Craiks in sublime form at Manukau

You Ready Boots, Portland Blonde and Portland Wonder provided Tracey and Lisa Craik with a trifecta last Sunday at Manukau Stadium. Photo supplied by Auckland Greyhound Racing Club.


If in doubt, back the Craiks at Manukau Stadium.

Over the past four weeks, Tracey and Lisa Craik have trained 22 winners out of the 50 races held at Manukau Stadium.

“I hadn’t realised that,” said Lisa Craik. “That’s pretty cool!”

Last Sunday alone, they trained six winners on the programme, an achievement that is becoming increasingly common for the sisters.

“It’s been so exciting for us,” enthuses Craik. “We set ourselves a weekly goal, and if we hit it, we get to have a treat day.

“If we achieve three winners at one meeting, then we go out for dinner that night. Achieving one win is hard, two winners is really good, three winners is really great for the day, and anything after that is ‘wow’!

“There have been a few dinners out lately! We go to our local in Drury, and we sit there and enjoy the moment. Season to season, your team changes and you can go from a having a phenomenal run to slowing down, so you have to enjoy these moments when you achieve them.”

Lisa and Tracey are the daughters of former prominent greyhound trainer Ben Craik, and they officially took over the family training operation two years ago.

“We get along really well – we live and work together. That makes us sound like a couple of old spinsters,” laughs Lisa Craik.

“In any training partnership, there will be disagreements around where a dog should line up next, whether it’s under-performing, but we tend to give and take. Sometimes I’ll win the debate, sometimes she will.

“We both have our delegated jobs and we know what are strengths are, and we certainly utilise that.”

The pair currently have 47 greyhounds at home, including puppies, broodbitches and racedogs. Three of them are pets who have earnt their coveted places on the couch.

“Simple And Plain, Katcha Fire and Portland Berty are our current pets, and Just One Smile is next in line.

“If we have a successful broodbitch that we breed multiple litters from, she becomes a pet. A broodbitch is everything for us. They’ve given us the progeny to be successful, and we really want to take care of them.”

The Craiks are currently positioned sixth on the national trainers’ premiership, with 111 wins for the season so far and an enviable strike-rate of 0.3399. While they have placed in Group races since entering into their training partnership, a Group race victory has eluded them – so far.

“Every trainer dreams of winning Group races, but it’s tough to do,” explains Craik.

“We compete at the top level, but for the size of our team, it can be hard up against some of the bigger kennels. We are proud every time we make it into a Group race final.

“With the wins we’ve been having lately, it feels like winning a Group race. We’re really blessed that the sport’s come so far. If you run your business right, you can really start making a living out of it.”

By Liz Whelan

Posted on 29 April 2022

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