Caption: Matthew Heilbronn (centre) with Dulceria after winning the 2021 Townsville Cup (Photo L.ouise Partland)  


MATTHEW Heilbronn has been able to draw on a wealth of greyhound knowledge stretching back several generations.

He was ‘born into greyhounds’.

His father Des has been involved in the sport for almost four decades, while his granddad Frank and uncle Ray were also trainers.

“Our family has been racing dogs for generations. We bred the final litter out of Dad’s last remaining brood bitch Daily Mail a couple of years ago,” said Heilbronn, who we feature in this month’s Trainer’s Column.

“Dad’s been in it for many years and done a lot in his time training some quality dogs.

“I’m just hoping I can find a few more and keep the tradition going.”

Well, in the past 12 months he has certainly found a good one in his current kennel star Dulceria.

With a name meaning ‘candy shop’ in Spanish, the daughter of Zambora Brockie-Cindy Rumble certainly has sweetened the Heilbronn coffer with 17 wins (17 placings) from 54 starts and more than $155,000 in prizemoney.

She’s been the outstanding member of her litter, winning both the G3 Townsville Cup in 2021 and this year’s G3 Rockhampton Cup ,as well as qualifying for another three Group finals and matching it with some of the country’s best sprinters.

Like his dad, Heilbronn hopes to achieve his goals through a strong broodbitch breeding line, and in Cindy Rumble he has given himself a great start.

The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Dulcinea combines the lines from two of the best in the business – Steve Kavanagh and Frank Hancock – and is a litter sister to Joyce Rumble, the classy Group performer and dam of Group star Louis Rumble.

And while Dulceria is a certain candidate for the breeding barn after racing, Heilbronn is now focused on Cindy Rumble’s second litter – to Whiskey Riot, the regally bred, brindle son of Fernando Bale and Ready To Riot.

(Whiskey Riot won the Group 1 Melbourne Cup and Temlee, ran a near track record 29.46s around The Meadows, was runner-up in the Maturity, Adelaide Cup, Ballarat Cup and Shootout, third in the Topgun and Australian Cup … and banked $812,295 for connections.)

Although Heilbronn, who still works at his day job in floor coverings, may have only four race dogs in work at present, he has the potential to have a really nice team in coming months.

He said he had just over 20 pups in full training and already is impressed with the February ’21 Whiskey Riot-Cindy Rumble whelping.

“They’re just humming along,” the trainer said.

“Now almost 18 months old, it’s hard to say which is the slow one of the litter.”

Heilbronn said a couple were only a month or so off racing.

“Dulceria is the best dog I’ve trained so far but there could be a couple from this litter that might be better,” he said.

Whelped on Valentine’s Day 2021, the litter includes a male pup that has a heart-shaped mark on his chest.

“He was first to be named,” said Heilbronn, who called him Keeper’s Heart after the Irish-American whiskey of the same name.

“He can run a bit and but a couple of sisters are better,” he said. “They are running faster times than Dulceria.”

However, despite the prospects of some handy sprinters among these youngsters,  Heilbronn is still experiencing difficulties preparing them for racing.

“It’s hard getting suitable trials,” he said. “We just can’t get enough trials at present.”

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

A: I was born into greyhounds. My father trained dogs as did my grandfather and uncle.

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

A: I’ve taken knowledge off everyone.

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

A: From 12 months of age.

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

A: About four months, but it depends if you can get trials.

5: What makes a good pup?

A: Good whelping and rearing. The pups need lot of running.

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

A:  Yes, I like to give them field trials.

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

A: Yes, set feed and a set schedule.

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

A: I like to keep things simple. However, I’ve found acupuncture works on some dogs.

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: If they are injury free once or twice a week. Each dog tells you what they want.

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

A: Sand free galloping runs and machining and massage.

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

A: Mainly myself, but I will get a second opinion if something is not right.

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

A: Yes, unless it needs vet care. I also use a professional chiropractor when needed.

14: Which is the best greyhound you have trained?

A: Dulceria, a dual Group winner.

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

A:  I don’t really have a favourite, but I don’t mind The Meadows. They know how to entertain a crowd.

16: What does the industry need most going forward?

A: Better work with councils for licensing requirements.

17: What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out as a trainer?

A: Get a good mentor and never stop learning.