIKE HOUSE PETS
After speaking to many women who are involved with greyhounds, I found that most of them became part of greyhound racing by chance rather than design. I also found that most women dog trainers tend to treat their greyhounds very much like house pets because there is no doubt a greyhound is probably the most affectionate dog of any breed.
Many people not involved with greyhounds think otherwise, simply because most greyhounds let loose will chase and kill a cat or a small dog. It is bred into them to do that, but where people are concerned not one in a hundred will show any form of aggression. I remember an old chap who once worked as a porter on the railway when dogs were very often transported by train, telling me, the only breed of dog he was never reluctant to handle was a greyhound, he claimed he never ever came across an unfriendly one.
PURELY BY CHANCE
One lady trainer, I interviewed who has achieved remarkable success is Noelene Garwood from Lilydale. She has been racing dogs for about 10 years and like many others became involved purely by chance. It seems her brother asked her if she would kennel a greyhound for him on her property while he was away on business for some time. She agreed to do this and soon became very fond of the dog. After a short time she started to train and race it, and so began Noelene’s training career.
Since that time Noelene has proved herself to be one of the most successful trainers in the state, having trained over one hundred and fifty winners, without ever having more than four or five dogs in her kennel at one time. She has over the years had a remarkable talent for getting dogs to win races when they had failed before she took them into her kennel.
As an example, she won nine races with Second Disco and five with Dissy Disco, ten races with Kurtsy Doll, six with Kookaburra Blue and five with Geoffs Target. Even though these dogs had had many race starts before she acquired them they had won only one race between them. Noelene also won 9 races with Bold Sapphire, a dog she paid only $200 for, and seven races with The Listener for which she paid $100. But there is little doubt that Noelene loves her greyhounds, she loves to train them, and she is good at it.
FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
Women greyhound trainers are certainly a force to be reckoned with in the racing game. The richest race in Tasmania, the Launceston Cup, has been won the last two years by dogs trained by women. Last year it was won by Going National trained by Dottie Chaplin. The previous year by True Vintage trained by Margaret Crosswell.
Margaret Crosswell has been the leading lady trainer of the state on many occasions, in fact, the year before last she trained more winners than any other trainer male or female. Margaret also equaled the Australian record for the most consecutive wins, with her champion greyhound True Vintage two years ago.
INTEREST HAS DEVELOPED
Another who has been breeding and racing greyhounds very successfully in partnership with husband Ross, is Julie Lee of Westbury. Julie became involved many years ago when her father had a back ailment and was advised to walk quite a lot. Rather than walk for nothing he acquired two greyhounds, both of which Julie became very fond of, so from then, her interest in greyhounds has developed.
WON CLASSIC RACES
Over the years she has bred and raced many top greyhounds. Probably the best, she claims, was a dog called Trooper Bird which won 21 races during its career. She also won the Launceston Cup with Dinkum Castle and three years ago the breeders classic with Wynlee Special. She and Ross also bred White Gigilo which was voted greyhound of the year two years ago.
WORKED IN ADMINISTRATION
Julie, apart from racing dogs, also has much to do with the administration of greyhound racing in Tasmania. She is a past chairwoman of the LGOTBA ladies committee. She was secretary of the committee for some time, on the organizing committee for the Arnott Harper national title, and is currently the secretary of the Deloraine Coursing Club.
VAST KNOWLEDGE OF GREYHOUNDS
Another of the top women trainers in the state is Jill Stamford, wife of top trainer Rock Stamford. Jill has a vast knowledge of greyhounds and is a very professional dog handler, even to the extent of being able to check them for muscle soreness, something which only an expert can do with any degree of success.
She has been a leading lady owner and trainer a number of times and has also reared many of the state’s top greyhounds. I once heard Paul Bullock say he considered Jill to be equal to any breeder in the state at rearing greyhounds, and Paul’s opinion would be respected by anyone involved with greyhounds.
There is not much else we can say about Jill, because she is one of those people who is modest to a fault and will try hard to pretend she is not good at anything and doesn’t know much. But the facts are that there is very little she does not know about greyhounds.
WOMEN ARE VERY UNDERSTANDING
Well, these are just four of the many women involved with greyhound racing. There are dozens more who are and have been very successful at training dogs. There is no doubt that their kind and understanding approach fits very well with greyhounds and the training of them.
Story by Reno.