Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Here’s one for the memorabilia buffs

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Google it all you like, but you’re unlikely to find too many references to the book Horses Dogs . . . and I.

Printed in Sydney in 1948, the 196-page racing and coursing digest – “this book must not be sold for less than one guinea” – was written by A. B. “Bossie” Cowell.

And the copy of Horses Dogs . . . and I referred to here is probably even rarer as on the cover is handwritten: “This book sole property of writer A. B. Cowell”.

Much of the book relates to horse racing but the final section on coursing and mechanical hare racing makes for interesting reading and includes an article on Bulwark, one of Australia’s greatest and fastest dogs that actually figures in Who’s Doing What’s pedigree – albeit far removed.

Cowell also writes on Besant, the most prolific and outstanding brood bitch of older days and all time, as well as Hall Of Famer Sam Bladon, Australia’s greatest coursing owner-trainer and breeder.

A page is devoted to dog racing (mechanical hare) in NSW and Tasmania and speed coursing in Victoria, Cowell noting that Victorians will need to avoid putting up with greedy proprietary clubs on tin-pot circus tracks, day in day out, and greyhounds racing until they get giddy.

He concluded by suggesting that the circus tracks, other than White City and Sandown Park, were only assisting short distances and that short distances assisted speedy squibs.

Interspersed among the articles were advertisements for on-course bookmakers including F. L. (Bricky) Williams, J. C. (Mo) Reynolds and Jock McDonald – “Harold Park and Wentworth Park Leger Leviathan. Any amount. Also Rooty Hill coursing”.

Stud dogs also figured prominently, Trion, sire of the wonder dog Chief Havoc, at Gunnedah for a fee of 10 guineas plus freight and Jean’s Dream, fee 10 guineas plus freight with bitches to be consigned to Central Railway Station, Sydney. Only natural matings back then, bitches often requiring to be freighted by rail to studmasters.

Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield remembers using the railways to freight greyhounds, although certainly not in the late 1940s.

Never one to throw out anything, he recently came across an Australian National Railways parcels consignment note dated October 1983 for a dog consigned to him at Penola from Ken Hunt at Tailem Bend.

“I can’t remember what the dog was but it was returned by rail at a cost of $11.40 after having been broken-in by Ken at Monteith,” Clayfield said.

Incidentally, Hunt was a member of the inaugural Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club (Angle Park) committee in 1972 while years later his daughter, Sandra, was a leading Queensland trainer.

Also surfacing recently out at Glenroy was a copy of Bill Alver’s Gold Guide Greyhound Form for a 14-race meeting at Strathalbyn on Saturday, January 11, 1986.

Clayfield was at the track – not sure whether he travelled there by train – to see his dog Rain Chant, trained by Doug Payne, run third in the Tom The Pom Maiden Stake over 319 metres. The Hall Of Fame trainer did, however, end the day with a treble.

And Morphett Vale trainer Mick Brogan – father of basketballer Michelle, who played in the WNBA for several years, and Dean, an AFL premiership player with Port Adelaide – landed a double with Mr. Excelsior and Stitchaway.

Winning the Burns Maiden Stake (416 m) was Morgan Lane, trained by 1964 South Adelaide premiership player Lester Ross who had also originally trained the super SA greyhound White Panther, a son of White Superoo and Simply Super and allegedly the result of an accidental mating.

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