David Cairns – breeder-owner of champion sprinter of the ‘early noughties’, Bombastic Shiraz – has died, aged 81.
Cairns, who battled a long-term illness, passed away peacefully in his sleep at a full-time care facility on March 23.
He was suffering from Lewy body dementia (a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein in the brain) and contracted an uncontrollable infection.
His son, and ‘shadow’, Darren, who trained Bombastic Shiraz, paid an emotional tribute to his father.
“He got on well with everyone; he was that sort of guy – happy and friendly.
“He had a good relationship with Kel and Jackie Greenough, and Bombastic Shiraz’s studmasters Bob Douglas and Geoff Collins .
“And he also forged friendships with greyhound racing administrators, including former club managers Jeff Davies (Sandown GRC) and Marg Long (MGRA).”
Darren added that as a family man, David had no peer.
“He was an awesome husband to my mum (Kaye) and amazing father to my sister (Lauree) and I. And he was a loved Pa to Sheadi and great-grand Pa to Rylie.
“He was our ‘best mate’ and set us up for a great life.
“When we were kids, we travelled all over the countryside because of the greyhounds.
“He worked hard – seven days a week – and was always happy and positive and had a great sense of humour.
“I was always happy to follow in his footsteps – even into plumbing – because they were very good footsteps in life. He was a decent bloke and he’s at peace now.”
A plumber by trade, Cairns became head inspector for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works and also lectured plumbing at the Gordon Institute of TAFE in Geelong for many years.
But it was his unadulterated love for the animal that drew him into greyhound racing in his mid-30s.
“He always had an interest in racing – all three codes,” Darren said.
“His passion became our passion and we fell in love with greyhounds. When dad took something on, it was all in!”
Bombastic Shiraz was a lifechanging dog for Cairns and his family. In fact, he was the primary catalyst for their rise to prominence in the sport.
“Dad ‘dreamed the impossible dream’. When we first started in greyhound racing, he dreamed of breeding and owning a dog like “Bailey” (2003 Melbourne Cup winner, Bombastic Shiraz).
“Everyone wants to win a Melbourne Cup, and dad was no different. You dream about it, but you never think it’s going to happen.
“Dad always reflected on it and could never believe it. But in essence he simply loved greyhounds as animals themselves.”
Bombastic Shiraz (Apr 2000 Black Shiraz x Bombastic Blonde) won the 2003 AGRA GOTY and 2003 Victorian GOTY.
A GRV Hall of Fame inductee, Bombast Shiraz is also the only greyhound to claim the ‘triple crown’ – G1 Melbourne Cup, G1 Topgun and G3 Shootout.
He also became a champion sire – a four-time AGRA Stud Dog of the Year.
Pawnote: A funeral service to celebrate the life of David Harry Cairns will be held on Monday, April 3 at 11am in the Prince Regent House Chapel, Harrison Funerals, 748 Geelong Road, Ballarat. Followed by private cremation.