An engineer by trade and a handyman by nature, Murray Warren isn’t the only member of his household who has spent countless hours as an apprentice.
Warren’s greyhound Gus, better known as Skyes Apprentice, has spent the last two years working under the watchful eye of Skye the Golden Retriever, who has not only provided company but proved to be the best mentor a dog could ask for.
“Gus and Skye are best friends, they do everything together,” Warren said.
Manners aside, Gus, who was named by Warren’s son Ryley, has provided thrill after thrill for his first-time greyhound trainer, winning nine out of 25 starts. But nothing could compare to Gus’ maiden victory in March of 2016 at Geelong.
“It was unreal handling Gus and watching him win his maiden,” Warren said.
“There was a lot of work that was put into Gus as a youngster; he overcome a blood virus as well as a fractured front leg after playing a little too hard with Skye in the backyard.”
“After we got him right and he started performing, well it got addictive.”
It’s not hard to see how the addiction came about, as Gus went onto win eight races from nine starts, including five consecutive victories taking the duo all over Victoria from their home of Point Lonsdale to Shepparton, to Geelong and then to The Meadows.WATCH: Gus win at Sandown from box three in April 2016.
Warren’s greyhound passion began two and a half years ago when he had an accident at work resulting in him having an artificial disk placed in his neck.
Needing a hobby, Warren didn’t hesitate to go to his neighbour Neil Bell, who has been training greyhounds for more than 30 years. Bell had success with a greyhound by the name of Bazza’s Gift who won 15 races from 66 starts and still resides in his backyard after going through the GAP program.
Warren was introduced to local breeder Scott Kiddle who provided him with two pups to rear.
“Within two weeks I had two greyhound puppies running around my backyard with Skye,” Warren said.
“I mucked around with them a lot in the backyard and also took them down the beach so they could meet new people and other dogs.”
“I don’t think Gus has left my side since I got him; everywhere I go he is a metre behind me.”
From walks down the beach to relaxing on the couch it shows that for every Phar Lap there is a Tommy Woodcock but in this case, Gus is lucky to have both Warren and Skye
Experiencing everything for the first time, Warren has relied on Bell a lot to guide him through each stage of Gus’ career.
“Neil has always done it this way, so he is the perfect person to help me. Without Neil I wouldn’t have gotten involved in greyhound racing. He has been a terrific mentor to me – practically holding my hand throughout my time with Gus.”
With Bell just a custom-made gate away, Warren uses his walking machine to help exercise Gus with Bell’s retired greyhound.
“All I have to do is open the gate and Gus runs straight into the walking machine; he loves it.”
Warren, Bell and Gus have broken the mould of how greyhounds can be trained. Living practically as a pet, Gus can race while at the same time enjoying the banana lounge with his best friend Skye.
Gus is currently recovering from broken fibular under the watchful eye of specialist greyhound vet Dr Alastair Smith.
“Greyhound racing is really time consuming and I didn’t realise just how much time it would take up,” Warren said.
“But I am always learning.”
Nothing compares to the love that Gus has for Skye and Warren.
From walks down the beach to relaxing on the couch it shows that for every Phar Lap there is a Tommy Woodcock but in this case, Gus is lucky to have both Warren and Skye.