Years involved in industry: 50
- Metro Ladies Trainers Premiership 1973 (inaugural)
- Metro Trainers Premierships (1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981)
- Metro Owners Premierships (1976, 1977, 1980, 1981)
- 1977 Maturity Classic
- 1977 Queesland Futurity
- Committee MGRA 1980
- 1980 Olympic Park Sprint Championship
- 1981 Moomba Trophy
- 1981 Lord Mayors Trophy
A TRAILBLAZER FOR WOMEN IN THE SPORT
Pat Haas was a trailblazer for women in greyhound racing, perhaps more than anyone else in the history of the sport.
Introduced to greyhound racing in Queensland in the 1950s – Pat would often wag school with her brother and a friend so she could frequent the greyhound races at Beenleigh – where she met and later married top Victorian trainer Carl Haas Snr who would travel the country in search of winning races.
Carl taught Pat plenty about training greyhounds, and together they were a formidable team, firstly on a five acre property in Berwick, and later, once their kennel grew significantly in size, on 42 acres in the Gippsland town of Tynong.
However, in the 1960s, when Carl decided to pursue another passion of his – bookmaking, which he did across at all metropolitan meetings across the three racing codes – Pat came into her own as a trainer, despite being faced with many challenges relating to equal opportunity.
As a trainer and later as an administrator, Pat broke down many barriers in her quest for equalisation during an era where greyhound racing was almost completely male-dominated, and sexual discrimination was part of the norm.
Greyhound racing in Victoria traces back to the 1890s, however women weren’t allowed to train greyhounds in this state until the early 1960s, and even then they could only train dogs that they owned.
And it wasn’t until the 1970s that women were first allowed to handle greyhounds at the racetrack.
Pat was at the centre of this hot issue in 1971 when she was not allowed to handle her greyhound Money Grand in the final of the Silver Chief Classic at Olympic Park.
“Up until the late 1960s society in general didn’t allow women to do a lot of things”, recalled Pat and Carl’s son, Carl Haas Jnr.
“Not being able to handle greyhounds, despite the fact they were training them, was really behind the times, but then things changed.”
“Women had been putting pressure on officials for several years in Victoria & NSW.”
Out of the euphoria two significant rule changes occurred in the early seventies:
1. In October 1971 women could handle greyhounds at the track, with Pat being the first in Victoria to do so
2. Women could obtain a public greyhounds trainer’s licence (that is train for any owner), and therefore become a professional greyhound trainer – again Pat was the first female in Victoria to do so.
Pat thrived under the rule changes, winning several Victorian trainers premierships in the seventies & eighties for training the most metropolitan winners in a calendar year.
Among the champions she trained were Pine River, a stayer who won 15 races in the 1960s; Overflow Love, who won group races in three states in the 1970’s; and Striding Ahead, an out and out superstar from the 1980s who drew thousands through the gates and was arguably the fastest beginner greyhound racing has ever seen.
“In the late 1960’s mum purchased one of the first muscle contractor machines and later an ultra sound machine, which helped with the treatment of injuries. Dad also organised a local engineer to build Australia’s first bull ring on their Tynong property in 1975, similar to what many professional trainers use today.”
Such innovations helped keep Pat at the top of her game.
However, training champions and an abundance of winners aside, Pat brought a lot of colour to the sport.
“Mum certainly added some glamour and publicity to greyhound racing, in an era when the sport enjoyed large race night crowds at every meeting.”
“One keen race goer made a set of 8 race leads for mum, each matching the colour of box her greyhound would start from. She would use these leads at Olympic & Sandown Park.”
“Mum also purchased her own race coats, as she didn’t want to use the shabby club coats, and she would wear fashion hats to parade her greyhounds.”
Not content with setting the bar as a trainer, Pat also created the pathway for female administrators in greyhound racing.
At the time Pat was Victoria’s leading trainer and wanted to ensure she helped and contribute to leave greyhound racing in a better place.
“The Metropolitan Greyhound club committees seemed to have too many people that didn’t understand the product they managed and promoted, also clubs were slow to react to new ideas and changing trends,” Carl Jnr said.
“So in typical Pat fashion instead of complaining about it, she decided to do something about it.”
“Mum was the first and unfortunately still the only woman to be elected on a Victorian Metropolitan greyhound club committee when she joined the Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association [MGRA], which ran Olympic Park, in 1980.”
During her two years on the committee, Pat achieved plenty, some things of which are taken for granted today.
One was the stir up, which gives trainers the option to have their greyhound watch and listen to the lure go around the track before they parade.
Another was the early development of the popular Greyhound Owners & Breeders Incentive Scheme [GOBIS].
Pat was also a key player in the promotion of greyhound racing at schools and events, and she made regular media appearances, always determined to put her best foot forward for the sport.
“Mum was driven by being the best she could be as anything she did. This certainly was her approach to training, rearing and breeding greyhounds. From mum’s point of view, being a woman shouldn’t have made any difference”, Carl Jnr said.
Today, a great percentage of greyhound racing participants are female, thanks largely to the innovation and determination of one Pat Haas.