Gin Gin trainer Ronald Brook has been involved in racing greyhounds for over forty years. Like most people involved in the industry, what started as a hobby quickly turned into an obsession, and now as he nears retirement, Brook looks forward to putting more time into what he loves doing most – winning greyhound races.
It started like most participants, with giveaways and cheap dogs – searching for a winner here and there. Brook’s passion was having his dogs racing to the best of their ability – “they would always look their best and I thought that was important” Brook said.
After mixed success for the first 30 years, Brook made what he described as his best decision in racing when he went searching for a bitch to breed with. Eventually he went to the best and purchased a bitch from Michael Ivers. The bitch was called Wildfire Lass (Kobble Creek – Lucy Lawless) and would be the start of Brook’s successful breeding line and the famous Queensland “Ledaro” prefix. “Ledaro is a mix of my name and my partner Darlene – we race all of our dogs with that prefix” Brook said.
Wildfire Lass stems from the Trojan Tears / Kobble Creek line and for Brook has been a revelation in the breeding barn. The past ten years have been the most successful for Brook and looks set to continue for some time to come. In all of the litters that she had, Wildfire Lass produced a special dog or two in each. “Wildfire Lass has produced track record holders, club champions, outstanding sprinters and most of them could really run” Brook said. The line continues now as Brook begins to breed with her daughters. Ledaro Elly (Bombastic Shiraz – Wildfire Lass) was in the first litter to Bombastic Shiraz and was more than a handy performer on the racetrack, finishing her career with 37 starts for 8 wins, 9 seconds and 7 thirds. With her race track success, and impeccable bloodlines, a career in the breeding barn was a given and has immediately paid dividends for Brook and continued the success of Wildfire Lass.
In deciding where to send Ledaro Elly, Brook liked the look of outstanding stud dog Big Daddy Cool and a service was arranged in 2010. The 6 pup litter was whelped at his 4 year old property and home outside Gin Gin. “It’s on 30 acres and I named it in honour of the bitch. It’s called Wildfire Farm” Brook said. The property has all the features of a commercial operation including a straight track, bull ring, galloping yards, and a self-sufficient dam. In relation to the dogs everything is done at Wildfire Farm, for Brook there is no need to go anywhere with the dogs, except to win races. Which is probably a good thing as the nearest track is Bundaberg – some 70 kilometres one-way.
“Rockhampton is 5 hours one-way because of the road works, it takes 6 to 6 and a half hours one way to get to Brisbane.” It’s a long journey to success but one Brook takes without hesitation and one that is well deserved. Brook’s recent success includes winning 5 of the last 6 Bundaberg Greyhound Club Training Premierships. “The year I didn’t win was the year that we were setting up our new property.” The property is also home to their new commercial boarding kennels that opened in November 2012 and run by Darlene.
After 40 continuous years in the industry, Brook is on a racing high, racing the best dog he has ever trained in superstar sprinter Beware The Boss (Big Daddy Cool – Ledaro Elly). Owned by the local Gin Gin butcher and his family, Beware The Boss has been outstanding since he first stepped onto the track winning his first three starts. Boz as he is affectionately known is a true Brook breed. “We bred the mother here, did everything from the whelping and rearing to racing. And now we have done the same with Boz” Brook said.
Beware The Boss is a greyhound with enormous potential. With fast wins at Brisbane (395m – 22.79B), Bundaberg (460m – 26.20B) and Rockhampton (510 – 29.63B and 407m – 23.25TR) he is the new track record holder over the tough 407m Rockhampton sprint after last Wednesday night demolishing a best 8 field. Amazingly, from 29 starts he has only finished worse than 4th on two occasions, both times where he had no luck.
He has an overall record of 29 starts for 17 wins, 5 seconds and 1 third. With brilliant first and second sectionals he is a greyhound capable of winning on any track in Australia but for now Brook is happy to keep him at home. “He is a terribly hyperactive dog. He is absolutely fine until you empty him out at 11am. Then he knows it race days and he is a nutter. The vet has told me that the dog has ADD,” laughed Brook. Some days on the trip to Rockhampton, Boz has lost up to a kilogram in weight. It’s a long trip but having a greyhound like Boz would sure make the travel easier. “He has a special quality in that he tries his heart out every time. At the end of his races he is absolutely knackered – his ribs are blowing” he said.
Brook obviously likes to travel as evident in the past 10 days where he has raced at Rockhampton twice, Bundaberg and Brisbane. It is this dedication and commitment that has resulted in his deserved success. With a commitment to his dogs and wanting the best from each of them the future looks bright for this popular greyhound trainer and the offspring of Wildfire Lass.