Years involved in industry: 40
Category : Pioneer – Trainer
Winning Trainer 1945 Melbourne Cup
Winning Trainer 1929, 1939, 1948, 1949, 1953, 1954, 1955 Victorian Waterloo Cup
Winning Trainer 1938, 1948, 1950 NSW Waterloo Cup
Winning Trainer Coursing Age Classics – 7 times
Ray Herbert trained greyhounds from the mid 1920’s until the 1960’s and was widely acknowledged as the master trainer of his time. Described as a shy and gentle man, Herbert, of Diamond Creek, was a father of three and his eldest son Robin often handled his greyhounds at race meetings. Coursing was a huge part of greyhound racing in Herbert’s era, and among his achievements were a record 10 Waterloo Cups, which was and still is the pinnacle race on the coursing calendar.
“Dad was comparable to the likes of Bart Cummings in horse racing. He knew how to get his dogs up for the big races and he had the gift of the gab”, said Robin Herbert, who left school at 14 to help his dad with his greyhounds. “Dad won the Waterloo Cup many times in the days when it was a huge event. Thousands of people would go to the Waterloo Cup, which was held at a different country track each year. There were always a big number of bookmakers there. Dad also won the Melbourne Cup with a greyhound called Yarloop”, Robin added.
Robin said before reflecting on his father’s winning ways as a greyhound trainer. “He knew how to feed an animal. He’d make a broth out of lamb and would pour it over Weetbix. And he’d let his pups drink bucket loads of milk from his cows”, Robin recalled.
Herbert’s training methods involved a lot of walking of his dogs, as well as swimming and galloping them. “He always had about five or six race dogs at a time, but if you include pups and stud dogs we probably had about 50 dogs on the property”, Robin said. “We’d do a lot of walking along the nearby gravel roads in Diamond Creek. But on days when we felt weary we’d walk them behind the back of dad’s Ute. There’d be three of us – dad, myself and dad’s first cousin Claude Wilson, who worked for dad. Two of us would hold about six dogs each on a lead while the other would slowly drive the ute. When we did this it wasn’t just the race dogs that came along, it was also the stud dogs, while the pups would gallop along behind us off lead.”