As he continues to enjoy a return to the spotlight courtesy of star sprinter Baby Jaycee, Bob Douglas has been rewarded for half a century of service to greyhound racing with the prestigious Ken Carr Medal for 2022/23.
Douglas, who hails from Heathcote, has been involved in greyhound racing for 60 years as a multiple Group 1-winning trainer, studmaster and administrator.
“I wanted a greyhound when I was about 13 and I said to my mother at the time, ‘Any chance of me getting a greyhound?’ and she said, ‘It will be just like your guitar, it will finish up in the corner!’” Douglas recalled in an interview with great friend and greyhound racing historian Neil Brown.
“It was about the only thing she was ever wrong about!
“I didn’t get one until I was about 17, when I bought one for $40!”
From the humblest of beginnings, learning his craft with giveaways and taking 15 years to train his first winner, which he had to travel to Tamworth to achieve, Douglas has made his mark on many of greyhound racing’s greatest stages.
Douglas won the 1992 Sapphire Crown with Dashing Eagle, which launched him into the stud industry.
In December 2000, Douglas debuted a youngster by the name of Carlisle Jack at Horsham, where the future champion was beaten in a maiden heat.
Carlisle Jack proceeded to win five of his next six starts and a star was born.
Carlisle Jack won 34 from 62, his career-defining victory coming in the 2002 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park, while the son of the great Head Honcho also won the G2 Ballarat and Wangaratta Cups and G3 Warragul Cup.
Carlisle Jack was a seven-time G1 finalist, also finishing second in the National Sprint Championship and Adelaide Cup, third in the Topgun and fourth as favourite in the Melbourne Cup Final.
Carlisle Jack was named Victorian Greyhound of the Year in 2002.
At stud, Carlisle Jack produced the 2006 G1 National Distance champion Bothing and 2005 G1 Maturity Classic winner Poetic Magic.
Douglas also raced star stayer Classy Customer, winner of the 2004 G1 National Distance Championship and 2005 G1 Association Cup.
Now 74, Douglas has returned to prominence over the past 12 months, guiding one of the best sprinters in the land, Baby Jaycee, which the astute conditioner describes as a “miniature version of Carlisle Jack”.
Since debuting in July 2022, Baby Jaycee has won 28 of her 48 starts, highlighted by the 2023 G1 Sapphire Crown.
She has been runner-up three times at G1 level, in the Australian Cup, Golden Easter Egg and National Futurity, and also finished second in the G2 Sandown Laurels.
Baby Jaycee also contested the finals of the G1 Temlee, G1 Maturity Classic and G2 Horsham Cup.
Douglas only has two greyhounds in work, with the other member of his kennel, Call Me Marley, winning 12 races and qualifying for the G2 Horsham Cup Final.
“To get a medal for something you’ve loved doing for the major part of your life is hard to beat. I never expected anything like this,” Douglas said.
“I was a slow learner and got off to a bad start but started to breed a few good dogs and was fortunate to train a dog like Carlisle Jack and now at the tail end of my career, Baby Jaycee. I’ve also got a ‘second stringer’, Call Me Marley, who’s named after our grandson. Life’s great!
“It’s been a sensational journey and I wouldn’t swap it for anything. This is the icing on the cake.
“I’ll probably die with a lead in my hand, and as I just said to Stuart Laing (GRV CEO), ‘I hope there’s a quick one on the end of it’!”
Douglas has also been a prominent studmaster, his mentor in the breeding industry being Hall of Fame great Fred Booth.
Bob handled champion sire Bombastic Shiraz’s matings for the majority of his magnificent stud career, while he was a prominent founding member of the Australian Studmasters’ Association.
Douglas also devoted his energies to club administration, serving as President of Bendigo GRC from 2013 until 2021, overseeing major improvements to the venue and club operations, and is currently Junior Vice President on the club’s committee.