Mikayla Clark enjoying training success

Pictured: Mikayla Clark (centre) with greyhound Mow Cow at Hatrick Raceway on 28 July, on a night where she trained three winners.

Mikayla Clark was always destined to become a greyhound trainer. After all, she was born into the code, with her father Peter being a decades-long industry participant in Manaia, Taranaki.

She recalls those early days.

“I helped out Dad working with greyhounds ever since I can remember. It grew to the stage where I looked after the dogs when Dad was away racing, and also when Mum (Raewyn) and Dad went on holidays. I really enjoyed working and looking after them.”

Therefore, it was inevitable that the now 28-year-old would eventually end up preparing her own team of greyhounds.

“It was in 2020 when I became more actively involved training my own dogs. My partner Kyle and my parents encouraged me, and I guess I haven’t looked back since,” she explains.

Two years ago, Clark gave birth to her daughter Evelyn, and her Mum picks up on an extraordinary happening.

“Evelyn was born 11 weeks premature and required neo-natal care. When I got home from hospital, I had a massive backlog of breast milk.  

“I expressed the milk and froze it. I had a newborn litter of pups then, so when the pups were weaned, I supplemented their diet with the milk; after all, there was no point in wasting the milk!

“To me, that makes them a very special litter, and they are a promising lot,” she explained about her November 2021 whelped Big Time Paddy and Cliff Top Rosie litter.

And promising is the way the siblings are turning out to be on the track. Combined, the five runners to race to date have won 12 races and placed in 19, accumulating just over $27,000 in stakes won, with Cliff Top Delta leading the way with five wins.

Clark is also excited about the prospects held by Evelyn’s Annie (Federal Morgan – Big Time Abbi), named after her daughter.

“She has been trialling well, and the further the distance for her, the better.”

The secret to her training success?

“Nothing special, I just let them do what they want to do. The main thing is, as long as they’re happy.”

And Clark’s highlight so far?

“Being able to breed a litter and watching them hit the track. Being with the pups from one day old through to seeing them race makes you very proud.  

“I also enjoy the backwards and forwards banter I have with Dad both on the track and at home.”

Clark considers that Three Shirt Day, who has reached open-class status, is the best greyhound she has trained.

“She’s an absolute honey – a real sweetie of a dog,” she revealed about the Tiger By The Tail-owned daughter of Shima Bar and No Time Toulouse.

“All of the owners I’m involved with are really lovely people,” advised Clark.

Asked about her future aspirations within the industry, a modest Clark responded with, “Nothing special, just to keep on going with the flow.  If any of my dogs are capable of having a go at a big race, then yes, I’ll give it a go.”

She did add, very much tongue in cheek, about a litter that her father is currently breaking in: “They’re ticking over nicely, although it would be good if he pulled his finger out and finished breaking them in! I really appreciate the help and advice that Dad has provided me.”  

It is Mikayla Clark’s refreshing and bubbly attitude, along with her active involvement and success within the code – which includes her having been positioned in fourth place on the strike-rate trainer premiership last month – that sees her deservedly named as the September winner of the GRNZ Board Award, which celebrates young achievers in the sport.

And there is every indication that a third generation of Clarks could very well become involved with greyhounds.

During our interview with Mikayla, a happy and chirpy Evelyn could be heard in the background, prompting her mother to say, “Evelyn loves being with the dogs, and she is with us at every opportunity!”  


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 20 October 2023

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