TO mark International Women’s Day we spoke to Sandra Reed, President of GOTBA Victoria about her experience as one of the first female trainers in the sport of greyhound racing in Victoria. To read the full interview, look out for the March/April issue of Greyhound Monthly Victoria, coming soon.
How did your time in the industry begin?
I was born into the greyhounds; I am a third generation trainer. My grandparents trained, as well as my father Paul Hogan (Hall of Fame inductee). I was about 15 when I first got involved, and I was very lucky. My first dog I inherited from my grandmother, this dog I took a liking to so my dad let me have her. I left school at 15 and she was my dog, her name was Fairbairn Light. Fortunately she showed promise early on, although she was slow out of the boxes. She went on to hold records at Olympic Park.
What stands out to you as a highlight during your career as a trainer?
That (Fairbairn Light) was my introduction, and I thought wow, how amazing. After I was married I got a property at Rowville and developed boarding kennels and trained from there. My dad took a break and I inherited most of his greyhounds, he was a leading trainer at the time. I trained Dynamic Dean who finished up Greyhound of the Year in 1975 and won a Melbourne Cup. He was not the fastest, but he was the most exciting because he would just lead out of the boxes.
Did you ever face any difficulties being a female trainer in an industry that is predominantly dominated by men?
Oh yes, in the early days I did. When I first worked with dad, I couldn’t handle the dogs on the track. Women weren’t allowed because it was a man’s sport. You girls these days don’t know how good you have it. I was one of the first lady trainers to be registered at the age of 18. Greyhound racing was controlled by men. It was a battle to get a license and handle our own dogs. At 18, I took off to Sydney for six months. We had to get handlers to handle our dogs. This is going back 40 years. My passion for the industry comes from knowing all the old school people, and knowing everyone then did it for the love of the sport. We have our own tracks now through the generosity of people who were committed to the industry back then.
What words of advice would you give to trainers just getting stuck into the industry, particularly young women?
Find someone who is successful and let them mentor you that way get the best possible advice.