A Tribute to Stephen Paul Clark 1955 - 2020

What more does this year 2020 want from us? Covid, lockdown, TAB turmoil, quarantine road trips.
Closer to us at Manukau; broken glass, stolen water truck, toolshed fire, groundsman's seizure on the tractor.
Then even the shortest day, June 21 2020, wasn't going to spare us.  Peter Earley a casualty of Trackside restructuring, a Sunday programme using 2019 numbers against us and then ominously three late scratchings all from the kennel of Steve Clark.
When the dogs didn't arrive at the track, someone went to check and our worst fears were confirmed.
Stephen Paul Clark went within a length-and-a-quarter of capturing this season's NZ Cup / Auckland Cup double with his current star Pinny Mack, but he went within a few months of getting his Gold Card from Winston, taken too early at 64.
Ironically Steve appeared on that Sunday programme, in the background with owners and colleagues - the jovial host.  The last time greyhounds featured on such a Sunday programme Steve was front and centre with Kathy Wilson and their superstar Swift Fantasy.
On the day of the recent Sunday filming, Steve said to me "I hope you're going to put your favourite greyhound into the Hall of Fame whilst she's still alive."  And even more poignant, Swift Fantasy was by his side when Steve was found.
Whilst his dogs did the talking on the track, Steve did the talking off it, but in his own unique way.
As a form of protest to the last century dress policy that dictated that women could wear their tops "out" whilst men must tuck theirs in, Steve wore a contemporary cut shirt "out" and when questioned he gave the very contemporary answer "I'm identifying as a woman today."
A close colleague texted, "He was a stubborn a-hole but he was so loved.  He's the reason I'm a greyhound trainer."
Normally such a eulogy would finish with a Rest in Peace but for this man, it has to be something like, "St Peter, warn the boss, things are about to change!"
We are all missing you Steve Clark.

- By Michael Dore

Posted on 22 June 2020

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