Ron’s ‘hobby’ bred and amazing career

Caption: Ron Schadow with Gawler Gold Cup winner Victa Grosso (Photo: Kurt Donsberg)

By DAVID BRASCH

THERE have been some momentous days in the greyhound racing life of South Australian 87-year-old Ron Schadow.

Ron\’s dad Wally kept a few greyhounds in his day, coursing dogs of course, but there was little time for Wally to go racing. He and his family kept 80 draught horses on the Loxton property.

\”I was only a little fella at the time, born and bred at Loxton (250km east of Adelaide),\” said Ron. \”Dad was so busy breaking in draught horses for haulage teams. Things are different today.\”

It wasn\’t until 1975 when Ron would get into greyhound racing himself.

\”My first wife Betty and I were driving back from Melbourne via Ballarat and we spotted a sign for some greyhound pups for sale,\” said Ron. \”Greyhound racing had just got a racetrack at Barmera and we decided to get a dog or two to race there.\”

The ‘pups for sale’ sign was old, but the breeder had a nearby mate who had some Holding pups, then five months, for sale. Ron and Betty bought one for themselves and another for a friend.

Named Schadow Holding, that pup was a prolific winner and broke both track records at Broken Hill.

\”Betty and I would load the dog into the car, pick up the kids from school on Friday afternoon and head out on the five-hour drive to Broken Hill, stay overnight with Betty\’s sister, and race the dog on the Saturday,\” said Ron.

Betty was struck down by cancer two decades ago and tragically died.

She and Ron had established a property at Peebinga 200km east of Adelaide. Ron was kept busy spending his life as a shearer.

\”Dad didn\’t cope well when mum died,\” said Ron\’s daughter Sue. \”But he met Joan some time after and they have been married to each other and greyhounds ever since. Joan is the breeder.\”

Joan had a property at Victor Harbor and it has been from there that the recent success of the Schadow greyhound empire has emerged.

And it all stems from a timid 14-month-old bitch about to be sent to GAP but who joined the Schadow kennel for $1000 to help breeder Kirin Corby buy a new vacuum cleaner.

The bitch\’s name was Teelah (Primo Uno-Corrumbene Lass).

\”Kirin was racing her very good Lion Hearted at the time,\” said Ron. \”I spotted the then 13-month-old bitch at her property and asked about buying her.

\”Kirin said she was far too timid and she was thinking about sending her to GAP. But, a few weeks later, she rang to see if I still wanted her. Kirin\’s vacuum cleaner had broken down and she needed a new one.

\”I took the bitch home and sent her to be educated. I was told not to bother with her.

\”But Joan and I would take her to Gawler every single week and put her around. She won eight races, at Gawler, Strathalbyn and Angle Park and was where all the Victa dogs came from.\”

Ron and Joan decided on the ‘Victa’ prefix to negate having to supply so many prospective names for pups they bred.

Teelah had litters by Surf Lorian and Where\’s Pedro. Victa Brooke (22 wins, $67,000) and the grand bitch Victa Victoria (26 wins, $60,000) were her standouts.

It is Victa Victoria who has carried on the line\’s success in recent times.

\”Victa Caleb won the Champion Puppy and he could still be racing even though he is five and a half,\” insists Ron. \”But my daughters would never forgive me if anything happened to him. He\’s won 40 races.\”

A Fernando Bale-Victa Victoria litter has been sensational, but did not come without heartache for Ron and Joan.

A routine kennel inspection in 2019 found two fox tails on the Schadow property and Ron was disqualified for 10 years.

\”Dad really suffered, didn\’t cope and his health was not good at all,\” said Sue. \”My sisters, Kerry Braun and Carol Hondow, and I banded together to appeal on dad\’s behalf. Legal costs were going to be huge, but we took it on ourselves and we were successful.\”

At the time of the disqualification there were 18 pups on the Schadow property.

\”We had only a very short time to move them. Lisa and Tony Rasmussen were wonderful and came to the rescue,\” said Sue. \”Tony had just pulled down all his rearing yards, but put up new yards straight away to take in the 12 pups by Fernando Bale-Victa Victoria.

\”You cannot imagine how it impacted dad. He\’d spent the previous 46 years involved in greyhound racing and with greyhound people. It devastated him and Joan.\”

With the return to racing, Ron and Joan coincided with the start of the race careers of that litter.

And what a litter it has become.

Group stars like Victa Haydn, Victa Reid, Victa Daryl and now Victa Grosso have flown the Schadow flag high.

The recent victory by Victa Grosso in the Gawler Gold Cup was there for all to see. The joy on the faces of Ron and Joan at the presentation was glaringly obvious. They could not contain themselves with joy.

Unfortunately, the great Victa Victoria had died of cancer and tragically on June 16 which is Ron\’s birthday.

These days, life is back to normal for Ron and Joan.

They have eight pups from Victa Polly and eight from Hot Sophie, the Murray Bridge Cup winner for Tony Rasmussen, on the property.

Joan and Ron are so passionate about the care and affection they lavish on puppies that the whelping box is in their lounge room.

\”Those pups stay in Ron and Joan\’s lounge room for the first six weeks of their life,\” said Sue.

Greyhound racing is a real Schadow family affair.

Both Sue and Carol regularly head trackside to help Tony and Lisa Rasmussen.

\”They have become a part of our family,\” said Sue. \”What they did for dad and Joan and all of us, is amazing.\”

Ron admits greyhound racing has only ever been ‘a hobby’ for firstly he and Betty and now he and Joan. But the success of the Victa name in South Australian greyhound racing would defy all that.

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