Years involved in industry: 70
- Trained over 800 winners (from 1927 until 1984)
- 1939 Waterloo Cup at Rotty Hill
- 1940 Waterloo Cup
- 1960 Australian Cup Quinella
- 1960 Lord Mayors Cup
Peter Reid’s training career began in 1927 and his long involvement in the industry was built on the love and support of his family, something that holds true today.
“Dad got interested in greyhound racing very early, his father was a bookmaker at the horses and his uncle had trotters but Dad was always keen on the greyhounds,” son Terry recounts.
Peter passed away in 2002 but on the night of his induction into the Greyhound Racing Victoria Hall of Fame, more than 50 people from his immediate and extended family were in attendance providing a profound insight into the commitment of the Reids as well as the respect they held for Peter.
“Dad taught us to be honest and upfront with everybody and never ever disgrace the sport or mum and dad, you’re out there representing your family he used to say,” Terry remembers.
Peter trained his greyhounds from his home in Murrumbeena throughout his career, a suburb 16kms South West of Melbourne.
Son Terry recalls the story of how his father came to be involved in greyhound racing and how he detailed that he was in a hurry going nowhere.
Peter was 19 when that all changed. He met a man by the name of Tom Heggart, a moment that Peter remembered as being the greatest moment of his life for many reasons.
“Dad was 19 when he first got into greyhound racing. He met a man called Tom Heggart who steered him in the right direction and he bought a dog off Tom called Handel.
“Handel was his first winner, but he said the best thing that ever happened in his whole life was meeting Tom Heggart’s daughter.”
The chance meeting with Roslyn, who was affectionately known as Rosie, led to 70 years of marriage and the pair having nine children together.
One the finest moments in Peter’s career is when he trained Meadow Vale to the 1960 Australian Cup. Peter trained the quinella in the race and also owned the second placed runner Fairs Orders.
“His finest moment was winning the Australian Cup, he talked about it for many years, and he didn’t own the winner.
“The owner (Ray Vowns) brought the dog over (weeks before the Australian Cup) and gave it a couple of runs at North Melbourne. After that he wanted to take the dog home (to Tasmania) until Dad said look, leave him with me, I think I can win the Australian Cup with it,” Terry said.
“The dog that placed second was a Tasmanian dog (owned by Peter), a man named Mr Morgan rang my father and said look there’s a dog for sale over here, they have to sell it, it would be good if you could buy it…and the rest is history.”
Peter also had tremendous success in Coursing, winning back-to-back Waterloo Cups in 1939 & 1940 with a greyhound named Snappy, at a time where the race was considered as prestigious as the Melbourne Cup.
“He talked more about the journey to the Waterloo Cup than the win itself. When he went to Benalla with the dog, he had to pay the publican extra money to keep the dog in the room with him and he also had to hand feed Snappy because it was a very touchy type of dog,” proud son Terry recalls.
The Waterloo Cup victory was indicative of the care with which Peter trained his greyhounds, his training focus was always on making the greyhound feel comfortable and ensuring the greyhound was sound, mentally and physically.
“Dad was meticulous, he was always meticulous, he would make sure the dog was fit and healthy and always in the right frame of mind to win a race.”
His training insights and talent continued through his family.
Four of his nine children continued on to become members of the greyhound racing industry, winning a Warragul St Ledger, an Adelaide Cup and the Laurels Classic among their achievements.
Peter trained greyhounds owned by the local butcher all the way to millionaires and had success at all levels of the sport, his dedication to his family and the greyhound breed, were ever-present during his outstanding life and career.
“Our whole family life revolved around greyhounds because he had us all working with them.”
“He trained for many people but Harold Matthews was one of them. When Harold approached him to train the dogs, Dad said look I haven’t got enough kennels and I just can’t take your dogs Harold.”
Harold Matthews, being a builder and having the desire – and what turned out to be exceptional forethought – decided to make the space for his greyhounds so they could learn under Peter’s guidance.
“He said Pete, how many kennels do you want? Eight? Is that corner empty? They will be done by the end of the week,” Terry recalled.
Harold had eight kennels up and Peter had eight more greyhounds by the end of that week.
Peter devoted his life to ensuring his family was well looked after and cared for, just as he did when he was training greyhounds.
“Dad loved greyhound racing, he loved his wife, his family, his extended family and he considered greyhound racing to be part of his extended family.”
The friendships Peter made in the industry made him feel as though the greyhound racing fraternity was part of his extended family, he attended every race meeting at Sandown Park and The Meadows up until his passing in 2002.
“He felt like he was part of the community he went there and he talked to people about their kids and what they were doing, he felt that everyone was part of the one community in greyhound racing,” Terry said.