Cameron Thomassen recognised through GRNZ Board Award

Work satisfaction is a key element for any person’s working career. Cameron Thomassen ticks that box, saying that he enjoys immense pleasure working with greyhounds on a daily basis, with the former farmer thriving in his work environment.

Thomassen is a key person working in the Rakaia located kennels operated by Jack Hart and Dylan Voyce, along with Kirsty Taylor.

Thomassen’s first introduction to greyhound racing came shortly after he left high school and he was having a beer with an old schoolmate Ryan Cockburn, as he recalls.

“Ryan was racing greyhounds, with them being trained by Matty Roberts. He introduced me to Jack and Kirsty. I took up a role with them, which I guess was around 12years ago.

“Not long after, I moved to Western Australia, where I farmed for around five years. I’m a farmer by blood; however, while I was over there, I still followed the greyhounds back home.

“When I came back here, I was farming when Covid struck, and an opportunity again came up with Jack and Kirsty to work full-time with them, along with Dylan.

“Jack, Dylan and Kirsty all have had a big influence on me, for which I’m really grateful,” enthused Thomassen.

When asked about what aspect of working with greyhounds he enjoys the most, he didn’t hesitate, responding with, “I really get a big kick out of the breeding and rearing puppies, then breaking them in and seeing the results appearing on the racetracks.

“Donald and Jose (Arthur) put the time and effort into researching bloodlines, which leads to good breeding and, along with that, top race results. I get a big thrill from their results, knowing that I’m part of that success.”

Again, Thomassen readily commented when asked about a career highlight within the industry for himself.

“Unquestionably, it was my involvement with Postman Pat. He was my boy, and I did a lot of work with him, including breaking him in. He was a once-in-a-lifetime greyhound.

“It was great going over to Victoria with Jack and Dylan to watch Pat race. Dylan and I then went up to Sydney to watch the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park, which was an unreal experience.”

Thomassen provides us with an update on Postman Pat, who has recently been retired to stand at stud after he didn’t recover from an Achilles tendon injury.

“Pat went amiss again when trialling, so the decision was immediately made to retire him. He’ll be standing at stud, so hopefully he can kick on and leave progeny like him on the track.

Postman Pat will be stood at stud by Darren Puleio, who also stands Postman Pat’s sire Hook On Scotch. And his former kennelmate Big Daddy has also been retired, owing to injury.   

The kennel has recently sent Master Pablo across the Ditch, and he ran an encouraging first-up third over 460m at Geelong last Friday for his new conditioner Jason Thompson, who also trained Postman Pat.

“A number of our greyhounds are good enough to race over there, and I say to people to throw their hands into the ring and have a go,” advised Thomassen.

When asked about his future aspirations within the code, he said, “I’ll like to continue doing what I’m doing. To me, it’s a big thrill to see all of our groundwork paying off on racedays. I enjoy having a major hand in the day-to-day kennel operations.

“I’m really passionate about the greyhounds. They are brilliant athletes, who don’t get enough recognition for what they do.”

And it is having a positive attitude like which sees which Cameron Thomassen being deservedly recognised as the April GRNZ Board Award winner, which celebrates young achievers in the sport.

“It’s always nice to be recognised by others for the hard work that we put in,” he expressed.


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 20 June 2024

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