The Trainer column – Ned Snow

Caption: Ned Snow (right) and handler Dave Eisel after Shipwreck had charged to victory in February’s $72,250 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden (520m) at Ipswich (Photo: Just Greyhound Photos)

By MIKE HILL

KEITH ‘Ned’ Snow, from Cornubia, south of Brisbane, is having one of his more successful years as a trainer.

The veteran, who first picked up the lead and collar almost 50 years ago in north Queensland, is featured in this month’s The Trainer column.

Snow, in his mid-70s, was sitting in fourth spot on the Ipswich male trainers premiership table last month with 126 points – 66 behind leader Wayne Scott.

He has led in 14 winners at the track so far this year and 27 minor placegetters for prizemoney just under $114,000.

His success is coming courtesy of several smart litters Snow and his daughter Tanya have bred in recent years.

Heading the team is Shipwreck (Out Of Range-Aussie Diamond), winner of the rich Vince Curry Memorial Maiden in early February, while Key West – one of the few in the kennel not bred by the Snows – also has been a standout.

Shipwreck’s victory allowed Snow to join a select group – Hall of Famer Tony Zammit  and John Clancy – as the only trainers to win the prestigious Vince Curry twice.

Zammit won in 1996 and 2004, Clancy was successful in 2001 and ’19, while Snow’s first victory came back in 2003 with Woops A Daisy.

Shipwreck has been super consistent in his short career with three wins and seven placings from just 10 starts.

His prizemoney has climbed to just under $66,000, while Key West (Fabregas-Sunshine Miss) has been a wonderful addition to the kennel with 20 wins and 27 placings from 103 starts with earnings at $63,500.

Snow said the Ipswich track had been very good to him over the years.

His three major wins have all come at the track – the 2002 Auction Series with Happy Chappy, the greyhound he considers his best so far, and the two Vince Curry victories.

“Happy Chappy was a real good dog,” said Snow, who is based in the Logan area south of Brisbane.

With 29 wins and 29 placings from 90 starts, the red fawn sprinter racked up victories at Albion Park, Wentworth Park, The Meadows, Sandown Park, Gold Coast, Ipswich and Dapto.

“Happy Chappy won about $150,000 prizemoney, which was good money in those days,” the trainer said.

“I went to Melbourne with him for three months in 2002 to have a crack at the Melbourne Cup. He won a prelude but was beaten in a semi-final by the eventual winner (Excite Ability).”

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

A: I was living in Innisfail, two years before Cairns greyhound track opened. I was introduced to Kenny Reed here in Brisbane, who sold me a He’s Some Boy-Bentiann pup to get ready for the opening of the track in 1976. New to training she ran 16 placings before I won my first maiden with her.

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

A: Dave Irwin and his dad Jack – two of the best trainers for fitness and knowledge of the greyhound.

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

A: With all my pups I like to break-in around 10 months old for about six weeks, then go back to rearing and bring them back in at 15 months old to start again.

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

A: It depends on the dog … it can take up to three months.

5: What makes a good pup?

A: Plenty of handling while they are being reared and free galloping.

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

A: One of the biggest mistakes trainers make is trialling pups solo and not in a field to educate them before they have their first start.

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

A: Mainly a set routine but you learn every dog is different and have their own habits.

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

A: I think the only thing I do different is split feed. Once I was training for a vet and he did a survey on how much more nourishment they get from split feed, then just once a day.

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

A: I would if I could. I do think it is very good for your dog. When I lived in Innisfail I would always swim them on the beach

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

A: Once a week, but with the shorter distance you can get away with twice a week.

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

A: Walking machine or slipping up the straight to keep them fit.

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

A: I treat all injuries that don’t require going to the vet. I get them individually checked once a week by a muscle man.

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

A: Yes, unless they need a vet.

14: Which is the best greyhound you have trained?

A: Happy Chappy. He was a top-class dog and got invited to all the cups in Australia.

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

A: We had two good one-turn tracks and they both were closed down (Gold Coast and Toowoomba) and we have had to make do for 15 years without a one-turn track in Queensland so far.

16: What does the industry need most going forward?

A: More racing tracks, including a one-turn track. Also a new grading system.

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

A: To have plenty of patience.

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