Caption: Long-time trainer Pamela Field with her recent Ipswich winner Friend Or Foe. Photo: (Just Greyhound Photos)
By MIKE HILL
SHE may not be one of the big-name trainers, but Pamela Field has consistently produced winners in south-east Queensland for close to five decades.
Field is one of a few trainers who raced in the early days of the Gabba still in the sport.
“I’ve been training for a long time, too long,” Pamela said with a laugh last month. “We’ve been in it since the early 70s.
“We had relatives in the sport and decided to give it a try when night racing began at the Gabba.”
Over the years, with enormous help from her husband John, she has created a successful boutique operation at their 10-acre property at Logan Reserve, a rural residential suburb south of Brisbane.
They have mainly bred and raced their own dogs, although that has changed in recent years.
“We haven’t bred for some time as we have decided to scale things back, instead we’ve been buying a few pups and racing them,” she said.
But that hasn’t stopped the winners coming – a testament to Fields’ ability as a trainer and her dedication to her dogs.
“We’ve always managed to have competitive and consistent dogs,” she said.
According to one online site, Field has a 31 per cent winning strike rate at Ipswich so far this year with her small team and a place strike rate of 64 per cent.
She was lucky enough to rug up a winning treble at the track in late June when Friend Or Foe ($3.90), Zip Stream ($2.70) and More Than Magic ($2.80) all won over the short 288m trip.
“Trebles don’t come around often, particularly when you’ve only got a small team,” she said.
Although she’s had multiple winners in the past, Pamela said it was still a big thrill to land three.
Earlier this year, with just three dogs in work, she rugged up a winning double at an Albion Park Thursday night meeting with litter mates Hard Marker ($23) and More Than Magic ($11).
At the time Pamela said: “I’ve only got three in work – Hard Marker, More Than Magic and Misty Haze – and I’m very blessed to have two of them win on one Thursday night card and Misty Haze was a winner a fortnight ago over the 600 metres.
“We bought Hard Marker and More Than Magic (Fabregas-Magic Maiden) as pups off Errol Kleinhans and we got Misty Haze off Brett Hazelgrove – we’ve been blessed.
“I like to keep everything nice and small as we’re winding down a bit, hopefully, this lot have another year of racing in them and we’ve invested in a couple of young pups who’ll hopefully keep us going for the next few years.”
Since then three youngsters – litter mates Friend Or Foe and Amber Days (Black Bear Lee-Day Time Friend) and the promising Zipping Garth-Night Time Lover sprinter Zip Stream -have joined the Field team.
The trio only began racing in early June and already they are Ipswich winners.
Field seems to have the ability to get the best out of her dogs and she is proud of their longevity.
Many achieve careers spanning 80 or 90 runs.
Of her seasoned sprinters, Misty Haze has a 90: 8-19-18; $56,090 record; Hard Marker a 77: 8-11-20; $48,835 card, while More Than Magic’s record stands at 61: 14-10-9 and $51,260 in prizemoney.
Field considers smart sprinter Mercy Rule as the best dog she’s had.
“She’s my favourite,” she said. “She was very good to us, both as a race dog and a brood bitch.
“Mercy Rule won 19 races (and 40 minor placings from 106 starts with prizemoney just under $70,000), got to FFA class and made the final of two Group 1s.”
She was unplaced to Iso Octane in the 2011 Winter Cup (520m) at Albion Park and later in the year qualified for the Brisbane Cup won by Glen Gallon.
One of her sons from her first Oaks Road litter – Don’t Go Quietly (89: 13-21-14; $72,934) – won the Albion Park Club Greyhound Of The Year title in 2015.
Field said they had only recently lost Mercy Rule.
“She was 12-and-a-half,” the trainer said.
1: How and when did you get involved in greyhound racing?
A: Our impetus to join the greyhound industry was the introduction of night racing at the Gabba. In the early 1970s we obtained a greyhound kennel licence from our local council and I obtained my first GRA licence which was an owner/trainer licence.
2: Who has been the greatest influence on you as a trainer?
A: No specific person. I had an uncle who was a trainer and general people in the industry who were always willing to help when asked.
3: At what age do you start preparing a pup for racing?
A: At about 14 months old.
4: How long does it take to prepare a pup for its first race?
A: Usually 10-12 weeks.
5: What makes a good pup?
A: Good food, good rearing, good genes, good temperament.
6: Do you do anything special when preparing a young dog for its maiden compared to a seasoned performer?
7: Do you have a set routine for all your greyhounds or do you vary training for individual runners?
A: In the main a set routine, but sometimes you have a greyhound that doesn’t fit the mould and you adjust accordingly.
8: Do you have any unique or unusual methods you would like to share in regard to training?
9: Do you swim your dogs as part of your training regime?
A: No, but they do have access to dams where occasionally they swim.
10: How frequently do you like to race your dogs?
A: Depending on distances and greyhound, up to three runs a fortnight.
11: What’s your training routine for dogs between races?
A: Rest and free galloping.
12: Do you do all muscle work on your dogs or do you use a professional muscle man?
A: Our greyhounds are checked weekly by a muscle man.
13: Do you do treat all injuries to your dogs yourself?
A: No. We have two vets in the family who do all our veterinary work although we do treat minor injuries ourselves.
14: Which is the best greyhound you have trained?
A: I would say Mercy Rule. She made two Group 1 finals, was a very good race bitch and produced good competitive pups. She was very good to us and was my favourite greyhound.
15: What do you consider is the best greyhound track in Australia and why?
A: I have not been to any tracks outside of Queensland and the Northern Rivers of NSW so, hopefully, our new track complex will be the best in Australia.
16: What does the industry need most going forward?
A: A complex solely for greyhounds which (fingers crossed) we will be getting in the near future.
17: What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out as a trainer?
A: You have to be prepared for the long haul. There are lots of up and downs and champions are few and far between.