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Glowing tributes for coursing stalwart Gary Brett

The greyhound industry is mourning the passing of coursing stalwart Gary Brett, aged 61.

Gary was widely hailed as one of the best coursing ‘slippers’ of his era. He was also revered at the Melton Coursing Club where he served as president for several years.

NCAV president Peter Craig said Gary “loved coursing and was tremendous with the dogs. He was so skilled, and during the past couple of decades would certainly be one of our finest slippers.”

Peter added that Gary even slipped at Healesville coursing meetings when it was a grass track.

“Gary officiated at numerous Waterloo Cups and last year slipped the Derby and Oaks at Longwood,” he said. “He had a few back problems but was the sort of bloke who would come out of ‘retirement’ just to help a coursing club.”

Gary also served on the NCAV executive at one stage and dabbled in greyhound training.

“I can recall his brother calling at Longwood meetings while Gary slipped,” Peter said. “And I believe he had been working at Geelong GRC on race nights.

“Gary was a greyhound man through and through… He was opinionated; he’d definitely have his say. But he was always having a laugh.”

Tributes have been flowing in on GRV’s Facebook page since news of Gary’s passing. Here’s a snapshot:

Gary, you were always willing to help in any way you could, when I was stuck for a slipper, bad back and all, you pulled on the footy boots and did a great job, hardly able to walk at the end of the day, but you never let us down. Will miss our chats at the end of race days in the kitchen, can hear your distinct voice saying, “G’day Jules” and you asking what do you need help with, sometimes jumping on the fry pan cooking the burgers, only too willing to help, no matter what. Race days at Longwood won’t be the same without you, always said g’day to everyone and loved a chat. RIP Gary – JULIE STEFANOS (Longwood Coursing Club)

Devastating. I loved Gary. Could always make you laugh no matter how bad of a day you were having. His dogs were always immaculately presented too – BRAYDEN JINKS

Photos by Clint Anderson

The guy taught me everything i know about dog’s the first person that said hello to me the first time I steeped foot on to a track – NATHAN BARNES

Gary was the first person I met when I came into greyhounds – the first-ever person! He leaves this earth having taught me more about the greyhound than any other single person. Loved our camping trips out on the coursing Fields together where I learnt so much RIP mate – PETER GAVIN

FLASHBACK: Gary Brett chats to James Van de Maat about coursing at Melton in 2014.

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About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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