Meet greyhound racing’s ‘Mr Popularity’ – Hamillson.
Part-owned and trained at Frankston by Richard Hill, 74, Hamillson has a massive fan club – extending from Horsham, Mildura and Wodonga to Albury and Barham across the NSW border.
And even the pro golf club at Sorrento, according to Hill – a top junior golfer, who once played off a one handicap.
So, it’s no surprise he’ll get the ‘viewers’ vote’ in the Group 2 SEN Track Warragul Cup final (460m) on Friday night. Hamillson (Box 1) is $10 on TAB’s fixed odds market.
Hill and Hamillson are somewhat an ‘odd couple’ in the sport. He only started training greyhounds in 2015 – albeit he bought his first pup in 2006 – and ‘Frankston Flier’ Hamillson doesn’t have a kennel as such.
A ‘backyard trainer’, to coin an old phrase, Hill trains from a residential block at his Mornington Peninsula abode, while Hamillson (aka “Randy”) shares a shed as living quarters with unraced litter brother Our Tie Breaker.
“We don’t leave the back door open as we’ll ‘lose’ our bed or couch.”
“These two dogs are ‘pets’, they’re not ‘racing dogs’,” Hill explained. “They’ve got a shed to themselves where they sleep next to each other and bedding on the decking under our pergola.
“Both have temperaments like a Labrador; they’re happy-go-lucky.
“And we don’t leave the back door open as we’ll ‘lose’ our bed or couch.”
However, this unique ‘special relationship’ won’t stop Hill and Hamillson taking on a field of top-notch sprinters in the $47,000 to-the-winner Warragul Cup.
A connection with the sporting goods industry was the catalyst for Hill and his wife, Noelene, venturing into greyhound racing.
“While we were working for Dunlop Slazenger, a sporting equipment company based in Flinders Street in Melbourne’s CBD, one of our colleagues was Trevor Little,” Hill said.
2022 SEN TRACK WARRAGUL CUP (460m)
Friday 14 January – First prize $47,000
- HAMILLSON (Richard Hill, Frankston)
- HENNESSEY (Ashlee Terry, Lara)
- GYPSY BUN (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
- KINSON BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie)
- ROBBIE ROTTEN (Kayla Cottrell, Pearcedale)
- ULTIMATE AVENGER (Joe Borg, Maryborough)
- INDY FIDO (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
- TITAN BLAZER (Daniel Gibbons, Avalon)
(Fastest to slowest)
- 25.53sec Hennessey
- 25.58sec Titan Blazer
- 25.59sec Robbie Rotten
- 25.73sec Gypsy Bun
- 25.87sec Ultimate Avenger
- 25.97sec Hamillson
“He’s been involved in greyhound racing for quite some time and managed the ‘Kingswood Golf’ syndicate which raced greyhounds trained by Ron and Isobel Partington.
“We bought our first pup from Trevor in 2006 and he raced as Scrapper. He was trained by Ron and only had five starts for a second and two thirds.”
When Hill semi-retired from his job as a wholesale sporting goods commission agent, he decided to take out a trainer’s licence.
“It took four years to get my first two wins and four days to get my next two,” Hill quipped. (Hamillson won his first two races, at Sandown Park, on April 11 and 15 last year.)
Click HERE for TAB’s Warragul Cup market.
Hamillson (Jun ’19 Out Of Range x Ringading Sister) – which is also part-owned by Noelene’s brother, Ron Farrell – has progressed to rising star status with 13 wins, three seconds and three thirds from 22 starts and stakes totalling $62,090. He was runner-up in the G3 Great Chase and has won 10 of his past 14 starts.
However, Hamillson was off the racing scene from June to September due to a serious right hock injury.
“X-rays revealed six bone chips, which were surgically removed by Cranbourne veterinarian Dr Des Fegan,” Hill said. “We lost three months with him.”
Hamillson ($12.40) was the slowest of six heat winners, clocking 25.97sec, but he’s drawn the coveted ‘red’ alley in the final.
“He’s very quick out, so having box one should benefit,” Hill said. “But the dogs he’s racing against are topliners.
Hamillson caused a major upset when successful in a Warragul Cup heat last week.
“This will show us if he can hang on and measure up to this class.”
Hill wished to express his gratitude to several people instrumental in Hamillson’s flourishing career.
His ‘thank you list’ included former Cranbourne GRC manager Amanda Frey (breeder), Nicole Lund (whelping), Brian and Debbie Selleck (rearing), Kerrie Smyth (breaking-in) and Geoff Howell, who initially offered his premises to Hill to house his dogs.
And Hill says he’s also deeply indebted to Sandown GRC employee Hugo Hansen, who he says is Hamillson’s “assistant trainer and biggest fan”.
Hill may be a ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to the sport, but ironically his greyhound racing roots hark back to the early 1940s when his father, George, and uncle, Edward, raced greyhounds at the old North Melbourne track.
WATCH: Hamillson (8) defeats Nikoli Bale (1) in a Warragul Cup heat ‘nailbiter’ last week.
They were army officers and stationed at Royal Park, Parkville, while awaiting active duty.
So, what would Hill do with his share of the spoils if Hamillson claimed the Cup?
“Damned if I know… I can’t put it into my pension fund, I’m not allowed,” he joked.
“I’m semi-retired and not in it to make money… And I’m not ready to put my backside into a chair and watch TV all day.”
Pawnote: The G2 SEN Track Warragul Cup – Race 8, 9.27pm – is the second leg of the 2021/22 ‘Gippsland Festival of Racing’.
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