By MIKE HILL
THIS month we feature recent winner of the Queensland Young Achiever Award John Hutchinson in our The Trainer column.
Hutchinson, 32, is the grand-son of Queensland Hall of Famer John Reimer and has been training for 14 years.
His parents, Bill and Joanne, have also had a long association in the industry.
“Dad is great dealing with muscle injuries and Mum is brilliant with rearing pups,” Hutchinson said.
“Dad trained dogs in Melbourne before coming to Queensland and worked with grand-dad for many years.”
Early last month Hutchinson had a commanding 89-point lead in the Capalaba trainers premiership.
After landing a winning double and six minor placings in the first two meetings of the month, the young trainer had pushed his points tally to 144 – well in front of Neil Catchpole (55) and Warren Nicholls (52).
And then later in the month he produced a career-best winning quartet up the Capalaba straight.
Hutchinson was successful with Centre Field ($1.40 fav), Back To Black ($5), Little Livewire ($2.30 fav) and Light The Barbie ($10).
“It’s a great track to give young dogs experience and build their fitness,” he said recently.
Looking ahead, he said he would love to have a champion or two like his grand-dad.
Reimer’s kennel stars included Queensland Greyhound of the Year winners Miss Perlita (1980) and Winged Runner (2000).
Hutchinson said one of his high points so far was having Winged Elite qualify for the Group 1 Winter Cup (520m) at Albion Park a couple of years back.
“We didn’t win but it was great just being involved in the final,” he said.
1: How and when did you get involved in greyhound racing?
A: I have been involved with greyhound racing since I was born – it’s always been a family business.
2: Who has been the greatest influence on you as a trainer?
A: My greatest influences would have to be my Grandad, John Reimer, as well as my Mum and Dad. Dad, Billy, is great with the muscles and Mum, Joanne, is brilliant with rearing the pups.
3: At what age do you start preparing a pup for racing?
A: I start preparing a pup for racing as early as possible.
4: How long does it take to prepare a pup for its first race?
A: Depending on how the pup has broken in, it could be anywhere between three and six months for it to be ready for its first race.
5: What makes a good pup?
A: The one trait I have seen from my Grandad’s best race dogs has been intelligence from a young age. They seem to adapt quicker and everything seems easier to them, for example – introducing a lead and collar, cutting their toenails etc.
6: Do you do anything special when preparing a young dog for its maiden compared to a seasoned performer?
A: Generally, I just stick to the training routine and not race them until they show ability on the trial track.
7: Do you have a set routine for all your greyhounds or do you vary training for individual runners?
A: It is a similar routine, I just vary it depending on the distance of the race.
8: Do you have any unique or unusual methods you would like to share in regard to training?
A: I don’t really have anything that is unique or unusual.
9: Do you swim your dogs as part of your training regime?
A: No, but it’s something that can be beneficial to them.
10: How frequently do you like to race your dogs?
A: I like to race my dogs once a week.
11: What’s your training routine for dogs between races?
A: I normally just do a free gallop and use the walking machine.
12: Do you do all muscle work on your dogs or do you use a professional muscle man?
A: Dad and myself do all the muscle work.
13: Do you do treat all injuries to your dogs yourself?
A: Yes, we treat all injuries ourselves using a lot of ultrasound.
14: Which is the best greyhound you have trained?
A: The best greyhound I have trained was Winged Elite.
15: What do you consider is the best greyhound track in Australia and why?
A: I think the best greyhound track is a straight track because there are far less injuries than a circular track. I have started using Capalaba quite regularly and it has been a big part of our success.
16: What does the industry need most going forward?
A: The industry needs increases in prize money to offset the cost of rising expenses.
17: What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out as a trainer?
A: The best advice I could give someone starting out would be to start with the dog’s nutrition. You get out of the dog what you put in.