Caption: Steve Williams on the night his speedster Jury won the 2018 Group One Winter Cup at Albion Park (Photo: Box 1 Photography)
Advice for greyhound beginners – By STEVE WILLIAMS
MY father George got me into greyhound racing when I was 15 years old … and I was so reluctant to do so.
Dad had a bitch called Norika Lass and he wanted me to get involved in training her. There was no way that was happening. Unfortunately, Dad had a heart attack and to do the right thing, I helped out. As soon as I started walking that dog, that was it. I was totally hooked.
I soon realised what lovely, lovely animals greyhounds are.
By the time I was 17, and with a few of my mates, I decided to breed with Norika Lass. We were living in Sydney at the time and Norika Lass was put to Top Bomber to produce five pups.
Dad and I got one each and the mates took a pup for themselves.
Unfortunately Dad died and the two youngsters became mine.
I started training them myself, won races at Harold Park and Wentworth Park. I admit I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. But, off I’d go to Mudgee, Dubbo and the like going racing. I was hooked.
By this time I was married and we had a baby on the way. The dogs went to George Zammit, a local tow truck driver, who won races. The pair won at Wyong one weekend and I gave them both away to concentrate on work and family.
It was decades later before I got back into greyhounds and by now living at Hervey Bay. A great mate, Steve Mason, and I started buying $400 and $500 dogs from Brisbane to race in Bundaberg. We bought 12 and only one of them ever got to the racetrack.
It taught us the biggest lesson ever.
Steve and I then decided to do it right, 100 per cent.
We bought some pups from Mick Boody by Bombastic Shiraz and among them was Glen Gallon’s mother Incoherent.
This is the start of what has come from out re-entry into greyhound racing and I absolutely love it.
My advice for anyone wanting to get into greyhound racing is like so many, many others who have been asked the same question … do the right thing, associate with the best trainers, buy the best bloodlines, get pups reared to the VERY BEST standards and go from there.
Young blokes getting into greyhounds have to ask themselves what their plan is. Are they wanting to race immediately, or are they looking for longevity in the industry?
If the answer is instant success, then put in some good dollars and look for a decent race dog.
But for longevity, get into the best bloodlines, the best broodbitch lines. Yes, it is hard to get those lines, but it can be done.
One of the very few broodbitches we bought was a litter sister to champion Trewly Special and we are still breeding from that line today.
Another is a Brett Lee-Pretty Wagtail bitch we leased called Subjective Lee and that line is still producing stars for us today. It’s the damline of such greats as Black Opium and our own star stayer Velocity Bettina.
Greyhound racing is all about doing the very, very best for your dogs. It is my belief rearing the pup is 85 per cent, the right breeding cross is 10 per cent, and the other five per cent is luck.
But, when it comes to breeding, you cannot expect a race bitch that had little or no ability to produce you a superstar.
Yes, I’ve bred with bitches that could run that did not produce.
But, I have found the best future producers are hard chasers, honest race bitches. It is the number one criteria I have for selecting my future broodbitches.
And there is overwhelming evidence that the very best mothers to their pups produce the very best litters. If I breed a litter and the bitch is not a good mother, I never breed with her again.
Once the rearing and education is done, I like to spread my young dogs among various trainers.
I have also noticed so often the best trainers get the best out of dogs. Some trainers cannot.
The best trainers seem to make the best decisions about their dogs.
I was in greyhound racing initially for about 25 years and this time about two decades. I wish I was back in my younger days and starting all over again.
My business and just the breeding and rearing aspects of the business keep me flat out and training is not an option. I believe you cannot start by telling trainers how to train.
And, I have also noticed that the pups from a litter that generally make the best race dogs are those that are the leader of the pack. But that pup is generally one that does his own thing, is always so easy to get along with, and has fine conformation.
That’s exactly what Glen Gallon was like as a pup.