Legendary greyhound trainer Max Wintle has died, aged 89.
The 2017/18 GRV Hall of Fame inductee – born on November 16, 1933 – passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
In an emotional tribute placed in the Herald Sun, his daughter Leanne said: “How do you mend a broken heart? How do you stop the rain from falling down?
“It was a lifetime of mutual respect, love and simpatico between us. Thank goodness he laid eyes on my mother. Dad was a gift, picking up responsibility without a hiccup or a second thought for a second.
“A genuine, generous, humorous, caring human being helping whomever he could.
“He was more than just a greyhound man; he was an all-round decent human being.”
“A greyhound man who was old school loving the history of the sport of coursing, the study of breeding lineage, fierce protector of the sport’s original intent, love of the dog and joy in the genuine mateship wishing well for each other in competition win or lose.
“Those multiple state plunges pulled off without any fanfare on many an ordinary evening was demonstration of his ability and that it was just another day at the office.
“I’ll be seeing you. Love ya dad.”
Leanne informed Max had left school at 14 to help his mother support the family and with his very early success bought her a home.
When he married the long-time love of his life, Gloria, he sold his brand-new 1964 EH Premier Holden. Paying £850 for the car but soon having to sell it for £600 to find the deposit to buy his own family home.
One good turn deserves another when, he struck gold with a number of friends, buying shares in a gold mine that enabled him to no longer have to worry about repayments.
“He was more than just a greyhound man; he was an all-round decent human being,” Leanne said. “But he’ll always be one of the (greyhound) flock, never to be replaced.”
“Dad had a sweet tooth, partial to Haigh’s Chocolates where his love started when I would buy him their chocolate frogs from the Haigh’s counter at the back door of Georges of Collins Street. Enormous bags of his favourites were always on the gift list, becoming a tradition. I even asked Alistair Haigh if we could bring back one of his discontinued favourites.”
“He loved his sweets and old-fashioned cake shops,” Leanne added. “I perfected pavlovas for him which he always happily taste tested!”
“No matter who you were, dad treated everyone the same. “He was selfless and always more concerned with how others were ‘travelling’.” (Max received a mention in Andrew Rule’s book ‘Chance’ – a story on racing’s heroes and villains, dreamers and schemers.)
“Great bloke to us young fellas in the caper, pioneer, traveller, storyteller, master trainer.”
“Max was a voracious reader, not of sport but politics and history and could hold a conversation about either.”
Max’s son Jamie recalls: “When working side by side Dad he did more talking than working but I didn’t mind, and I loved that he found joy running around in his $600 truck.”
And these glowing words from greyhound racing photographer Clint Anderson (BlueStream Pictures), who has collated an impressive image gallery of Max on his Facebook page. Anderson is just one of many to be captivated by the ‘storyteller’.
“Max was a great character who always had a story for every occasion and most certainly knew how to get the best out of a greyhound.
“I came to know Max when I was sent out to do a photoshoot around 14 years ago. What was meant to be a short sharp shoot of around half an hour, turned into a three-hour conversation.
“The 2018 Victorian Greyhound Awards, when Max was made an inductee of the Hall of Fame has to be up there with one of my favourite moments at an awards ceremony.
“Anyone who was there won’t forget Max’s acceptance speech that night. Simone Fisher had her work cut out to get in even a single word when she was interviewing Max on stage, the room was full of laughter that night.
“I wasn’t around for his earlier exploits in the greyhound world, but it was certainly a big deal when Max was the first Australian trainer to take a dog to America, which sadly had to be scratched for health reasons before the race.
“In more recent times Max, who also trained in later years with his son Geoff, had success with Bordain winning a Group 2 Warrnambool Classic.
“Condolences to Max’s family and friends.”
Max was also renowned for the mentoring of younger trainers, a fact not lost on Cranbourne’s Shane Hookey, now 63 years old: “Great bloke to us young fellas in the caper, pioneer, traveller, storyteller, master trainer. RIP Max.”
Indeed, as a greyhound trainer, Max Wintle had no peer.
GRV HALL OF FAME: MAX WINTLE
Here is just a mere snapshot of his well-documented achievements:
– First Australian trainer to travel to the US. Dennis Direct – a champion sprinter, which was ultimately scratched on arrival due to illness. He had been invited to compete in a world championship.
– Trained winners on at least 65 greyhound racetracks around Australia.
– Continued to train up until 85 years of age – at the time considered to be Australia’s oldest living trainer.
Max is survived by his wife, Gloria, six children and eight grandchildren.
The funeral service to celebrate the life of Maxwell Edward Wintle will be held at White Lady Funeral Chapel – Cnr Dalton Rd and Cooper St, Epping – on Friday, January 27, commencing at 10am.
NB. The service will also be livestreamed on the following link: bit.ly/mWINTLE
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