By Mike Hill
GLEN Wilson has had several ‘thrilling wins’ as an owner and trainer over the years, but nothing gave him more pleasure than a recent maiden victory at Townsville.
Wilson, who has just returned to the collar and lead after more than 20 years away from greyhounds, was still pinching himself weeks after his well-bred bitch Ted’s Glory (Fernando Bale-Mepunga Jayelle) won first-up over 380m.
“I bought her as a three-month-old pup and reared her in the backyard,” said the Garbutt-based trainer.
“I had a double knee reconstruction about four years ago that went bad.
“Despite a second procedure, my legs don’t bend properly. They haven’t been right since the operation and I am always in pain.
“I decided to get a greyhound last year to give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning and exercise. I looked around for some good breeding … I have been following the Mepunga dogs for a while.”
Wilson said he saw on a website that Victorian breeder Garry Anders had some pups for sale by sire-of-the- moment Fernando Bale from a ‘Mepunga’ bitch.
“I’m semi-retired and I can’t work anymore,” he said. “I decided to take the punt and buy one of the pups and she’s developed into a beautiful bitch.
“What an intelligent greyhound! I walk her a couple of kilometres every day.
“And to win first-up, what a thrill.
“It might have been just a normal maiden, but it was one of the biggest thrills in my life.”
Wilson, 66, also recalled two other standout victories he’s been associated with over the years.
“Years ago in the 1990s I bought a young race horse,” he said.
“I had it reared at Gainsborough Lodge in Toowoomba and it ended up winning the Parry Nissan (Great Northern Plate for two-year-olds at Townsville on May 13, 1995).
“A horse called Mr Rogers was winning everything, but I had the services of top jockey Billy Cullen.
“Billy kept my horse wide (after drawing outside barrier 14) and came down the outside of the straight to just pip Mr Rogers on the line.
“I couldn’t tell if we’d won and it took a long time for the photo-finish decision.
“But when it came the crowd lining the fence gave a mighty cheer. That was another huge thrill.”
And Wilson can’t forget the night his aptly named greyhound Townsville won a big State of Origin Qld v NSW match race against outstanding Sydney chaser Madonna’s Lass at the Townsville Showgrounds.
“She was a top 720m stayer,” he said.
“It was September 12, 1987. The match race was part of a special TAB meeting and Madonna’s Lass had been backed off the map.
“As we walked to the boxes John Turner (trainer of Madonna’s Lass) said to me: ‘Do you want a $1000 winner-take-all side bet? I said: You’re on’.
“What a race! My dog led by 15 lengths before Madonna’s Lass charged home to just miss by less than a length. Townsville covered the distance in 38.19s.”
“I have a photo from the night with the two dogs, John Turner, myself and one of the major guests, rugby league legend Peter Sterling.
“Also in the photo is Bernie Fraser, who caught my dog. Bernie is still catching dogs at Townsville meetings every week.
“He’s a really good worker for the club.”
Wilson said he had bought Townsville (by Bowetzel from the Temlee bitch Free Kiss) from Peter Harding for $1500.
“He was a top chaser finishing an unlucky second in the Mt Isa Cup and winning the Townsville Cup Consolation,” he said.
“I’ve been very lucky three times – twice with dogs and once with a horse.”
Wilson now hopes that Ted’s Glory can win a few more races and in the process help to take his mind off his painful legs.