Breeding: SIRE: Take A Bow DAM: Rebel Wayne
Whelped : 01/11/1966
Trainer : Stan Cleverley
Owners : Helen O’Leary
Career Race Record : 64 starts (33 wins, 23 placings)
Benjamin John, a cranky greyhound weighing in at 28kgs with the kennel name Charlie, was a one of a kind greyhound racing 64 times for 33 wins and 23 placings.
“Charlie was a cranky old dog; he could only be handled by four people. A young boy named Ozzy who was Stan’s handler, Stan (trainer), myself and my son Ben (who was only two),” part-owner and breeder, Helen O’Leary remembers.
Sired by 1962 Australian Cup winner, Take a Bow, Benjamin John was one of the first real interstate travellers, racing in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Benjamin John was trained by the legendary Stan Cleverley who guided him through his astonishing career and took him all over the country.
“I don’t think there is anyone young or old in the greyhound industry that hasn’t heard of Stan,” Helen said.
Benjamin John was considered a trailblazer for the travelling greyhound, racing and winning some of Australia’s biggest races, at a time where travel wasn’t necessarily easy. He paved the way for greyhounds to travel interstate, a practise that is common today.
“There was a small element of the greyhound industry that didn’t like him, because most of the time when he raced, he raced as an interstate greyhound.”
Helen remembers the heart that Benjamin John used to show in his races. Being a small greyhound of only 28kgs, he had to find something special in order to make his way through the field.
“Charlie (Benjamin John’s kennel name) usually fell out of the boxes, being a small dog he was usually in all sorts of trouble early.
“He would find this additional heart, an extra leg or something, and he would come home so fast.”
Benjamin John’s Australian Cup victory in 1969 was his biggest in terms of prize-money. He also won the 1969 Hobart Thousand, a race that Helen remembers as being the best of his career.
“Benjamin John’s best win, prize-money wise was the Australian Cup, that year he won the Hobart Thousand and it was a brilliant win.
“He re-wrote all the record books, the crowds were up, the takings were up, I think that was his best win.”
His stellar racing career was matched by his success as a sire. Benjamin John was the leading sire in NSW for an amazing six years between 1964-1970.
“It didn’t matter how many races on a card, or which track, it seemed that his progeny would come home with half the races for the night,” Helen said.
Many current day greyhounds’ bloodlines can be traced back to Benjamin John, a testament to the greyhound’s longevity.
Benjamin John forever changed greyhound racing, he was a greyhound that pioneered interstate travel, winning some of the biggest races on the Australian calendar.
Despite all these marvellous successes, Helen O’Leary still says that her fondest memory of Benjamin John was at home.
“The feeling of being involved in such a special greyhound is indescribable; nobody could dismiss such a brilliant animal.
“He used to love coming inside, my fondest memory of the greyhound is of him sleeping on my bed with my son cuddling him,” Helen said.