Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club last week recognised three icons of the greyhound racing community.By Hannah Driscoll
Three icons of the Goulburn Valley greyhound racing community were recognised by Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club last week.
Trainer Alec Reid, breeder Tony McGrath and superstar greyhound Highly Blessed, who was owned and trained by Shepparton’s Doug and Lorraine Ferremi, were all recognised at the club’s first acknowledgement night.
All three are Victorian greyhound racing hall of fame members and sections of the Shepparton club were renamed in their honour.
It now features the Tony McGrath Honour Board, the Alec Reid Bar and the Highly Blessed Kennels.
Past committee members and presidents Kel Trickey, Geoff Hayward, Ros Gilmore, Kel Tremellen and Don McDonald were also acknowledged for their contributions, as was breeder, trainer and greyhound checker Keith Warburton.
Reid and McGrath were inducted to the Greyhound Racing Victoria Hall of Fame in February, but Reid died in April, so his friend Ron Drake spoke in his honour last week.
As well as his success as a trainer — he was the winner of the Sunkist, Bendigo, Horsham, CUB, Healesville and Bulli gold cups during a 50-year career — Reid was also a key figure of the Greyhound Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association for 15 years.
McGrath, 70, also a long-serving club president, said it was an honour having the board renamed after him.
‘‘It was a surprise and very good because I’ve been away on holidays and I didn’t know all these changes had been made,’’ McGrath said.
‘‘It was good to see the two other hall of famers and the other past workers for the club acknowledged.’’
Highly Blessed was one of the inaugural 36 inductees into the Victorian hall of fame in 2009, having already been inducted into the Australian Greyhound Racing Association’s Australian Hall of Fame in 1999.
She won 38 of her 55 starts, including Group One races the Melbourne Cup, XXXX Trophy (both 1990), Golden Easter Egg and Adelaide Cup (both 1991).
But Doug Ferremi, 73, said her win in the 1990 Group Two Shepparton Cup still held a special place in his heart.
‘‘She did a lot for the area I suppose because of the profile, people like Channel Seven and A Current Affair came down all the time doing interviews,’’ he said.
‘‘She did a fair bit for the industry because I think the name and coming from a country town, not being a professional trainer, just being a hobby trainer, going all around Australia and winning the major feature races, she grabbed the imagination of the people.’’
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