As each day breaks throughout Victoria many women are rising with the sun to make sure their beloved dogs are okay; feeding and watering their animals and getting them ready for another day.
Preparation is paramount for the dogs as is socialisation and care; a duty shared within many a household by the mothers, wives and daughters of those involved within the industry.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day Greyhound Racing Victoria would like to take the opportunity to recognise and thank the many women who contribute to our industry.
From Hall of Fame Inductees, to hobby trainers, the Victorian greyhound racing industry is made up of a diverse range of women, many of which can boast a lifetime of involvement.
Margaret Thomas and Margaret Long, both Hall of Fame (HOF) inductees, are veterans of greyhound racing in Victoria, as is Pat Haas, another HOF inductee who was a trailblazer with many notable achievements behind her name.
Ms Long is currently one of three females who manage a greyhound club in Victoria, as well as Cynthia O’Brien at Healesville and Amanda Cameron who is currently the manager role at Cranbourne.
Last year, three young women in Ashlee Terry, Brooke Ennis and Sam Ferguson all separately trained greyhounds in the Ballarat Cup, while Junction Village based trainer Jessica Hopkins has some impressive greyhounds to her name; following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother.
Ashlee Terry is the daughter of Pearl Terry, a catcher at Warragul who rallies around Anzac Day each year to sell badges in memory of her late husband Keith, who was a returned vet.
Karen Pitt is another example of a young woman leading the way. The school teacher trains dogs for the ‘Shades Of’ syndicate, which is a syndicate of 30 women; many of who are new to the industry.
Manager at Sandown Park Greg Miller contacted Ms Pitt in a bid to encourage more female greyhound ownership.
“I had a litter of puppies which were two weeks old at the time and we selected two of these to be sold into the syndicate,” Ms Pitt said.
“I organised to have the puppies raised and educated and then they were named and ready to race. They currently race under the names of Shades of Lippy and Shades of Earl. The syndicate owns six dogs now and they all race under the “Shades Of” prefix with female trainers.”
Ms Pitt said she believed it was important to encourage females into the greyhound industry and racing in general.
“Sport has traditionally been a male dominated area, and I think it’s great that women are becoming more involved not only in racing but also in administration,” she said.
Just last year, the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club in conjunction with Greyhound Racing Victoria hosted the inaugural Women on Track event which celebrated females in greyhound racing.
Race caller Victoria Shaw was part of this event, and most recently called the Judy Hayley Memorial race which is held at Sandown in honour of the late Judy Hayley, a Melbourne Cup winning trainer.
Shaw is the only female race caller in the State.
Well known trainer Andrea Dailly and her dog greyhound Fernando Bale claimed the highest accolade at last year’s 2015-16 Victorian Greyhound Awards and she was also announced as both the Metropolitan and the Provincial Trainer of the Year.
In addition, Aileen Travis was an award recipient on the night when she was presented with the inaugural GRV Welfare Award.
GRV Chief Executive Officer Alan Clayton applauded the many women who have made significant changes to Greyhound Racing Victoria since its existence.
“You do not have to look too deeply to see stories of successful, inspirational women in Victorian greyhound racing.
“Andrea Dailly is one of the most successful trainers in the sport now while our three female Hall of Fame Inductees in Pat Haas, Margaret Thomas and Margaret Long are fine examples of women who have helped shape our industry and help it progress to where it is today,” Mr Clayton said.
“There is nothing tokenistic about the acknowledgement of so many women who are stars of greyhound racing.”