Local trainers dominated proceedings at Shepparton’s historic Saturday morning greyhound race meeting last weekend, and none more so than Tallygaroopna couple Fay and Theo Van Taarling.
Seven of the 12 winners were trained locally, including three from the Van Taarling kennel.
“This is the first time we’ve trained a treble,” said Theo, pictured above with wife Fay, their six grandchildren and three winners.
The couple began training greyhounds in 1974 before hanging up the collar and lead for a 15 year period while putting their kids through school. They then returned to their much-loved passion in 1995 and have been heavily involved in the sport ever since.
Prior to the current pandemic a trip to the track with their race dogs was often a family outing for the entire Van Taarling household – including six grandkids who currently reside with them.
However, children are currently not allowed at the racetrack because of COVID-19 restrictions, so Fay stayed home to mind them.
“We’ve got six grandkids living with us and they all help us look after the dogs, along with our son Sean, who does an incredible job. They all feed them and exercise them… it’s a real family affair,” Theo said.
The Van Taarling’s three winners were all at sizeable odds – Call Me Tanya ($6.10), Twilight Flame ($15.00) and Shock Value ($19.90).
“Twilight Flame is owned by a few boys at the Pine Lodge Cricket Club, and that was her first win, so they were absolutely rapt, despite not being allowed on course because of crowd restrictions,” Theo said.
The Shepparton meeting was the conclusion of a three-week trial of Saturday morning greyhound racing following successive Saturday morning meetings at Ballarat.
An evaluation of Saturday morning greyhound racing is now underway with a view to potentially making it a regular fixture.
LOCAL WINNERS: SHEPPARTON SATURDAY 23 MAY
TANGO ICON (Robert Sullivan, East Shepparton)
CALL ME TANYA (Fay Van Taarling, Tallygaroopna)
TWILIGHT FLAME (Fay Van Taarling, Tallygaroopna)
SHOCK VALUE (Theo Van Taarling, Tallygaroopna)
ALL INN AVA (Tony Duncan, Harston)
DUSTY EXPRESS (Georgia Whiting, Toolamba)
LANDSLIDE (Adele Powell, Stanhope)