By Gary Clark
A young country girl has created her own story in racing, which is now starting to pay off, with much bigger goals ahead.
Now 26, Chantel Galwey grew up in the northern NSW town of Tenterfield and her grandfather, unbeknown to her, was probably the inspiration she needed to get started.
Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, Chantel’s grandfather, Joseph Schipp raced greyhounds and it was her talks with ‘Pop’ that created enough interest for her to get involved in racing.
“He (Joseph) didn’t have any outstanding dogs, just average chasers to keep him going, but what he told me about his time with the collar and lead gave me the encouragement to eventually have a go myself,” Chantel explained.
Her first venture away from home was as a late teenager when she moved to Darwin and worked on a crocodile farm for five years.
Chantel was a supervisor on the farm looking after, mainly the baby crocks.
“It was a great experience, but I knew that it was never going to be a long-term position,” she said.
So, leaving Darwin, Chantel moved to Coffs Harbour and joined the racing stable of Warren Gavenlock as a stable hand.
“I was looking after the horses, feeding, cleaning out the stables for about 8 months,” she recalls.
At the same time, Chantel met her partner, Blake, and the couple have started a family with first born, Indiana.
After working with the horses, Chantel had the urge to race her own so purchased two horses from an on-line auction for around $900 each.
The horses were trained by Lauren Ho, but it was not a fairy-tale start and both gallopers failed to make it to the track. As Chantel explains: “They were just too slow, even at trackwork.”
Chantel and Blake then settled into their new house at Londonderry in Sydney’s west and Blake decided to become involved in the racing game as well … greyhounds.
Chantel and Blake started with two dogs, which they purchased via a friend on Facebook.
Both were bitches and given to trainer Matt Dawson.
“We had no luck with the two bitches and decided to keep one for breeding,” Chantel said.
After failure as a horse and greyhound owner it was time to ‘Do it yourself’.
“I was not the fault of my trainers. The horses and dogs were just not faster enough,” she said.
Chantel and Blake decided to build three kennels and look to train themselves.
As Blake was totally new to the sport, Chantel took the collar and lead and got three dogs, all giveaways.
The first was a dog named Prost. He was a problem chaser, who was only producing half the energy that was required.
For a first-time trainer, Chantel was able to find the patience to work hard with Prost and eventually get him to the track at Richmond in late September.
That day Chantel had all three dogs in at the meeting and Prost was the first to race. On debut he came out running and led all the way.
Chantel and Blake had their very first winner as an owner and trainer. That day their two other giveaways, Daphne Indee, who came from Victoria as a performed bitch, and No Bob Rob, both ran placings.
Prost has since back at Richmond finishing second.
The bitch that she kept for breeding, Dezzy Driver, was mated with Shakey Jakey and whelped a litter in August. They are being reared at Michael Clayton’s property in the Southern Highlands.
Chantel has plans for the future, wanting to expand her three kennels to seven and take more interest in the breeding side of the sport.
“I’m researching breeding all the time,” she says. “I think breeding is going to be a major part of my involvement in greyhound racing. I love it.”
For Blake, who is a bricklayer by trade, he has his hands full with young Indiana, but is delighted to watch the success of his partner, Chantel.
Together, this bright, young, enthusiastic combination already has some runs on the board and plenty of blue sky in their future.
Caption: Chantel, Blake and Indiana, enjoying their first ever winner with Prost at Richmond. (Photo: Lachlan Naidu, Redden Photo and Video)