Caption: Champion trainer Tony Brett and ling-time member of ‘Team Brett’, Sarah Johnson. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)


As he starts to wind down, Tony Brett would love to pass on his secrets to success. But the more he details that formula, the more he understands great trainers are born, not taught.

Time and again good dogs become great under Brett’s care.

The just completed Brisbane Winter Carnival was a classic example. Yes, Brett had a good team of dogs headlined by Orchestrate, Just A Sort and Milligan. And into his care came the Jason Thompson’s Equalizer, Collinda Patty and Collinda Lady, and the South Australian-owned Bedrock Fred.

But none were heralded as dominant.

However, the results sheet shows Brett’s dominance in the lead-up events and spectacularly taking the top two podium spots in both Group One finals.

Brett explains that while some people ‘love’ the physical side of greyhound training, others the breeding/bloodlines factor, what fascinates him is what is going on inside his greyhound’s head.

“I love the idea of getting inside of a dogs head and asking ‘what makes you happy to run fast’, the whole psyche of getting the best out of a greyhound is what makes me tick,” he says.

“People might think that that what I am talking about is pie in the sky, but my dad trained for 30 or 40 years and trained one Group One winner. We’ve been doing this for 22 years and had 20 Group Ones.

“So something there is working.

“As I have said to Fleur (Brett’s wife), I don’t know if that is something I can teach. You can come out and spend the time with me and go back home and copy exactly what we do feeding and training, but I just don’t know whether what I do will work with someone else.

“In a short amount of time with a dog I just know what that dog needs … whether it’s more work or when to back off. It’s something that I just instinctively know.

“Of course there are also the lots of little things we do. We are very social with our dogs.

“It is just a lot of little things and that helps me get into their minds. The physical side of it is important, but the mental side of a greyhound is just as important.  

“The one thing I do know, dogs won’t run their fastest if they are not happy in what they’re doing.”