Greyhounds are My Life

Greyhounds are My Life video series

Meet the people of Victoria’s greyhound racing community & discover how much greyhounds mean to them.

Greyhounds are My Life profiles some of the 17,000 people involved in greyhound racing across Victoria. They come from all walks of life, but are united by their common love of greyhounds and by how they put the welfare of the dogs and the integrity of the sport first and foremost.
Their stories also highlight their connections with their local greyhound racing clubs and how Victoria’s 13 greyhound racing clubs are part of their communities, creating jobs, social and professional networks and supporting local groups and causes.
Profiles are being released before each Club’s annual Cup.

Judy O’Neill

Horsham Greyhound Racing Club
Judy has owned and run the Horsham Boarding Kennels for more than twenty years, caring for many dogs and cats, but hadn’t really thought about greyhound racing until she was asked to whelp a greyhound staying at the kennels. She decided to keep one of the puppies and see what this greyhound racing was all about. It became a very handy racer along with several others that followed over the years. Today Judy also works at the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club, helping to manage race day kennelling, before going home to a property full of retired and resting greyhounds. View video here

Bill Powell

Horsham Greyhound Racing Club
Bill’s first greyhound was passed onto him by his grandfather and by his teens he was training them for coursing before going on to race greyhounds for several decades, picking up some very nice wins along the way. In 1971, Bill and other members of the Wimmera greyhound community got together to form the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club and he served as club President for 23 years, In 2005, Bill was awarded the 2005 Ken Carr medal for services to the sport. Off the track Bill still plays the saxophone in a local jazz band as he has for nearly 50 years. While Bill has retired from racing, he is still very much involved with the club and still likes to take “Ninety-Five”, one of his old racers, and now a family pet, for a good run on the family farm. View video here

Marg Long

The Meadows (MGRA)
Marg discovered greyhound racing in her twenties when she was given a young greyhound to train. Not long after, she started working as general manager at the Traralgon and then Geelong Greyhound Racing Clubs before moving to the Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA), first as racing manager and then as general manager at Olympic Park. Marg oversaw MGRA’s move to its new purpose-built venue in Broadmeadows, ‘The Meadows’ which is now one of the world’s leading greyhound racing clubs, home to many major race meetings including the Australian Cup and the Sky Racing Topgun. Marg was inducted into GRV’s Hall of Fame in 2016. View video here

Cory Hiscock and Chris Chilcott

The Meadows (MGRA)
Both Cory and Chris grew up in families that raced greyhounds and helped train and care for their parents’ dogs from an early age. Cory joined the Meadows in 1998 as it was being built, helped lay its track and has been looking after it ever since. Chris was working at Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club when Cory recruited him to come at work at the Meadows. Today, they lead a team that keeps the venue’s racing infrastructure in peak condition while ensuring the club’s outdoor facilities are at their best for the many big events that Meadows hosts, especially the Australian Cup. View video here

Di Pyers

Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club
Looking for some part-time work as a young mother, Di Pyers joined the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club as a typist one evening a week and with no background in the sport. Over the next few years, Di took on more and responsibilities, eventually becoming Club Treasurer and then Manager at Ballarat, one of the first female club managers in Victoria. Then, and by now well involved in greyhound racing, Di decided on a change in career and is now one of Victoria’s senior greyhound racing stewards, travelling around the State to make sure race meetings are run with integrity and animal welfare as the highest priorities. View video here

Daryl and Colin Brennan

Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club
Daryl and Colin are twin brothers who run a plastering business but their real passion is the greyhounds. They’ve had many good wins over the years, supported by their father Clive who discovered the sport through them and got right into the dogs too. On their 150 acre property just outside Ballarat, they’ve built from scratch a greyhound breeding, rearing and training facility that takes full advantage of its beautiful bush setting. Here they care for both their own dogs and others they’ve taken in to revive their racing careers, working on the principle that “a happy dog races happy and races well.” View video here

Sean, Nicole and Sophie Cachia

Geelong Greyhound Racing Club
Sean had never really followed the greyhounds until one night he and his brother happened to drop in on a race meeting at the Meadows. Sean was so struck by the passion of the winning trainer that he went out and bought a couple of greyhounds straight away, despite no previous involvement in the sport. A decade on, Sean and his wife Nicole are now enjoying increasing success as breeders and trainers with a growing number of wins to their credit – with their young daughter Sophie very much in charge of animal morale for their greyhounds. View video here

Murray Warren

Geelong Greyhound Racing Club
Taking a break from work for health reasons, Murray had a bit of time on his hands and after talking to his neighbour Neil Bell, a prominent greyhound trainer, thought he’d get a greyhound himself. When Murray was searching for a racing name for his new dog Gus, his son Ryley suggested Skye’s Apprentice as Gus was great mates with their other dog, Skye, a golden retriever. Although Gus is a very much a family pet first, he’s enjoyed some good wins on the track and Skye and Gus are still the best of mates at home. View video here

James Van de Maat and Chloe Allan

Healesville Greyhound Racing Association
As a young boy, James discovered he wanted to be a race caller while playing horse racing games on his Play Station. This early practice paid off and he is now one of Australia’s leading greyhound race callers, working at RSN while also presenting race previews on GRVextra, running the Punters Club and providing tips for the TAB. When Chloe met James, she knew little about greyhounds but now is as passionate about them as James. Together they are breeding and training a new generation of racers and planning to develop a significant greyhound facility for the future. View video here

Ashlee Terry

Healesville Greyhound Racing Association
Ashlee attended her first greyhound race meeting when she was three days old and grew up surrounded by greyhounds, thanks to her father Keith, a well-respected member of Victoria’s greyhound racing community. When Keith passed away, Ashlee decided to become a greyhound trainer herself and worked as a kennel hand and attendant before getting her trainer’s license at 18. Today Ashlee is widely regarded as an up and coming talent in the sport and, with her partner Andrew, recently became the first person to win back-to-back Waterloo Cups in 100 years. View video here

Riana Groom

Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club
Coming from a family with a long involvement in the sport, Riana grew up with greyhounds, and has been a regular volunteer at Longwood Coursing Club since she was 12. Riana got her attendant’s license at 14, bought her first greyhound at 15 and applied for her trainer’s license as soon as she turned 18. When not training and racing her current greyhound, Arden Emgrand, Riana works at a major greyhound facility in Longwood. Her passion for and dedication to greyhounds has been rewarded with Young Achiever Awards from Shepparton Greyhound Racing Clubs and the National Coursing Association. View video here

Liz Breukirk and Roslyn Russell

Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club
Liz has been racing greyhounds for many years and with her partner, Theo, owns Elite Greyhounds, which makes greyhound accessories including collars, leads, rugs, muzzles and hoop arm lures. Separately, Roslyn adopted Jimmy, a retired racer, who was trained as one of the first therapy dogs in the Shepparton region and who regularly visits aged care homes. Then Ros and Liz met on a greyhound walk in Seymour and they soon became great friends through their shared love of the breed. Together they lead regular greyhound walks in Shepparton and Benalla and in 2016 they received awards from the Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club for their work in bringing greyhound owners together off the track. View video here

Jennifer Torr

Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club
When Jennifer Torr’s husband decided to buy a greyhound, she thought it was a waste of their money at the time, but she soon fell in love with the dogs and the sport. Over the years, Jennifer has owned and trained many dogs and enjoyed quite a few good wins while also running, with her husband, one of Bendigo’s oldest pubs – the Railway Station Hotel. Jennifer is now also serving on the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association’s committee and enjoying how her grandchildren are discovering greyhounds as they help her with the feeding, cleaning and exercise of her dogs, especially their own favourite ones. View video here

Pat Ryan and Ian Uren
Racing Judges

Sandown Greyhound Racing Club
Pat and Ian had known each other for many years at Sandown Greyhound Racing Club but it was only in the last decade that they started working together as racing judges. Despite the technology that’s been introduced over the years, they reckon there’s no substitute for experience, a real feel for what’s happening on the track and a cool head in getting the results out quickly and correctly. Ian and Pat have judged hundreds of races, including many Melbourne and Sandown Cups, and look forward to many more in a job where as Ian says “We’re the only people who get to pick 12 winners every night.” View video here

Mel Tochner and Anita Smith
GAP Co-founders

Sandown Greyhound Racing Club
When Mel and Anita first met each other while both working at the Sandown Veterinary Clinic in the mid-1990s, neither of them imagined they would establish what is now the world’s most successful greyhound re-homing agency, Victoria’s Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP). The first years were a bit of a struggle as Anita and Mel juggled the demands of the growing program with work and raising kids. But now, 21 years after GAP started, they are very proud of what it has achieved and how they’ve helped raise public awareness of what great pets greyhounds make.View video here

Sandra and Stan Wiese

Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club
Jade Wiese grew up in Warrnambool, helping her parents, Sandra and Stan Wiese, train and race their greyhounds at the local club. And Jade was very much in charge of naming all their dogs too, coming up with names like ‘Powdered Toast’. When, sadly, Jade was diagnosed with cancer, the family’s dogs played a very important part in keeping her spirit strong until she passed away. Sandra and Stan sponsored the Jade Wiese Memorial Race at Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club in her honour and, at Jade’s request, the race is run as a maiden to give greyhounds who have yet have to win a race, more opportunities to do so. View video here

Norm McCullagh

Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club
Norm McCullagh is well known in the greyhound racing world as the owner and trainer of the legendary Bold Trease, one of the all-time great champions of the track. He’s also well known in the Warrnambool region for his engine reconditioning business which over half a century has kept local cars running smoothly. While Norm reckons it’s unlikely a dog as great as Bold Trease will come along again, he’s still training some very handy runners, winning races around Victoria. View video here

Margaret Thomas

Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club
Margaret Thomas has long been one of the most respected and loved members of Victoria’s greyhound racing community. Introduced to the sport by her father, she has trained and raced many dogs over several decades, served as the President and Vice-President of Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club, is famed for her handmade presentation rugs and helped inspire the film Dalkeith about a Traralgon-based aged care facility that adopted a racing greyhound. She received the 2004 Ken Carr Medal, the Victorian greyhound racing industry’s highest award for excellence, is a member of GRV’s Hall of Fame and is still training champion racers today. View video here

Olivia Alcock

Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club
When Olivia’s husband bought a greyhound to race one day, she had little idea she’d end up breeding around 100 of them over the next ten years. Committed to finding good homes for her dogs once they retire, Olivia socialises them from birth with the enthusiastic help of her children and family cats and always offers to take back dogs she’s sold if they need re-homing.

When not looking after three children, two cats and dozens of greyhounds, Olivia, a former Traralgon Club committee member, works at the Club to help manage its daily operations and race and trial days. View video here

Barry Toner

Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club
What started out as an enjoyable hobby became a way of life for Barry and his wife Doris over the past few decades as they trained and raced greyhounds, winning quite a few good races along the way. Off the track, Barry was a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board member for six years, served on several club committees and is currently on the Cranbourne club committee. While his sons grew up with greyhounds, it’s his granddaughters, Madison and Paris, who are now really involved with the sport. Madison is also a veterinarian nurse, they both work as catchers at Cranbourne and they both help Barry and Doris in training a new generation of racers. View video here

Dr Barbara Backhoy

Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club
By the time the 12 year old Barbara Backhoy was training and winning races with Shining Eagle, she knew greyhounds would be her life. Introduced to the sport by her father, Barbara decided that being a veterinarian was her calling. After studying in Queensland, Barbara worked in Australia and the UK at greyhound racing clubs and vet hospitals before visiting Ireland through GRV’s Young Chasers program. Now Barbara brings 15 years of experience as one of Australia’s leading greyhound vets to race meetings at Cranbourne and Warragul greyhound clubs when she’s not enjoying life with her own retired racing greyhound Fergie. View video here

Mary Lieshout

Warragul Greyhound Racing Club
For many years, Mary Lieshout and her husband Eddie ran their Parumba Stud Greyhound Kennels as one of Australia’s leading breeding operations, home to such great sires as Shining Chariot and bringing in American dogs to develop new bloodlines. But when Mary suffered serious health problems, it looked like her life with greyhounds could be over. However, thanks to the support of her family and the greyhound racing community, and her love of the dogs, Mary steadily recovered and is now once again active in the sport, catching at the races and helping Eddie breed and train a new generation of champions. View video here

Garry Allen

Warragul Greyhound Racing Club

When marketing executive Garry Allen first offered to help his father with his greyhounds, he had no idea it would lead to meeting his wife, Corinne, at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club’s kennels, and to becoming a committee member and President of the club. Over the past 45 years, Garry played a big part in restoring what was a very run down venue at Warragul into one of regional Victoria’s best greyhound racing clubs. And he’s still training and racing dogs, including two greyhound pups he recently bought for $750 each, which are now turning into real champions. View video here

Laurence Cameron

Sale and District Greyhound Racing Club

Thanks to greyhounds, Laurence Cameron now has quite a collection of paintings around his home in Maffra. When he was racing his dogs, Laurence would celebrate a good win by spending some of his prize money on an original work by a local artist, including landscapes of the Gippsland region where he was born and still lives now. A former President of the Sale and District Greyhound Racing Club and retired school principal, Laurence no longer races greyhounds himself but is still involved in the sport through the Sale Club and providing support and advice for his daughter Stephanie, herself an owner, trainer and school teacher. View video here

Stephanie Tyler

Sale and District Greyhound Racing Club

With a father who was a former President of the Sale and District Greyhound Racing Club and school principal, it’s not surprising that Stephanie Tyler became a greyhound owner, trainer and parade official at the Sale Club and a teacher at one of Sale’s largest primary schools. Proudly supported by her father Laurence and her husband Sam, Stephanie regularly races her greyhound, She’s A Collinda, at Sale and other local clubs. The family and work connections don’t stop there, with her mother Linda making the greyhound vegemite on toast for breakfast most days and Stephanie’s pupils cheering it on in class. View video here

If you like Greyhounds are My Life and you’ve got any comments, suggestions or good stories about your own involvement in the sport, please let us know at [email protected]