Breeding: SIRE: Sunview DAM: Shan’s Gift
Whelped: February 1958
Trainer: George Schofield
Owner: George Schofield
Breeder: Owen Henville
While a comparison of greyhounds in different eras may be difficult and somewhat subjective, the overall history of Victorian greyhound racing clearly places Shan’s View amid our all time great stud dogs.
The tale of Shan’s View’s arrival in Victoria is part of greyhound racing folklore.
Originally owned and trained in NSW by Owen Henville, when just 25 months of age and after only seven race starts (all in NSW), Shan’s View was ‘spied’ by GRV HoF inductee George Schofield after a dominant qualifying heat win in the 1960 Australian Cup (held by the MGRA at North Melbourne and run over 675 yards).
Remarkably, the Australian Cup wasn’t the only series Shan’s View was involved in at the time. He was also a leading contender for the rich Wentworth Park Gold Cup series in NSW. Thus, after racing on consecutive Saturdays in the Gold Cup heats (run over 580 yards), in between Shan’s View also raced in the heats, semis and final of the Australian Cup (675 yards) at North Melbourne on the Monday nights.
Enduring the then quite arduous road trips to and from NSW, Shan’s View won the Wentworth Park Gold Cup final and just two days later finished a luckless fifth to Meadow Vale (trained by fellow HoF inductee Peter Reid) in the Australian Cup final after running the fastest heat and semi-final times of that series.
George Schofield, then 41 and working as a bookmaker at the Arden Street racetrack, was among those who witnessed Shan’s View’s exciting performances. This turned out to be a life-changing moment.
Now 95, Schofield portrayed the tale… “I first spotted Shan’s View when he competed in a qualifying heat for the 1960 Australian Cup at North Melbourne. He ran the quickest of the qualies after missing the start by quite a bit.”
“I said to (the late) Ronny Nestor (then Schofield’s right hand man and now GRV HoF inductee) he’d make a great stud dog. I asked Ron to offer the trainer 1,500 pounds which Ron did, but the response was ‘which leg do you want?”
“However, we continued to negotiate and eventually he ended up selling him to me for 2,000 pounds, plus any money he might win in the Australian Cup final. In those days you could buy a house in Richmond for 800 pounds.”
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At the time Schofield was living in Coburg with his young family and he worked around the clock as a bookmaker, trainer and stud master just to make ends meet. He put everything on the line to purchase Shan’s View, a decision that initially aggrieved his wife, Marie.
“The hardest part about buying Shan’s View was breaking the news to my wife, because at the time we had four young children under the age of six.”
“Telling her I was spending 2,000 pounds, which was everything we had, on a greyhound, didn’t go down too well. It was the equivalent of someone spending something like $750,000 on a greyhound today. I was risking everything.”
“But when I brought him home Marie instantly fell in love with him. He had the most wonderful temperament. The kids could crawl all over him…you could do anything with him. You could walk him on a cotton lead,” Schofield recalled.
While Shan’s View was destined for a career as a stud dog, initially Schofield had one of the most exciting racing prospects in the country on his hands. However, Shan’s View also raced in the era of live hare coursing and it was in this form of racing that saw him endure a pivotal setback.
“He was in training for the Waterloo Cup,” Schofield recalled. “They used live hares in those days and as his extraordinary pace caused the hare to turn, Shan’s View fell and skidded, badly damaging his stopper bone. On one hand this tragedy eventually brought a premature end to his racing career, but on the other, he went to stud earlier than originally anticipated,” Schofield said.
At his first season at stud Shan’s View sired less than 30 litters mainly to unproven matrons. But by the time these litters raced his greatness at stud was assured with the likes of record breaker ‘The Stripper’, top liner ‘Bandar Prince’, 1970 Australian Cup winner ‘The Smoother’ and Harold Park world sprint record holder ‘Harem Belle’ quickly dominating the racing scene.
From an industry perspective, this was a time when the Victorian non propriety racing ‘modern’ era had not long been legalised (1956). It was not until the early 1960’s that the regularity of Victorian metropolitan racing at both the Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA, then North Melbourne, subsequently Olympic Park and now The Meadows) and Sandown allowed for comparisons to be made with the now proven yardstick of breeding success – the ability of progeny to win metropolitan races.
Clearly this was a time long before the advent of Group race status (1990). But it was also a time when only 1050 metropolitan races were held each year.
Shan’s View, whelped in February 1958 (Sunview – Shan’s Gift) created an industry standard as the leading Victorian Sire of metropolitan winners for four consecutive years from 1963 until 1966 with a pinnacle of 220 from a possible 1050 Melbourne metropolitan winners in one calendar year.
The immortal Temlee, himself a GRV Hall of Famer, then equalled Shan’s View’s record of 220 one year in the 1970’s. However, Temlee had a numbers advantage siring 735 litters compared to Shan’s View, who sired less than 180 litters.
It was not until the 1990s that that record of 220 metropolitan winners was actually surpassed by Head Honcho (also a HoF inductee). However, by then the number of weekly city race meetings had grown from two to three thus providing over 1500 opportunities to sire metropolitan race winners. By 2010, that number had grown to 2400 opportunities thus making a comparison of greyhounds in different eras even more subjective.
Shan’s View’s hard chasing qualities were passed on into many of his progeny, among them Fawn Nulla and The Stripper, while a grandson, Benjamin John, won an Australian Cup and a Hobart Thousand.
“I could go on forever about the great greyhounds he left behind. His progeny won Melbourne Cups and Australian Cups,” Schofield said.
“One of his pups – Shan’s Routine – was even sold to America, in the days when that sort of thing didn’t happen. Shan’s Routine went to stud in the U.S and produced Joe Dump, who won 33 races and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in America.”
“So while he (Shan’s View) was an expensive dog, he was worth every penny.”
Shan’s View enters Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Hall of Fame in the category of ‘Breeding Greyhound’.