Lambert rewarded for lifetime of devotion to his ‘hobby’

Photo: Box 1 Photography

By PAUL DOLAN

THERE aren’t many jobs or roles in greyhound racing with which Bob Lambert hasn’t had an involvement.

It all started in 1965 with what is a reasonably familiar story – a person’s neighbour gets or has a greyhound and the interest starts there.

For his 57 years of participation in the sport, Brisbane-based Lambert was inducted into the Racing Queensland Hall of Fame at the recent Queensland Greyhound Awards night.

Shortly after taking an interest in his neighbour’s greyhound, Lambert obtained a handler’s license which allowed him to be a race catcher.

“I had bred whippets and raced pigeons so I suppose you could say that was a stepping stone into another form of racing. I bred and owned greyhounds with some success, but nothing flash,” Lambert said.

In 1975 Lambert obtained a job as a steward with the Greyhound Racing Control Board of Queensland, where he worked for six years.

“The job entailed being a race meeting steward at tracks including the Gabba, Gold Coast and Lawnton. Friday was a particularly busy day. We would officiate at either Beenleigh or Capalaba in the afternoon then go back to the office to do the grading for the north Queensland tracks which raced the following Thursday.”

In 1981 Lambert went to the Gabba as racing manager for general managers John Hicks, Ken Norquay and Mick Cox.

“When Mick left in 1992 I took over as general manager, knowing full well that it could be a difficult time ahead, financially, with the announced move to Albion Park.

“I had nine years as manager of the Brisbane GRC at Albion Park before semi-retiring in 2001. I worked as the race starter at Ipswich and Capalaba for a few years, wanting to stay involved in the sport. In 2006 I was elected to the board at Albion Park. I was the treasurer from 2010 to 2013 and am currently vice chairman.

“I’ve always enjoyed the company of greyhound racing participants. A small number might brown you off on occasions but, overall, it’s enjoyable being among the  people.”

Lambert rates the February flooding this year at Albion Park as the most difficult time the Brisbane club has had to face.

“You might think that dealing with the Covid crisis was tough, and it was. But even though we weren’t allowed patrons on track for some number of months, the racing continued and the betting turnover was at a high level. But the flood shut down racing completely. There have been floods before and most go down as quickly as they rise. But this time the track and infrastructure were under water for two weeks.  Hopefully we can resume racing this month (May).”

When asked the obvious question of the best greyhound he has seen racing, Lambert was reluctant to name a standout. In no particular order he mentions Top Simbi, Flying Amy, Rapid Journey, Bogie Leigh and Sennachie.

So did Lambert have any idea that he would become a Hall of Fame member last month?

“Not really,” he said. “I thought it was a bit unusual that other members of my family, apart from wife Robyn, were there. But the announcement was certainly a surprise. I am very grateful to receive such acknowledgement. For most of my work in the industry I got paid which I always thought was a very good deal, given that greyhound racing was always something of a hobby as well as a place of employment.

“I saw a couple of articles which mentioned me as being a ‘legendary’ person in the greyhound industry. That’s getting a bit carried away.”

While trying to think of any jobs that Lambert hasn’t done in greyhound racing, this writer, tongue in cheek, suggested that Bob has never been a racecaller.

“That’s not entirely correct,” he declared. When a steward, we would describe a race as it was progressing onto a hand-held tape recorder. You would call the order in which they raced, but by numbers, not names. And mention any interference or incidents that needed to go into the stewards’ report. So I reckon I can say that we operated similar to what the racecaller was doing, describing and recording the races.’’

Ok, Bob. You win. And you are a legend!

 

 

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