Successful Shepparton trainer Tony Duncan, well known for his ‘All Inn’ greyhounds, has passed away after a brave battle with cancer, aged 61.
Duncan, who was based at Harston, was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, but his health problems failed to dampen his greyhound racing passion.
“Tony lived for his dogs; they kept him going,” said Tony’s sister, Robina Seccull.
“He didn’t want to give them up and his last couple of years with the dogs were his best years.”
With the support of family, most notably his Dad Ian, and friends, Tony did what he loved most up until his final weeks, his last winner coming courtesy of All Inn War at Shepparton on August 13.
Just over 12 months ago, Tony celebrated the greatest moment of his four-decade long training career when All Inn Billy won the 2021 Waterloo Cup, coursing’s most coveted trophy.
All Inn Billy is an outstanding performer on the racetrack, winning 12 races, with his Barcia Bale x All Inn Amy litter, proudly bred by Tony, having thus far won 63 races and just a tick under $170,000 in prize money.
Tony also had a real soft spot for All Inn Baz, winner of 15 races, including seven in the city.
“All Inn Baz was Tony’s best mate,” Dad Ian said.
“All Inn Billy was his best dog. Winning the Waterloo Cup put him on top of the list!”
Another highlight of Tony’s training career came when Too Easy Jack won the President’s Cup at Horsham in 2019, upsetting a quality field that included superstar Black Opium.
“Tony lived for his greyhounds. He never married, so the dogs were like his family,” said Ian.
“Over the years he did a pretty good job with a small kennel. He had a lot of success in the last few years. He was getting better and better, which is what happens when you’ve been at it long enough.
“He’d been training for 43 years. He started in 1979 and his first winner was a dog called Tadge’s Talent at Wangaratta.
“Since Tony got crook, about five years ago, I was here helping him full-time. We were up to about 70 dogs at one time.
“Before I came, Tony used to get up at 4am to look after the dogs before going to work as Transport/Logistics Manager at Auld’s Abattoirs in Stanhope. Then he’d come home in the afternoon and work the dogs.
“The Van Taarling family were a big help to Tony, while Evan Keene and Jason Formosa helped out with checking his dogs.”
Tony was a permanent fixture at Shepparton and enjoyed great success in recent years at his home track.
He won the Trainer of the Year award in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 – delivering an emotional acceptance speech last year that left barely a dry eye in the house – while All Inn Ava was Shepparton’s Greyhound of the Year in 2020.
“Even though he didn’t have quite as many dogs, Tony is currently running second in our Trainer of the Year award with 28 wins and one of his dogs, All Inn Jasper, is leading the Greyhound of the Year,” said Shepparton GRC Manager Carl McGrath.
“There has been a real effort from the local greyhound community to help Tony over the last three or four years. A lot of people have been good to him, doing anything they could to make things a little bit easier.
“I have to mention Shae Van Taarling. She travelled everywhere with Tony, handling his dogs on race night. She was a great help, and they developed a special bond.
“We’ve already spoken to Tony’s family about putting a Memorial race on.”
Tony didn’t want a funeral; however, a wake will be held at Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club on Tuesday, October 11, commencing at 1pm.
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