Gippsland breeder and trainer, Robert Bean’s first encounter with the greyhound industry came as a young plumber working in outer suburban Melbourne in the 1980s.
He was attending a call to replace a hot water service when he was bailed up by the customer’s hound.
“I still remember that day in Chirnside Park,” Robert said.
“I walked onto the property and came face to face with a greyhound, without a muzzle. I just froze and almost dropped my tools,” Robert said.
After completing the job, he started chatting to the customer about the industry and he became hooked. So much so that he has since turned it into a career – and a very successful one at that.
That dog was city winning stayer Swift Laser, and a couple of years later Robert bought her from owner, Bill Hill. Robert has had the bug – and had greyhounds – ever since.
For Robert, who now lives in central Gippsland at Tinamba (near Maffra), it was the start of something special – to the tune of more than $300,000 in prize money won over the past 12 months by a “magic litter” he bred himself.
And it’s that magic Bernardo – Sunset Believer litter of six males and three females from 2018 that has Robert incredulous over its success.
WATCH: Aussie Secret (1) wins the Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter at Bendigo in June, defeating Dr. Knuckles (8) and Ferdinand Boy (6).
Starting with the standout Aussie Secret (won 28 from 53) with total winnings standing at $164,601 to date, the litter also includes Agent Ben (6 from 30) Agent Bill (unraced), Enabler (3 from 15), Gold Driller (10 from 35), Got The Torque (14 from 50), Harper’s Girl (9 from 39), Koby’s Girl (0 from 1) and Remy’s Girl (8 from 29). The mating – some of whom are trained by leading trainers Jason Thompson and Brooke Ennis – has amassed a total of $319,000 in winnings so far.
Robert says the tally – which has come from a combined 243 starts for 78 wins, 48 seconds and 38 thirds, is absolutely “incredible”, especially considering that they are not even three years old so have plenty of racing ahead of them.
With about 35 dogs and pups on his 20-acre property, Robert says he is still amazed by the quality of the litter.
He attributes the success of the mating to breeding selection.
“I went for Bernardo, an unproven sire – I know (his trainer) Bill McMahon very well. He was a super-fast dog that had been plagued by injuries, but I thought he should click with my dogs,” Robert said.
“And I was lucky enough that he did.”
He has a second litter to Bernardo which he hopes will emulate the magic litter.
While Robert mainly sticks to breeding these days, the family tradition is likely to continue with his three adult children – two of whom have their trainers license – adhering to a simple philosophy which helped produce that magic litter and could become family folklore.
That being sticking to the advice Bill Hill gave him in the early days: “What you put in early days pays dividends later on.”
And isn’t that the truth.
*This article was written by Tony Homfray.
WATCH: Bernardo (4) led everywhere but the post in the 2018 G1 Harrison-Dawson Final, going down narrowly to My Redeemer (1).
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