By MIKE HILL
GREG Board is a hard man to stop … on and off the track.
In his younger days he was a bull riding and bareback champion – that was before he and his brother Rick caught the greyhound bug.
Since then he’s become a highly respected owner-breeder, racing his own dogs with others in top kennels around the country and selling his much sought-after chasers to all states as well as New Zealand clients.
“It all started about 50 years ago,” Greg recalls.
“My brother Rick and I went to the Gosford dogs one night and he bought a dog.
“Since then, we’ve both been racing greyhounds.”
A concreter by trade, Greg, born in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown, was lured to Orange in the late 1970s where he established a highly successful breeding, rearing and training complex with his wife Helen and son Scott.
And over the years he has bred and raced some of the stars of the track, including the brilliant sprinter and later boom sire Spring Gun, Spring Secret, a dog he considers his best, Spring Gladiator and the outstanding bitch Spring Leaf to name just a few.
Spring Secret won the Group 3 Bulli Gold Plate and Richmond Derby in 2004, was runner-up to the mighty Bogie Leigh in the 2004 G1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park, was second behind Bombastic Shiraz in the 2003 G1 Top Gun at The Meadows and third to the same grand sprinter in the 2003 G1 Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park.
However, in recent years following a major health scare and the Baird Government’s attempt in 2016 to end greyhound racing in NSW Greg decided to take a step back and slow down a bit.
He and Helen decided to move to South Australia for a more peaceful life, establishing a scaled-down operation on 10 acres at Murray Bridge in 2017 with Scott taking over the NSW operation at Spring Hill near Orange.
“We’ve built a kennel block for 20 dogs, have an eight-acre galloping paddock, a 300m straight track, three small pup yards and we do all the whelping of the family’s broodbitches,” said Greg.
“The pups are then sent back to Scott at Orange to be reared.”
Despite searching for a quieter life, success has followed to the Boards.
Since arriving in SA, Greg and Helen have won the owner’s premiership every year and have been among the top 10 trainers.
They have also been the leading owners at Ipswich, firstly with top trainer Col Byers and then with his wife Pauline following Col’s passing in 2019 and have produced several Ipswich Greyhound of the Year winners.
Board Racing is heading for yet another Ipswich owners title this year and they have four of the top five dogs in the GOTY point score.
Greg has a high opinion of another member of the family’s big team – Spring Bridge (My Bro Fabio-Tina Lee), currently being trained by son Scott.
The talented sprinter was formerly under the care of leading Victorian trainer Jason Thompson, who declared the chaser one of the fastest dogs he has ever trained.
Board has used the dog to produce several litters and he’s very impressed with a couple of the offspring.
“We’ve got three litters by him, one from Spring Bloom (Spring Gun-Lost With Love) and another from Over Here (Don’t Knocka Him-Where Are You), who won the Futurity at Albion Park,” he said.
Promising youngster Spring Agatha (Spring Bridge-Spring Bloom) was a finalist in last month’s G3 SA Oaks, while Spring Kono (Spring Bridge-Over Here) has won six of her 10 starts over 431m at Ipswich, including a super slick 24.82s (record 24.54s) and two placings.
1: How and when did you get involved in greyhound racing?
A: About 50 years ago my brother Rick and I went to Gosford dogs one night and he bought a dog and we’ve both been racing greyhounds ever since.
2: Who has been the greatest influence on you as a trainer?
A: Kevin Johns (legendary trainer of the 1980s).
3: At what age do you start preparing a pup for racing?
A: Around 14 months I start to break them in.
4: How long does it take to prepare a pup for its first race?
A: About four months depending on how keen the pup is.
5: What makes a good pup?
A: Reared well with plenty of galloping, being keen and having a good temperament.
6: Do you do anything special when preparing a young dog for its maiden compared to a seasoned performer?
A: I like to trial them a few times with a race rug and muzzle on and put them in the racing kennels.
7: Do you have a set routine for all your greyhounds or do you vary training for individual runners?
A: It varies depending on the greyhound. Some need more work than others.
8: Do you have any unique or unusual methods you would like to share in regard to training?
A: Not really.
9: Do you swim your dogs as part of your training regime?
A: Only if injured.
10: How frequently do you like to race your dogs?
A: Once a week mostly.
11: What’s your training routine for dogs between races?
A: One or two hand-slips.
12: Do you do all muscle work on your dogs or do you use a professional muscle man?
A: Yes I do all muscle work on my dogs.
13: Do you do treat all injuries to your dogs yourself?
A: Most injuries.
14: Which is the best greyhound you have trained?
A: Spring Secret.
15: What do you consider is the best greyhound track in Australia and why?
A: All tracks have their good points and bad so it’s hard to choose one.
16: What does the industry need most going forward?
A: Let people with strong greyhound knowledge be involved in all aspects of racing, including track and grading.
17: What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out as a trainer?
A: Talk to other trainers and get as much information as you can on all aspects of training for other people.