Years involved in industry: 50
- 1966 Sunkist Cup
- 1973 Silver Chief
- 1974 Sapphire Classic
- 1986 New Star Classic
- 1987 Bendigo Cup
- 1987 Horsham Cup
- 1987 CUB Cup
- 1989 Horsham Cup
- 1993 Gleeson & Tonta
- 1994 McRae Honda
- 1995 Dapto 100,000
- 2003 Bulli Gold Cup
- 2003 Healesville Cup
- 2006 Devonport Cup
- 15 years on GOTBA Committee
- Regular speaker at seminars in the 1980s
The late Alec Reid was a man with many strings to his bow, including an extraordinary career training greyhounds for a period spanning 50 years.
Reid wound back his involvement in greyhound racing in the years before he passed away in April 2013, however he left the world as one of the most respected greyhound trainers in Victoria’s rich history.
After beginning his training career in Williamstown, Reid made a name for himself training winners from the seaside Melbourne suburb of Altona, before moving to Seymour in his final years.
Such was Reid’s knowledge and expertise with the greyhound breed, that many of his peers would sought him to ‘check over’ their greyhounds in search for soreness and injuries.
“Greyhound people are a different breed. They stick together and help one another, and I’m the same,” Reid said when inducted into GRV’s Hall of Fame in February 2013.
“I’ve checked over hundreds of greyhounds for people over the years and I never charged anyone because I just love greyhounds and I love the people in the sport.”
Close friend Ray Drake recalls the days when Reid was one of the most successful greyhound trainers in Australia.
“Alec was a strict disciplinarian,” Drake said.
“He had as many as 20 greyhounds at a time when he was living in Altona. He loved his greyhounds and they loved him. His race dogs were so disciplined that there was no barking and no jumping up. His neighbours would have had little idea he had that many dogs.”
“Alec got his first greyhound in 1962 when he was living with his mum and stepfather in Williamstown. It was a giveaway called Can Dash, which I remember because he kept it in my garage for a short time while he was setting up his kennels at his mum’s place,” Drake said.
Reid has trained a number of top class greyhounds over the years, and he was well known for getting long and competitive racing careers out of his race dogs.
“A lot of Alec’s greyhounds raced for a long time because he always kept up with the latest methods and treatments of greyhound injuries. He had a wealth of knowledge about medications and was a wizard at treating injuries,” Drake said.
“He once trained a dog, called Michael Tana in the 1980s who had 220 starts. The dog wasn’t a superstar, but most of his starts were in town which is quite remarkable,” he said.
Drake revealed some of Reid’s training methods.
“Alec would rarely trial his dogs unless they were young dogs he was educating. His training methods involved walking his dogs in shallow water at Altona back beach and hand slipping them at Werribee’s grass straight track.”
“The Altona back beach was somewhere that very few people would go and the salt water was excellent therapy for the dogs,” he said.
The best greyhound Reid trained was Buka Sunset, a winner of 35 races from 80 starts.
“Buka Sunset won the Bendigo Cup, the Horsham Cup and the Richmond Derby, and he ran second in the Melbourne Cup in 1987. He also sired the 1992 Melbourne Cup winner Master Giant.”
Reid bred the occasional litter, and this proved to be another area of greyhound racing in which he excelled.
“Alec bred a few litters including a super litter in April 1991, by Welcome Stranger (who he stood at Stud) out of Rich Marzipan, who was Buka Sunset’s litter sister. That litter produced On The Payroll and two other really good dogs, named Rich Roulette and Gold Roulette,” Drake said.
“On the Payroll was the best of them, winning 36 races from 124 starts with his best run being a 2nd to Flying Amy, who was one of the all time greats, in a four dog shoot out. She only beat him by half a length that night.”
“Some of the other top greyhounds he trained in more recent years include Stoddard, who won the 2003 Canberra Cup and Stanton, who won 23 races. There was also Where’s Boz, a winner of 15 races from only 34 starts including the Bulli Gold Cup and the Healesville Cup.”
“A lot of people don’t realise how good Alec was, and the best advice he gave me was to be patient, keep plugging away and the tide will turn.”
Reid’s passion for greyhound racing led to him spending 15 years on the committee of the Greyhound Owners Trainers & Breeders Association (GOTBA).
“Being on the GOTBA was very time consuming but Alec’s agenda was always that he wanted to see the sport heading in the right direction.”
“His knowledge was so profound that he was the ‘go to’ man with regard to discussions between the GOTBA and Greyhound Racing Victoria. Alec was the unofficial spokesman for the GOTBA.”
“He would stick up for the grass root trainers to the point where whenever he went to the racetrack he’d always have four or five people go out of their way to ask him how he is going and how his health is. He had so many friends, and that’s because he always treated people as friends and he always made time for people,” Drake said.