By Mike Hill
\”I\’M doing something that I love … it\’s something I\’ve wanted to do for some time,\” says Paul Smith.
\”And I\’m ecstatic the ways things are going.\”
The Jensen (north Qld) based trainer was commenting last month only days after rugging up a winning treble at a Townsville Saturday meeting.
\”I\’ve been picking up around four winners at our two meetings each week in recent times,\” he said.
He\’s had a couple of trebles, a series of doubles as well as solo victories.
It\’s been a rewarding period for Smith, who only returned to the lead and collar early last year after a 17-year absence from the sport.
He admitted he hadn\’t planned on a return to the training caper. He had bought a pup in 2018 and was hoping it would develop into a classy sprinter.
\”She was being reared and prepared in Victoria, however, her times weren\’t up to city standard,\” Smith said.
\”It was then that I decided to get my licence again and train her.\”
It proved a rewarding move for the man in his late 40s.
The bitch, Rambutan, won first-up in late February last year, giving Smith a great kick-start back into the sport.
In his twenties, he said he liked to have a punt and decided to buy a greyhound. He trained for about four years, but gave it away because of his young family and work commitments.
Since his return, Smith said he\’s received wonderful support from many in the industry.
\”I particularly owe a lot to my family and several leading trainers,\” he said.
\”Rhonda and Steve Essery and Brad Belford have helped me out enormously since I\’ve come back.
\”Without their guidance, I\’d still be back in square one.\”
Smith also praised members of his family – wife Bobbie Jean and teenage boys Jake and Kurt.
\”They are an integral part of the operation,\” he said.
\”My wife, who just loves the dogs, is a huge help around the kennels and the boys help out in the afternoons and on race days.\”
Smith has gone from a one-dog hobby trainer to a full-timer with 19 dogs in work and a handful of pups coming through.
\”I also have a couple of six-month-old pups being reared in Melbourne,\” he said.
Smith took over the Cordelia Pet Care Centre operation at Jensen from Robynne Black earlier in the year.
\”I was looking after the centre and decided to take it on but Covid-19 hit shortly after and business was slow,\” he said.
\”I decided to build up my racing team and I\’m happy with the way things are going.\”
The trainer said he had an even group of smart chasers headed by Bounce By Name, Max The Maniac, What Expiry, Barking Limes and the promising stayer Zipping Homer.
\”Zipping Homer won the Stayers Challenge Final (643m) on Cup night back in August,\” Smith said.
\”That was a fantastic night … I also won the $10,500 Cup Calcutta. Zipping Homer has been racing in the Sydney region in recent months but he\’s coming back soon.\”
Smith said he loved the staying races and once the new 643m boxes are installed at the Townsville track, he hopes the club will introduce distance races on a regular basis.
\”I have a few promising stayers coming through,\” he said.