By Brennan Ryan
GAYELENE Townsend has enjoyed many golden moments in her long training career in Tasmania.
The Mangalore-based trainer has been involved with all aspects of the greyhound industry and to this day continues to enjoy the sport with help of her husband Allen and their families.
“I have got great memories being with greyhounds and have met a lot of lovely people and made a lot of great friends over the years – Mr Jack Bell being one who was a true gentleman,” Gayelene said.
Among all highlights with regards to winners in feature races the Young Star Classic series at Hobart is a race that holds wonderful memories for Gayelene who won the race alongside her mum and dad.
The race in question was originally staged as the Tasmanian Puppy Championship held at the TCA.
This month sees the 70th running of the event with heats and the final run over the 461m.
Gayelene had a great upbringing with greyhounds as the daughter of trainers Brian and Pearl Griggs.
“Dad was more into training earlier than Mum. He was introduced to the sport in 1943, then in later years, due to health reasons, Mum took over. Then later they shared all the training,” she said.
“Mum and Dad always had 7-8 greyhounds in work at one time and they also bred litters with success.
The Griggs household produced many top-class chasers over the years with Nippy Bug (x Tumble Bug) being a feature race winner for Pearl, winning the 1949 Tasmanian Puppy Championship Final.
Four years later Brian claimed the 1953 Puppy Championship with Mad Century (x Whitehurch Boy).
Gayelene would soon join the training ranks alongside her parents.
Top Thunder, a son of Waddington, would give Gayelene her first ever Puppy Championship victory.
“Winning the 1967 Puppy Championship with Top Thunder was a big thrill for the Griggs/Townsend family especially beating home two great dogs in Black Tuesday and Social Dancer,” Gayelene recalls.
Gayelene says the end of the hurdle racing with greyhounds was a sad loss as it had been a great spectable.
“Mister Monaro and Sneakin\’ Around were two good hurdlers we had – I was sad to see it all finish up,” she said.
Among all the noted runners Gayelene trained was Queen’s Doll who won 13 races at the TCA.
Having family involved with the dogs is what keeps Gayelene and Allen involved in the sport today.
That Was Then, Hannah Boden and Captain Kicks were runners the Townsend family raced together.
“We’ve enjoyed our family moments with Michelle, Tracey, and Grant having their own greyhounds, said Gayelene.
“Tracey worked at the HGRC office for a number of years, Michelle took over and still works at Elwick. Our grandchildren Adam and Jye are both heavily involved, too, which is fantastic.”
The Young Star Classic will be a race that Gayelene will still savour as a great memory of her parents.