The Trainer column – Keith Boan

Caption: Trainer Keith Boan, left, with Bosanova King and Keith Steinberg, who used to catch his dogs. Boan said: “Keith used to say, when he caught one of my dogs and it had won ‘it’s the two Keiths again’. This is the last dog that won not long before Keith’s passing. He was one of nature’s true gentleman. RIP my friend.”

By MIKE HILL

NORTHERN NSW-based Keith Boan has just had one of his most successful years as a trainer.

Aided by the success of three Fernando Bale litters, Boan landed 88 winners in an eight-month period last year, including 67 at Albion Park to finish fifth on the Brisbane trainer’s premiership.

“It was close to my best,” said the man who first showed interest in greyhounds as a nine-year-old boy.

Boan recalls as youngster growing up in Murwillumbah: “I saw a guy walking greyhounds one day along the Tweed River. I asked if I could walk one of the dogs and that was it.”

He had an owner’s licence at 16, a provisional professional Queensland trainer’s licence by 19 and a year later secured his open licence.

Over the years he has been ‘everywhere’.

He had five years at Gatton, spent time out west and was in Newcastle before settling at his current five-acre base at Kynnumboon, near Murwullumbah, 20 years ago.

“We’ve got the lot – straight track, competition runs and a bull-ring,” he said.

A couple of years ago Keith and his wife Janette decided to throw caution to the wind and breed several litters.

“We had three bitches we wanted to breed with so we bit the bullet and put them all to Fernando Bale,” the trainer said.

“Two whelped only a month apart – they both had 11 pups each – and the third litter came a few months later.”

Boan’s 2021 success kicked off in April when Lady Olivia’s first litter hit the tracks, quickly followed by youngsters from a Grand Rosie litter.

“They are litter sisters (El Grand Senor-Lucy’s Image) and we went to Fernando Bale hoping to get some strength in their pups,” he said.

The veteran trainer, who does most of his racing at Albion Park, said both were very good short-course sprinters over the Albion Park 331m and 395m trips.

Lady Olivia finished her career on the track with 25 wins and 18 placings from 78 starts, while Grand Rosie’s record was 12 wins and 15 placings from 67 starts.

Their litters have been firing since day one over the shorter courses.

After landing a quartet of winners at Lismore last September – all from the Lady Olivia litter – the trainer said: “That’s the third lot of four winners we have had in the past couple of months.”

He also picked up several trebles and doubles at the Brisbane track.

Since then the third litter from his well-bred bitch Noaki Comet (Bombastic Shiraz-Noaki Pace {Spiral Nakita-Leprechaun Pace}) – a litter sister to Group performer Zelemar Fever – have begun racing.

They hit the tracks in late November-early December and are already showing promise over the short courses.

Boan hopes to step several members of this litter up to the 520m journey in coming weeks.

Over the years his best winning haul has been ‘a five’. It came at Albion Park and many years ago he said he took five runners to Coonabarabran and came home with five winners.

With 20 dogs in work, he said the team had suffered an unusually large number of injuries in recent weeks.

And Boan, like many trainers, praised his wife Janette for her help and assistance.

“She’s the backbone of the operation,” he said.

 1: How and when did you get involved in greyhound racing?

A: When I was about nine I saw a man walking his dogs and he let me walk one … the rest is history.

2: Who has been the greatest influence on you as a trainer?

A: Barry Rainford.

3: At what age do you start preparing a pup for racing?

A: I let them mature a bit … so when they are about 18 months old.

4: How long does it take to prepare a pup for its first race?

A: At least three months.

5: What makes a good pup?

A: One with a good temperament.

6: Do you do anything special when preparing a young dog for its maiden compared to a seasoned performer?

A:  I never push young dogs. As for the older ones, they come to hand a lot sooner.

7: Do you have a set routine for all your greyhounds or do you vary training for individual runners?

A: They are all individuals, so yes I do vary things a bit.

8: Do you have any unique or unusual methods you would like to share in regard to training?

A: No, not really.

9: Do you swim your dogs as part of your training regime?

A: No.

10: How frequently do you like to race your dogs?

A: When fit twice a week.

11: What’s your training routine for dogs between races?

A:  When they are fit they don’t need much, especially if they are racing twice a week.

12: Do you do all muscle work on your dogs and treat all injuries?

A: Yes, unless it is something we need to take to a vet.

13: Do you do treat all injuries to your dogs yourself?

A: Again if possible, otherwise it’s straight to the vet.

14: Which is the best greyhound you have trained?

A: Lady Olivia.

15: What do you consider is the best greyhound track in Australia and why?

A:  Any one-turn track as you don’t get as much interference.

16: What does the industry need most going forward?

A: We need the new tracks to be built at Purga and Tweed Heads.

17: What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out as a trainer? A: Keep asking the top trainers questions and listen.

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