By TERRY WILSON
LYN Keep is, for want of a more appropriate descriptive phrase, keeping alive a strong family bond with the greyhound racing industry.
It has been more than half a century since Lyn walked her first greyhound, when she was aged about five or six, around the streets of Stafford in Brisbane.
She was born into greyhounds. Her father John and uncles Gary and David were part of the industry and so was cousin Steve in northern New South Wales.
Lyn was to go on to become one of the fresh young faces of the industry. The attractive teenager became a sports reporter specialising in greyhound racing.
She wrote for both the Daily Sun, then The Courier Mail, and was for some time greyhound racing presenter on the old Sportscene show, which featured every Sunday morning on Channel 7.
Now aged 57 and living on the Gold Coast, Lyn sort of dropped out of the scene for a while, but last month she re-emerged as the trainer of Coast Guard, which won at Capalaba, then Albion Park.
But when you talk with Lyn it is clear that despite a couple of ‘separations’ from the industry, greyhound racing will always be a part of her.
“It didn’t matter how hard I tried to get away, I kept coming back,” she said.
“Greyhound racing does that to you, and so do the people in it. It’s a funny thing growing up on the racetrack. It teaches the best and the worst of people, but it is the best way to grow up.
“Everyone accuses me of having no respect for money – and I don’t – because I had a life-time front-row education on how easy money comes and goes.
“So I never let money influence anything I did or the people I mixed with.
“I’ve seen too many people get rich and get unhappy for money to have any bearing on my life.”
We’ll go back to when it all started for the cute blonde who has a special place in her heart for a black bitch named Wigwam Wonder, her ‘ugly duckling’ as she described her little champion.
Wigwam Wonder had 127 starts for Lyn and won about $30,000 in stakes as a highly consistent stayer over the old Gabba 704-metre course.
“She was a stayer, like myself, and she won about $30,000 for me, which put me through university,” said Lyn.
“I remember walking dogs for Dad after school. It was not just one dog, it was five or six at a time.
“It was interesting at times when Skippys (kangaroos) hopped by. It was a case of hang on and hold on.
“But I could never have escaped the greyhounds if I wanted to.
“Training greyhounds is a reason to get out of bed in the morning, it’s a great hobby and I’m not going anywhere.
“It’s in my system, in my DNA. It’s a great hobby and (NSW Premier) Mike Baird found out that when you stop people doing what they love where it’ll end up.”
It has long been a bugbear for Lyn to see the demise of provincial tracks at Border Park (Tweed Heads), Beenleigh, Lawnton, two at Southport and Toowoomba.
Losing Parklands was a major disappointment, she says.
“All the decisions made were not bad for the time because no one could predict what was going to happen in the future,” she said.
“They’ve closed down the best two tracks in Queensland in Parklands and Toowoomba.
“Parklands was a safer track and is the one they should base the new track on.”
She would also like to see more innovation, including the introduction of preferential draws at Capalaba.
“Dogs have got this habit of going hard left and hard right,” she said.
“It’d be a great thing for preferential draws and it’d be a good trial to see how it goes.
“If it is going to work anywhere it’ll work at Capalaba.”