Events and Promotions

2017 Gala Awards Dinner

Watch the Trackside Highlights show below or scroll down for a picture review of the winners.


The 2017 Gala Awards Dinner was held in Invercargill at Bill Richardson’s Transport World on Saturday 16 September. Over the evening we celebrated our sport, our top members and our incredible greyhounds.  Matt Cross was a magnificent MC and John Allen, CEO of NZRB gave an inspiring speech about the future of greyhound racing in New Zealand.

Bill Richardson's Transport World NZRB CEO - John Allen

Dave and Jean Fahey were honoured for their incredible achievement of reaching 100 Group Race Wins, a milestone that hadn’t been listed on the evening’s programme, so may have come as a surprise for the couple. When accepting the award, Jean was at a loss for words. Both Fahey’s were touched by the sentiment and recognition of their hard work.

100 Group Wins

The Sprinter of the Year award was won by Wheelchair Norm, a John McInerney-trained dog. His 55 race day outings yielded him with 36 wins. He placed on a further nine occasions, netting him $64,268.

Sprinter of the Year

The Middle Distance Greyhound of the Year was awarded to Timmy Trumpet, prepared by Karen Walsh. Timmy Trumpet won the award title with 114 points. Of 39 races during the season, he was the victor in 19 of them. He secured another 17 minor placings and won $80,028 in stake earnings – the second highest tally for the season. Accepting the award are Sophie Whittaker and Taylor Thornton.

Middle Distance - Timmy Trumpet

Shandell won Distance Greyhound of the Year for her conditioners, Arch and Gloria Lawrence. This was her third consecutive time winning this award. Her terrific overall career record saw her race on 82 occasions, winning 35 of them and placing 26 times.

Distance - Shandell

NZ Sire of the Year went to Sergio. He achieved the remarkable feat of winning this title for the third consecutive year. Contributing to a number of his siring wins were the following proven greyhounds: Thrilling Raider, Thrilling Surge, Thrilling Wilson, Thrilling Rocky, Thrilling Attack, Sedgebrook Babe, Sedgebrook Magic, Definer, Alex Attack and Breeze Attack.  Taylor Thornton accepted the award on behalf of Sergio's owners Lincoln and Natalie Lane.

NZ Sire - Sergio

Hifi Allegro won Dam of the Year. During last year’s season Hifi Allegro was represented by 12 individual runners, all of them winning races.

Hifi Allegro

NZ Bred Greyhound of the Year was awarded to Allegro Gun. Allegro Gun was an extremely versatile greyhound throughout the racing season. His versatility saw him successfully competing in sprint and middle distance races which in doing so saw him accumulate 156 points to easily win the NZ Bred Greyhound of the Year title for his conditioner Lisa Cole.

Allegro Gun

A special, rarely awarded achievement was given to Swimming Goat - the International Achievement Award. During the early portion of last season Swimming Goat broke the New Zealand record for the most consecutive totalizator race wins (14 wins, jointly held by five greyhounds). He then went onto to extend that record to 22 consecutive wins and thus created immense Australian media interest. He also developed a cult like following on social media sites.

Swimming Goat

The Strike Rate Trainer of the Year went to Calum Weir. Trainer Calum Weir maintained an exceptionally high strike rate throughout the season with his kennel of mainly short course sprinters. Calum Weir paraded 16 greyhounds to the traps during the season, who combined to contest 168 races. He returned with the race winner on 70 occasions. A further 34 second placings, along with 17 third places saw Weir completing the season with the astonishing UDR figure of 0.5628.

International Achievement

Trainer of the Year was awarded Lisa Cole. When the season concluded, an astounding 713 race winners were listed beside Lisa Cole’s name. $1,463,996 in kennel stakes was earned by Lisa.  Lisa and Brendon Cole were also awarded the NZ Breeder of the Year award. A steady flow of quality bred greyhounds have been bred, reared, broken, trained and mainly raced by Lisa and Brendon Cole at their Palmerston North based ‘Bigtime’ greyhound establishment. The results of that breeding program saw a profound influence established amongst the New Zealand bred greyhounds.

Brendon & Lisa Cole

A new award, recognising efforts in animal welfare was introduced at this year’s awards.The “Love Our Dogs” award was awarded to the Craik family. The family has gone to great lengths and considerable personal cost to ensure a quality of life for their retired greyhounds.

Love Our Dogs - Craiks LOD - Craik Family

The prestigious Greyhound of the Year was presented by John Allen to Dave and Jean Fahey for American Warrior.

American Warrior easily won the nation’s richest greyhound race, the $100,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup. At Group 2 level American Warrior also added the annual Far South Challenge (Ascot Park) and the inaugural running of the Palmerston North Gold Cup (Manawatu) both over 457m.

Regional feature races that fell his way included the Waikato Cup (Cambridge), Jack Hannon Memorial (Cambridge) and the Invercargill Cup (Ascot Park). He proved to be virtually unbeatable on the big sweeping one turn traps as seen when he won ten of his twelve 457m races on the three one turn tracks in this country. He raced on 37 occasions, winning 25 of them, while occupying the minor sides of the podium five time.

During the season he lowered the Ascot Park 457m track record twice with the current record sitting at 25.57s. The $130,555 stakes American Warrior won for his owning Whittington Sprod syndicate during the season was also easily the highest won by any greyhound throughout the season.

GOTY American Warrio GOTY Trophy

Hall of Fame

At the end of the evening, we had not one, but two inductees to the Hall of Fame.

Little Mother illustrated what a very special greyhound she was right from her very first New Zealand race when she won a Hatrick Maiden 520m event in a swift 30.08s. From there she quickly advanced up the grades, which included a dazzling 29.70s Hatrick C1 520m win. Little Mother attained open class status in just her 15th race and she retained that status for the balance of her career – a further 117 races.

Little Mother, who was trained throughout her career by Brendon Cole for her Australian owner Gordon Sciberras, held track records at three venues being the Cambridge 457m (25.09s), Hatrick 520m (29.28s) and the Manawatu 457m (25.43s) best, with the last pair still standing. She retired with the distinction of being the highest stakes earning greyhound in NZ greyhound racing history with $377.751. Those amazing career stats saw her being deservedly voted as the New Zealand Greyhound of the Year twice – in 2010 and 2012.

HOF - Little Mother

In February 2016 New Zealand greyhound racing lost the father figure for the code with the passing of Samuel (Sam) Fletcher aged 93 years.

Sam was a life member of both Greyhound Racing New Zealand and the Auckland Greyhound Club. His involvement in greyhound racing turned into a lifetime commitment which shaped the future of greyhound racing in this country to the level that we all enjoy today.

The biggest impact Sam Fletcher made as an administrator came when he strongly built and led from the front the codes’ case for totalizator racing, which saw a Royal Commission into that being heard in 1970. It was a hugely successful campaign which led to greyhound totalizator racing starting in New Zealand in 1977.

He was also instrumental in sourcing the Auckland club’s current racing venue, the Manukau Stadium, where he obtained the lease of the land, which was then farmland, from the Manukau City Council. The first meeting there was conducted there in 1989.

Sam is the author of the book “From Drag Hare Paddock To Bramich Hare Stadium” a comprehensive history of New Zealand greyhound racing dating back to the earlier coursing days from 1887 through to 2000.

HoF HOF Samuel Fletcher

Thanks to all who made the evening such a stunning event and congratulations again to all our most deserving winners.