By DAVID BRASCH
IT\’S lucky for Kevin Murnane and his partner Jeannine that Thagoona (near Ipswich, Qld) locals Bill and Jan Warner have a wanderlust for tripping about the country … and a kennel full of young greyhounds.
A few years ago, the Warners stumbled across Kevin and Jeannine over in South Australia and sent them a couple of race dogs.
One, Matriculate, arrived on the Murnane doorstep after an encounter with stewards, but Kevin promptly took her to 15 race wins including a host at Angle Park.
A close and lasting friendship was formed on the doorstep of racetrack success.
So much so that when Kevin and Jeannine decided the lure of higher prizemoney in Queensland greyhound racing was for them, it was to the Warner household that they shifted early in April, 2020.
Kevin was no stranger to Queensland and greyhound racing.
\”I was born in Victoria, spent time in the mines at Broken Hill, did some concreting and in 2001 moved to Brisbane to work for an industrial hire equipment company,\” said Kevin.
It was during this stay that he first got involved in greyhound racing.
\”The owner of the equipment hire company, his brother, and I bought an Awesome Assassin pup that had been bred by Maureen and Bernie Culey,\” said Kevin. \”We became friends with the Culeys and eventually ended up going racing at Capalaba every weekend.\”
Unfortunately the pup was involved in an accident galloping up the Capalaba straight and broke a hock. He had to be put down.
The boys from the equipment hire business gave up after that, but Kevin eventually got his trainer\’s license.
\”I never actually raced a dog in Queensland then,\” he said. \”My mum was living in South Australia and when she got crook, I went there to live and care for her.\”
He worked as a safety officer in the construction business but the lure of greyhound racing was strong.
\”The first dog I bought was by Whiskey Assassin and I got it from Adam Dobbin, who is now the boss at the Greyhound Recorder,\” said Kevin. \”It wasn\’t much chop, but by this time I really had the bug to train.\”
It was 2013 and Kevin told Jeannine he was going to make a full time go of greyhound racing.
They moved to Lewiston, the Lara and Churchable of South Australian racing, and at one time had up to 20 dogs in work, pups being reared and a kennel of pre-trainers. It was flat out.
\”I told Jeannine if we were going to do this we would have to do it properly, not half-hearted and here we are still going today,\” he said.
Success came quickly.
Shimmering Hood was one of the first to put the Murnane name of the map with city wins.
\”We have still got her and had planned to breed with her, but when Mike Baird decided to ban greyhound racing in NSW, we put that on hold, a delay that has continued over to today.\”
The Warners sent Matriculate and she was a real kennel star.
Another they sent, Feral Lad, had been in a paddock for almost a year, was three years old, but Kevin got him going for some spectacular wins.
\”He was a ripper,\” said Kevin.
\”We got Westside Nipper from NSW and it had been racing over the shorts there,\” he said. \”Westside Nipper ran 29.70 one night at Angle Park and beat the great Honcho Monelli.\”
While such success was satisfying, the positive link with the Warners soon tempted Kevin and Jeannine to look at a permanent shift back to Queensland.
\”We packed up and headed to Queensland arriving on April 6 last year, moving in with the Warners at their Thagoona property,\” said Kevin.
It was just the move Bill and Jan wanted.
While Kevin had brought a number of dogs with him, the Warners also landed at their feet all the dogs they had in their kennel. It was virtually ‘take these as well, and see ya, we are going on another trip’.
Unfortunately for Kevin, two of the best of the Warner team Fab Flyer and Fab Femme were injured not long after, but in recent times he has taken Lost In Lantana and She\’s So Gnarley to the final of the 431m Auction series, the former finished third to star galloper Little Byrnes.
\”We are thoroughly enjoying Queensland and the racing here,\” said Kevin. \”We plan to stay here and will be with Bill and Jan until they decide to kick us out. It suits all of us.
\”Our strike rate is very good and as long as the dogs we have are consistent then we are all happy. We are not here for the appearance money.\”
The Warners bred Matriculate to champion sire Fernando Bale and they are rising 12 months. Kevin is enamoured with them.
\”Terrific looking pups, a dog that is 35 kilos, and three very nice sized bitches,\” he said. \”They are the most stunning looking pups I\’ve ever had anything to do with.\”
While that augurs well for the future, the Murnanes are happy to go about the training business ever searching for that elusive star quality galloper.
Bill and Jan Warner are happy to load up the caravan and leave all that to Kevin and Jeannine.