HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE: PETER GILES
CATEGORY: BREEDER & TRAINER
By Peter Quilty
Gippsland greyhound great Peter Giles has been inducted into GRV’s Hall of Fame.
A special presentation was made to the “Moe maestro” at the 2022 Victorian Greyhound Awards.
Ironically, a serious injury sustained in a football match in the mid-1960s proved a greyhound racing catalyst for Giles.
An aspiring young footballer in the Latrobe Valley league, Giles was only 19 years old when his leg snapped while playing for Moe.
It was an unlucky break, but it also heralded the beginning of an illustrious career as a breeder/trainer spanning more than 30 years.
His biggest training achievement was courtesy of City Blitz in the 1995 Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park. It was the ‘daddy of them all’ and reduced Giles to tears after claiming the $80,000 first prize.
It’s believed Giles was in the race-callers box watching the race with Dan Mielicki, who was calling for Channel 10. When City Blitz won, Giles borrowed Mielicki’s tie for the presentation.
A star sprinter, City Blitz also tied with Bonjase for the 1995 Victorian Greyhound of the Year award.
At the time, Giles said: “I was one of those footballers who ‘wasn’t watching if I wasn’t playing’.
“So, while I was on the sidelines, I started going to greyhound racing meetings at Warragul which then raced on Saturdays.
“At one particular meeting, I took a giveaway from the late Les Foran and, although I never won a race with her, she recorded 13 placings.
“I’ll never forget her name, it was Wingette.”
Giles added that his first venture into greyhound racing really got the adrenaline pumping and soon after he leased a female greyhound named Full Up from Hugh Dunkley.
“I’ve been hooked on the sport ever since,” Giles said.
However, Giles was ‘lost to the sport’ for nearly a decade after forming a partnership in a new car franchise in Moe during the ’80s.
But the dealership didn’t work out and from that unlucky break – although not as painful as his broken leg – Giles once again came out on top.
In 1989, Giles purchased a couple of brood matrons and was to enjoy a phenomenal run of success.
Subsequently, he and wife Jeannine prepared an almost unrivalled list of champion racing and breeding greyhounds.
In fact, in terms of producing a volume of champions, it’s doubtful we would have seen a more successful breeding and training operation in Victoria than the Giles kennel.
Giles prepared Floodgate, a GRV Hall of Fame inductee as a brood matron.
And he also trained her daughter Floodfawn (Dec ’98 by Awesome Assassin), which won 15 from 15 at the old Traralgon track. A five-time G1 finalist, hometown heroine Floodfawn also won the 2001 Traralgon Cup.
However, the Giles husband-and-wife team reared and trained arguably the best litter of the 1990s (April ’97 Gun Law Osti x Floodgate) which included topliners Ashlee Jeannine, Jack Junior and Pete’s Boss.
Giles was also clearly regarded as the best trainer of stayers for a decade, starting in the mid-1990s, including winning the 2006 G1 Sandown Cup with Sargent Major.
He also trained the trifecta with littermates – Naughty Nita, Why Complain and Waiting List – in the 2002 G1 Carnival Cup.
The Giles’ son, Michael, and daughter, Lauren, also became successful trainers in their own right.
And Giles mentored top trainer Carolyn Jones, assisting her in the training of all-time great sprinter El Grand Senor – 2010 Victorian Greyhound of the Year and 2010 AGRA Greyhound of the Year.
In a final chapter to City Blitz’s 1995 Melbourne Cup victory, it was another ‘unlucky break’ which always seemed to have a reverse effect for Giles.
His moment of glory with City Blitz should never have eventuated.
Following the Cup win, Giles said: “I was getting him ready for a staying career when he tore a monkey muscle in a distance race at Sandown Park.
“He was out for six weeks, and I decided to bring him back over the sprint. But prior to him sustaining the injury, the Melbourne Cup was never going to be included on his racing itinerary.”
City Blitz was also the canine star of local television before and after the event, with regional network WIN shooting footage of the Cup hero.
There is a saying that “all a man needs is a lucky break in life”.
But you make your own luck and there is no better example of that than Peter Giles, who is now 80 and no longer training greyhounds.
Everything that can go wrong will end up alright best describes the Giles philosophy.