Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club
This page contains a bit of the Ipswich Club's history.
We are still gathering information and trivia and would like to encourage anyone who can contribute to this page to send us an email please.
OPENING NIGHT OF RACING : Saturday May 1, 1982.
(contributed by Paul Dolan)
PATRON: The Hon. Dr. Llew Edwards MLA
PRESIDENT: Ted Meehan
VICE PRESIDENT: Bob Wilton
COMMITTEE: John Doyle, Bill Hastie, Kev Johnson, Bill Jones, Ken Roberts, Chris Williams
STEWARDS: Gil Mooney, Terry O’Dempsey, M.Maher
LURE DRIVER: Bevan Williamson
JUDGE: Les Wilson
VET SURGEON: Dr. John Hare
GRADER OF RACE FIELDS: Ben Ward, Greyhound Control Board
SECRETARY: Greta Kinnane
COURSE ANNOUNCER: Terry Spargo, radio 4BC. At the time, Terry was also the racecaller at the Gold Coast Turf Club. He would call the horse races there on Saturday afternoon then drive to Ipswich to call the greyhound card. After about twelve months the calling job was handed to Damian Courtney and following callers included Paul Dolan, Michael Wrona, Danny Ryan and John Brasch.
Ipswich Racebook cover 15th May 1982
OPENING RACE: The first of ten races was a 5th grade over 512 metres. It was won by Yessam Black Top from box five, owned and trained by Lyndal and Don Massey of Ipswich. The winning time was 31.66. Starting price was 5 to 1 but Don Massey says the bookmakers bet as much as 16 to 1. In a quirky coincidence, Don and Lyn won the final race run at Border Park on December 3, 2016 with Magical Yessam.
Race 2: Carlton FFA, 732m: The Gallows 6-4 fav. (box 1), Keith Dickinson, 45.66.
Race 3: 4th grade, 512m: Lightning Clover 5-1 (box 6) Noel Wright, 31.23.
Race 4: FFA, 288m: Glinell Fred 9-2 (box 6) Bon Glindemann, 17.74.
Race 5: 3rd grade, 512m.: Tashina’s Image 12-1 (box 3), Ron Ball, 31.03
Race 6: 5th grade, 512m: Jayenel 2-1 fav. (box 4) Ron L’Barrow, 31.82.
Race 7: XXXX Trophy FFA, 512m: Speculate Lad 3-1 (box 2), D.H.Grant, 31.50.
Race 8: 2nd/3rd grades, 288m: Sendum Sprawlin 4-1 (box 8), John Martin, 17.66
Race 9: 4th grade, 512m.: Star Factor 5-1 (box 8), R.Mitchell, 31.77
Race 10: 2nd/3rd grades, 512m.: Glinell Spotty 5-4 fav. (box 4), Bob Glindemann, 31.69.
Prizemoney for the three Free For All races was $1,000 of which the winner received $650. For the other seven races, prizemoney was $500, the winner receiving $325.
The only winner on the opening night who won a race at the second meeting was Speculate Lad.
The crowd on opening night was estimated at 3,000 people.
Approximately 15 bookmakers fielded on the local events and the Albion Park trots and some southern trots and greyhound meetings. The bookmakers were located in a circle or ring inside the grandstand complex, near where the secretary’s office is located nowadays.
3,000 people couldn’t fit into the grandstand, with hundreds grabbing whatever vantage point they could on the grass and tiled areas outside to watch the meeting unfold.
There were no 431 metres or 630 metres starting points initially. Those were installed later. Races over 732 metres started from the 288 metres boxes.
VALE HENRY TAYLOR – Feb 2016 – Paul Dolan
(contributed by Paul Dolan)
Henry Taylor and his greyhound Henry’s Folly are very special to greyhound racing in Ipswich.
Taylor passed away last month, aged 87, and a large gathering of well wishers assembled at the Bethany Lutheran Church in the Ipswich suburb of Raceview to pay their respects to a very popular and likeable human being.
Taylor trained a greyhound which he named Henry’s Folly, with the kennel name of ‘’Blackie,’’ and the pair became inseparable and news headline makers in the late 1980s.
Henry’s Folly, by Rocket Supreme out of Merv Page’s broodbitch Westpark Folly, won over all four race distances at Ipswich, 431, 512, 630 and 732 metres and is the last greyhound to do that. It was in 1987-88. Before him, Just Jane and Danny Navillus also completed that feat.
When Henry’s Folly won the Bicentennial Super Stayers Stake over 732 metres on May 28, 1988, it was his 21st Ipswich win, a record for the track at the time. Henry’s Folly went on to take his Ipswich winning tally to 31 wins, a record figure since surpassed by Charmed Speed who chalked up 35 wins at the track in the early part of this decade.
Chris Williams was the president of the Ipswich G.R.C. when Henry’s Folly was racing.
‘’I took over as president in 1986 and the club was in a pretty dire financial position. We had bank loans to service and interest rates were skyrocketing. We received great support from various businesses and people and along came Henry and ‘’Blackie’’ at the time when the club needed a boost, an attraction to promote,’’ Williams said.
‘’Henry would only have a couple of greyhounds in work and he loved Henry’s Folly. They were like mates. Racegoers loved them too. Henry and his dog drew people to the track on a Saturday night. Henry’s Folly was an Ipswich icon.’’ Williams says Taylor was a great asset to the Ipswich club.
‘’We kicked off the Magical Auction concept in 1987 with the first sale related race in 1989. Henry would be there on auction day, helping in any way he could with the jobs to be done.’’
Just about everything about Henry’s Folly was special. He was the last of his litter to be born, arriving six hours after what was thought to be the last pup. Breeder Merv Page kept the pup, given up for dead, alive and the rest is history.
Henry’s Folly’s sire Rocket Supreme was an out and out sprinter, a Gabba 420 metres specialist. And here was one of his sons, a regular winner over 732 metres.
Henry’s Folly won on grass at Toowoomba and was placed at the Gabba and the Gold Coast, also grass surfaces. But it was on the Ipswich sand that he excelled.
Molloy was the track’s head barman during the Wrona ‘’era.’’ Wrona has always declared Molloy to be one of the best at that trade.
‘’Saturday night crowds with Chris Williams at the helm of the club were always 800 to 1000 people, that’s back in the 1980s,’’ Molloy recalled.
‘’When the Ipswich greyhounds opened in May 1982 I would go there as a spectator. I was working at the Ipswich Turf Club’s Bundamba racecourse, running the bars there. In 1983 I was asked if I was interested in running the bar at the dog meetings and I said yes. I was there from 1983 until 1993.’’
’I had terrific staff and we were flat out all night. There was no time to stand around and chat with people, it was head down, bum up and you just kept serving the drinks. On the nig nights like the Gold Cup and the Vince Curry, we would put a couple of extra staff on and we were still flat strap all night.’’
Returning to the Ipswich Showgrounds, Wrona saw some obvious changes.
‘’Gone is the big crowd and gone are all the bookmakers. I understand how so much has changed with off course betting being the main focus nowadays and it’s certainly a lot different.’’
‘’Visiting the track after all the time that I’ve been away was somewhat surreal. I really enjoyed the occasion and had a XXXX or two served by the current barman Brian at what we all used to call Jinxy’s bar,’’ he said.
‘’Another thing I noticed was that the rug colours seem different. In my days of calling at Ipswich, the number six rug was brown, not green as it is now. And some of the other colours look different, being lycra now rather than the cotton style they used to use.’’
When Brisbane based, Wrona shared in the ownership of many well performed greyhounds, all trained by John Reimer. Porter and Bourbon Chaser were regular winners, particularly at the old Gabba and Lawnton tracks. One of Wrona’s favourites, Minerva Reef, was a large dog in size and a very talented stayer. Minerva Reef, or ‘’big Micky’’ as was his kennel name, won the annual Ipswich Marathon over 875 metres in 1987. Wrona didn’t have to call that race. The caller was Paul Dolan.
‘’John Reimer described Micky as big and strong and the dog was certainly that. I remember posing with the dog for the post race photo and he was panting so much, I couldn’t believe it. He had put everything into that marathon race, and I was so proud of the dog and John that night,’’ Wrona said.
Club president at the time, Chris Williams, well remembers the night of Minerva Reef’s win in the Marathon.
‘’Michael and his mates knew how to party after a win but this time, they excelled. The sun was about to rise when we finally sent them home after about five hours of playing cards in the old committee room.’’
Wrona called the brilliant Ipswich owned and trained dog Acacia Ablaze winning the 1989 City of Ipswich Gold Cup. Part owner Ian Nash well remembers Wrona’s call of that race.
‘’Acacia Ablaze drew box five and all week, we were asking – will he jump, will he lead? As the lure rolled, Michael’s words were – will he jump, will he lead? When the lids went up the dog bounded straight to the front and was never challenged. Of course I’m going to say it was a great call by Michael because our dog won, but truthfully, it was an outstanding call,’’ Nash said.
Says Wrona: ‘’Not long after that, I landed my first job in the USA and I’ve been there ever since. I was really pleased to hear updates that Acacia Ablaze went on to be one of, not only Queensland’s, but Australia’s top sires.’’
Kathy Wrona said she thoroughly enjoyed attending her first greyhound meeting.
‘’I’ve watched greyhound racing on television back home, beamed in from Florida to some casinos in Nevada which is the state next to California. But there’s no greyhound racing tracks at all on the west coast,’’ she said.
‘’I really liked being able to be so close to the racing dogs at Ipswich. I watched some races at the 431 metres boxes and that was really good, to be right there and see how it all unfolds.’’
Michael and Kathy met, appropriately, at a racecourse. It was at the Bay Meadows track in San Francisco where Michael was the commentator and Kathy a tote operator. They recently relocated to Los Angeles where Michael is now the caller at the high profile Santa Anita racetrack, following the retirement of long standing South African born caller Trevor Denman.
’I went to the states with legendary commentator John Tapp in 1990. I was supposed to be his assistant caller during a guest appearance at Hollywood Park. The management were keen to hire an Aussie, Tappy didn’t want to move there and I landed the job,’’ Wrona explained.
‘’I’ve seen plenty of the USA, working in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Dallas and Chicago among other places. I’ll always remember the generous help afforded to me in those early days by all the greyhound clubs in and around Brisbane.’’
Left to right - Pat "Jinxy" Molloy,
Michael "Raffles" Wrona, Kathy Wrona
(contributed by Paul Dolan)
On a Tuesday afternoon in October 2016 two men and a woman walked into the Ipswich greyhound track for the twilight race meeting.
The two men were returning to a venue where both had been major players almost thirty years ago. For the woman, it was the first time she attended a greyhound meeting.
The men were Pat ‘’Jinxy’’ Molloy and Michael ‘’Raffles’’ Wrona. The woman was Wrona’s Californian wife Kathy.
Wrona is a Brisbane born race commentator based in Los Angeles, California. He started his racecalling career in south-east Queensland, working for radio station 4BC and calling the three codes of racing in the mid to late 1980s. Calling Ipswich Saturday night greyhound racing was a regular ‘’gig’’ for Wrona.
CITY OF IPSWICH GOLD CUP
(contributed by Paul Dolan)
Nobody is quite sure how long the City of Ipswich Gold Cup has been run with that name.
Greyhound racing started at Ipswich on May 1, 1982. The first Cup, run in 1983, was called the McMahon’s Soft Drinks Cup. McMahon’s was an Ipswich based company that traded from 1934 to 1991. Many elder Ipswich residents would have fond memories of McMahon’s products being delivered to their front door.
The Brian McEvoy trained New Generation won that first Cup. There is a picture of her in the bar at the Ipswich Showgrounds to this day.
The McMahons company closed down in 1991, largely due to the emergence of large supermarkets where people purchased their soft drinks ran than have them home delivered.
The Ipswich City Council took over sponsorship of the Cup and it was probably in the late 1980s. It was during the reign of Des Freeman who was the mayor from 1979 to 1991. Subsequent councils led by David Underwood, John Nugent and Paul Pisasale have kept the sponsorship going.
Only one greyhound has won the Cup twice. That was Haylewie Miss in 1991 and 1992. She was trained by club committeeman Sid Lewis. Brian McEvoy, who passed away in 2014, is the ‘’winningest’’ trainer in the race. As well as New Generation, he won with Just Jane in 1985 and Acacia Ablaze in 1989.
Some Cups have been special. John Edwards was overcome with emotion when his gallant bitch Ellie’s Diamond won the race in 2006. Edwards had long regarded Ipswich as his home track and to win that Cup was a dream come true.
You would have to rate 1987 winner New Tears among the classiest Cup winners. Trained by the late Sid Davies, New Tears was a sensation in the three eastern states. Other winners who reached great heights include Whip Tip (1988), Toban Leah (1994) and Roanokee (1996).
THE LAST TERRANORA COUNTRY CLUB FINAL AT IPSWICH
(contributed by Bob Watkins)
It's a photo of a much younger Bob Watkins entertaining the ladies from the Terranora Lakes Country Club whilst they were waiting to escort the greyhounds to the boxes for the Terranora Lakes Country Club Final.
Being a brisk winter's Saturday night at Ipswich I took pity on the girls having to stand out in the cold before the race and invited them into the Stewards room to keep warm. To show their appreciation they agreed to pose for the photo with me.
I believe it was the last Country Club Final ever run at Ipswich but I can't remember the year sorry .
(contributed by David Brasch)
DORIS Steinke was approached by a friend to buy into a greyhound pup. Doris had enough of her own. She relented and ended up paying $400 for a white and black bitch. Racing as Just Jane she won the Ipswich gold Cup for Doris. It was her second Cup victory for Doris and her trainer Brian McEvoy. They had shared in the ownership of former great New Generation. Just Jane was by Little Blade-Watusi Rose.
The Ipswich Club announced the Vince Curry would be the richest Maiden series in Australia. It would carry prizemoney of $15,000 with $5000 going to the winner said club president Ted Meehan. The race would be run during July and August. The first series was won the previous year by Katies Lad. The series had been worth $9000.
CHRIS Williams is appointed Ipswich club president. Born in England in 1946, he had come to Australia in 1952 settling in Brisbane and then in the Regal Hotel at Harrisville. A career in rugby league was cut short for Chris by injury. He took up greyhounds as a hobby. His first dog, Armatree Glen, was a winner at 33-1. His vet Dion Danalis talked Chris into joining the Ipswich Club when first formed. He virtually walked into the club committee and then vice-president. As president, his new committee comprised Sid Lewis, Trevor Payne, Len Muir, Don Bobden, Ian Nash and Bill Hastie.
Ipswich club decided to change its greyhound of the year format relinquishing the choice of committee and media for a points system. Southern events bookie Paul Forster sponsored the award. Previous greyhounds of the year at Ipswich had been Hardell, New Generation, the joint winners Just Jane and Mintie Stand, and then Mystic Ghost.
THE inaugural running of the Ipswich Auction series was won by Milluna Miss (Prune Brandy-Zany Zen) beating Run Rampant and Our Anne. The winner was bought at the inaugural auction by Frank and Edna Rochford who had been in the industry for two decades. The winner earned the Rochfords' $25,000. Frank and Edna had spent four years travelling Australia after that initial greyhound racing two decades. They had not even planned to go to the auction but paid just $750 each for Milluna Miss and her sister Milluna Babe (winner of the Qld Futurity). It was a long way from the days the Rochfords were household names with such dogs as Mandalong Moss, Oleandrin, Modalong Moss etc. The auction winner was bred by Jim Roy who mated "two old pets" and got a litter of stars. Ipswich club boss Chris Williams had bought three of the pups for $500 each and then on-sold them at the auction ... Milluna Miss one of them.
DENNIS Guppy, now safely retired in Tasmania, landed his first major success when What A Charmer (Prune Brandy-Zany Zen) a litter sister to Auction winner Milluna Miss, won the Vince Curry Maiden. The bitch had been unplaced at her first three starts and was advertised for sale at $600 after that. Guppy chased the bitch to train and the Vince Curry victory was the result. Dennis had a long history with the bitch's owners Brian and Jean Owen.
HAYLEWIE Miss came from last to win the Ipswich Futurity. The daughter of Bogenfel-Royal Venture took her record to 24 wins and $42,000 in stakes.
HAYLEWIE Miss broke New Tears' track record when winning the Ipswich Gold Cup. Raced by Jack Hayes and Sid Lewis, and trained by Sid, ran 30.00 to break the record. Unfortunately, only days later the bitch broke a hock when clear in the back straight in a heat of the Christmas Cup at Wentworth Park. She retired with 38 wins from 65 starts and $80,000 in stakes. She had won the Gold Cup the previous year as well.
FORMER leading Rockhampton owner-trainer Ces Perry landed the Rod Lowe Challenge with Broker's Tip (Dancing Gamble-Worker Believer). The dog had won a host of feature races in Rockhampton before the Perry kennel relocated to Atkinson's Dam. By that time Perry was leading owner, second on the trainer's premiership, his bitch Koorileah Tears was second in the bid for greyhound of the year, and Economy Lass was leading broodbitch. He and his family had brought 44 greyhounds south from Rockhampton. broker's Tip was the star.
EIGHT women from the Ipswich Club celebrated long and hard when their bitch Eira Gwyn won the Vince Curry Maiden final. The Muzzles Syndicate (the club's restaurant is Muzzles) included Ngaire Milne, Karen Humphries, Kathlene Bather, Tina Williams, Dot Williams, Lindy Beckett, Lola Bobden and Denise Hanley. Eira Gwyn (Hopeful Supreme-Plain Jane) went one better than her mother to win the final and collect $15,000 for her proud owners. Elaine Williamson trained the bitch. Eira Gwyn is Welsh for "white snow". Naturally the greyhound was pure white. The syndicate had one other dog prior to Eira Gwyn but when it was devoid of ability, the partners did not want to go through the failure of it again. Sam Apap "bullied us into it". It was Sam who picked her out for the syndicate.
Club president Chris Williams announced a plan to raise the Vince Curry winner's purse to $20,000 for the 1994 running.
FOR almost 20 years Sarina couple Carol and Don Ney had been in greyhound racing. But their victory in the Celcast Auction with Marry Me Mary (Hopeful Supreme-Toy Town) from the Dave Brett kennel was their biggest. They had previously raced Beach baby with Peter Carr and she was top grade at the Gabba. In a bid to replace her, Carol and Don headed south to check over the Auction puppies. Don had bid on a couple in the litter but pulled out at $2000 for each of those. When the black bitch came into the sale and went for $1400, Don and Carol had bought themselves a goldmine. They had intended to race her in Mackay, but a sensational break-in report soon put paid to that. She had been named after a line in the song "Distant Drums".
FOURTH Dimension (Pretty Fearless-Tusitala) broke Haylewie Miss' Ipswich track record when winning the Anniversary trophy in 29.77 for 512m. It was his 12th wins in 21 starts for owner-trainer John Meagher. He had been bought out of a Courier Mail advert for $1200.
ROD Muir won the Easter Cup with Imperial Radar (Imperial Dancer-Pretty Ayr) just six weeks after he started training greyhounds. Rod's brother-in-law Greg Kennedy bred the dog and talked Rod into buying two pups from the litter. Imperial Radar was sent home by his previous trainer as broken down. It had been planned to sell the dog to Cairns to race. Greg fixed the problem, got Rod to put two kilos onto the dog's weight, and the Easter Cup was theirs.
BERT Hornery and his brother-in-law Larry Jocumsen landed the Futurity with Authenticity (Amerigo Man-No Liability) beating boom pup Toban Leah. Authenticity was a sister to Parklands Rising Star Classic winner Relativity. Her half relations were superstar Credibility and classy No Hostility. Bert had been training (one or two dogs at a time) for 18 years but rated Authenticity his best.
TOP lot at the Celcast Auction was $5200 for a Credibility-Royal Venture bitch bought by W King of Ashgrove. The dam was a litter sister to Ipswich star Haylewie Miss. Average for the sale was $1150 said Club spokesman Chris Williams. The introduction of $500 bonuses for auction puppies during the previous year's racing had proved popular and buyers were aplenty at the auction. Williams pointed out that four of the first five winners of the Auction series had been genuine sale purchases. Williams himself had sold Milluna Miss for $900 at the first auction only to see her win that first final and earn $30,000 for the Rochfords her new owners. Victorian breeder Jim Thomson averaged $1700 for the 10 lots he brought from Warrnambool for the sale.
FORMER Sydney dog man Gary Ralph almost sold one of the best greyhounds he had trained. That bitch, Classy Marcy went on to win the Vince Curry Maiden for Gary. Gary had bought six of the Shining Chariot-National Queen litter, four dogs and two bitches, as pups. He offered Classy Marcy for sale for $6000 while spelling after education. Classy Marcy became the book dog of the series and downed Golden Lyn in the semi in a fast 30.43. She downed Small Risk and Pretty Nelson to win the final worth $16,000 to Ralph.
VINCE Curry Maiden prizemoney rise announced with the 1995 series worth $40,000 and the winner to receive $21,000.
MERV Matheson made up for little luck in two previous Auction finals when Perro Star started hot favourite and landed the final from Sam's Ablaze and Mr Tilby. Merv had run fourth with Tabasco Drive in the initial final in 1988 and Tabasco Gold was knocked down at the first turn when unplaced to Impulsive Gamble a few years later. But Perro Star (Amerigo Man-Port Perro) landed the $35,000 winner's cheque for Merv and was bred and trained by him. Dam Port Perro had won 19 races during her career. By then, Merv had been in greyhound racing 14 years. His brother-in-law John Humbler got him interested in the industry. Humbler raced Go Perro Go the granddam of the Auction winner.
Club president Ted Meehan announced a $10,300 Ford Laser would be given away as a prize at the track. Sci-Fleet Ford (Ipswich) general manager Barry Johnson provided the car to the club to coincide with the running of the Sci-Fleet Ford Trophy at the track.
LOCAL trainer Doug Ballinger takes over the reins as president of the Ipswich Club. He boasted a 20-year career in greyhound racing and had been on the committee for the previous six years. Doug had trained such local stars as Just Stunning, Mr Modish, Smiling Country. Graham Haswell was vice-president.
RACEVIEW trainer Owen Stephen lands the Auction final with Pride Of Stef (Acacia Ablaze-Eastern Rose) a pup he bought for $1250 at the auction. Owen had been a successful trainer when night racing started in Qld in 1972 his bitch Pay Rocket finishing second to Bernadette Moss in a Christmas Gift at the Gabba when the only Qld dog in the 32-dog series. Owen had a break from racing when his family were growing up. His son Glen, who would eventually come back to Qld to play a role at the Ipswich Club, put in $1000 each to buy a pup at the auction. Dam Eastern Rose was a litter sister to Auction winner Our Gold Coin. By the time Pride Of Stef had won the Auction final, he had raced 18 times for five wins and eight placings.
SKY Channel decides to cover Ipswich's Wednesday night race meetings. Club secretary Chris Williams was ecstatic about the move. Lawnton had closed in September allowing Ipswich to snap up the time slot. Graded races carried prizemoney of $600 and maidens $430.
IPSWICH broke several wagering records on and off-course and during the Auction series. The Auction produced a $12,000 record when a bitch by Farloe Melody-Tenthill Flyer, a half sister to Flying Amy, was sold. Club secretary Chris Williams reported records were set everywhere at the auction ... highest price, the average, record turnover.
Club general manager Chris Williams was recognised for his work for the club and Ipswich community in the Australia Day Citizenship Awards.
CLINT Wall, Brad Puet, Harvey Dale, brothers Bill and Robbie Francis, Alec Stevenson and Peter Sherman shared ownership of superstar youngster Reliability (Credibility-Head Turner) who not only broke the 431m track record but easily won the Vince Curry Maiden final before that. Four of the syndicate were racing their first greyhound. Amazingly, the Francis brothers were offered a share in a pup some time before but declined. That dog grew into Belrose Boy who finished second to Reliability in the Vince Curry final. Clint Wall had raced dogs with the Tony Zammit kennel since 1982 after having met during an indoor cricket season. Clint was in the cricket team with Billy Hutchinson, son-in-law of leading trainer John Reimer.
TONY Zammit produced the quinella in the Ipswich Auction final with Nobody's Fool downing Bar Stick Flyer. Toowoomba businessman Vern Achilles, who part-owned Credibility, also owned that dog's son Nobody's Fool. Vern had never intended to buy at the auction but paid $1500 for the pup from Helen Lamberton that would be Nobody's Fool. By the time he got to the Auction final, Nobody's Fool had already won the Potential Stakes at Wenty, the Daily Planet Cup at Albion and been a finalist in the Dapto 100,000 and Easter Egg.
A BLUE bitch by Head Honcho-Borrossa Girl topped the 10th Magical Ipswich Auction sale when bought for $6000. The sale averaged $1560 for the 285 lots sold. The top priced bitch was a half sister to smart gallopers Carry On Cooley and Top Region. Borrossa Girl was a daughter of Brother Fox and Australian Cup winner Drop Of Wine.