By Isaac Murphy
Trainer of 40 years Col Byers recently secured his eighth Ipswich trainers' premiership which begs the question; why doesn't he take more greyhounds to town or interstate?
“People constantly ask me why I keep racing at Ipswich and I tell them because I keep bloody winning there, why leave?” Byers laughed.
Despite health issues Byers continues to churn out the winners with the help of family and friends.
“It’s been tough, it’s such a hands-on profession I haven’t been able to spend as much time preparing the greyhounds and getting them to the races,” Byers said.
“Phil Shaxson who has been working for me for the past three years has really been the backbone of the operation over the last twelve months, he’s done all the heavy lifting getting them to the track.
“My son Shane has just gone his trainers license and has been helping me out at home, which has made things a hell of a lot easier.”
Byers described The Ipswich Club as a second home with a welcoming feel he hadn’t experienced at any other track.
“It’s a friendly club, you walk in those doors and you’re treated like family, that’s something I haven’t found anywhere else after forty years in the game,” he said.
“Everyone is mates with everyone from the top down its first name basis you get nothing but respect.
“I love the place it’s been a home for me and to win eight premierships in a row and still be congratulated by all my fellow trainers, I’m a lucky bloke.”
Of course winning makes it sweeter for Byers and he has made the 431 metre sprint his own in recent times.
“The 431 at Ipswich is where I’m really making my keep at the moment, I race there three times a week and it’s the pet distance for the best greyhounds I have in the kennel,” he said.
“The two travelling the best at the moment and probably Big Pom who has won two of three starts and a little bitch called Spring Iris who are both 431 specialists at this stage.”
Since he took on training full-time ten years ago Byers has formed a strong relationship with The Board Racing Syndicate, who’s greyhounds account for the majority of Byers kennel.
“I get most of my dogs from Board Racing coming in from New South Wales and South Australia,” he said.
“We’ve formed a strong partnership which has been mutually beneficial for both parties, they never query you what I’m doing with the dogs and put the trust in me to get things right.”
With his quest for a ninth straight premiership underway Byers lines up two live chances in the Mix Third/Fourth Grade over the 431 on Saturday night, Spring Wattle in the red and Spring Roy in the checks.
“Of the pair I think Wattle will give herself the best chance, she’s a quick beginner whereas Spring Roy can dwell a bit, but will come home strong,” he said.
“I’m rapt to get the one with Wattle, she loves it from the inside and with her good box manners it gives her the best chance to show her full potential.”