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Riley gives Cameron plenty of reasons to train

By Isaac Murphy

Erin Cameron is the type of person the greyhound industry is built on.

Best known as the Capalaba treasurer, her involvement in the dogs goes far beyond that title.

Whether she’s taking photos, organising social media posts and most recently training winners of her own everything she does is for the betterment and promotion of the sport.

The outpouring of support after she trained her first Albion Park winner last week spoke to her popularity.

Amongst her Capalaba duties and her job at Swan Plumbing Supplies, Cameron finds the time to train a few of her own and Riley’s Reason made a long-time dream come true last week giving Cameron her first Albion Park winner.

“I was just in a state of amazement at the time, still to this day I’m still so shocked and struggle to really describe the feeling of seeing him go past the line first,” Cameron said.

“The way he did it was just so special as well; he was last out like the gentlemen he is and just took the shortest way home, didn’t go around a dog and to come away and win by a margin was surreal.

“Standing behind the boxes I knew he’d won, and everyone was congratulating me, but I had to walk over to the little TV and see for myself - he really put his foot down and it was a proud moment.”

Albion Park

EXPAT LODGE BOARDING KENNELS 520m

The dog has relished getting to Albion Park, registering a win and three placings from four starts, and Cameron is just starting to notice the progression after a slow start up the straight.

“He loves it around the circle, he does most things right for a dog that hasn’t raced there much,” Cameron said.

“He doesn’t get away too well but hugs the fence the whole way and the last few starts has really started to develop that pattern and make decisions that are helping his racing which has been a big step.

“At Capalaba right from the start people kept telling me he’s a 600-metre dog and we knew he needed more distance as he wouldn’t put his foot down until the last one hundred at Capalaba.

“We were set of cracking his maiden there before we took him elsewhere and he finally found this right race.”

After an underwhelming start to his career in Victoria, Cameron wanted to get the best advice when it came to the circle tracks in Brisbane and asked the right people the right questions to get Riley’s Reason ticking over.

“As a pup he raced on one-turn tracks at Warragul and Sale, so when he came up here we almost had to re-educate him on how to handle the two turn tracks,” Cameron said.

“I was speaking to Camille (Scrivens) and Luke (Gatehouse) at Albion Park about how to get the best out of him and they said just bring him back and give him as many looks as possible.

“He was doing finish ons, post to posts and gradually after about half a dozen goes, I started seeing the improvement and now he loves the place.”

Cameron’s greyhound life started like many others, herself and husband Chris originally liked just watching the dogs, but after getting her first retired greyhound off work and syndicate colleague Jason Cuff, Cameron was hooked and eventually bred her current pups.

“My husband Chris and I always loved watching the dogs, and my work colleagues in Melbourne raced a few dogs down there and one came up for retirement and they asked me if I wanted to take her for retirement,” she said.

“So after a bit of convincing Chris said yes and three days later she turned up and we both fell in love with her straight away.

“Myself, my husband and our syndicate partner got a straw from My Bro Fabio and put it to one of our ex-race bitches Ripple Eff Ex and bred the litter ourselves.

“They were supposed to race in Melbourne but the trainers sacked them pretty early down there, My Girl Gracey and her brother Cuffey got told they were no good before they even raced.

“They were only sixteen months so I took them in and then the same thing happened with Riley’s Reason - he had a few starts and they said he didn’t have any field sense so I took him as well.”

Riley's Reason Next Racing
My Girl Gracey

My Girl Gracey has been a straight track specialist up to this point but Cameron is starting to see the same development she saw in her brother Riley’s Reason.

“My Girl Gracey has been a real surprise packet, starting off with her it was just trialling, trialling, trialling and eventually we thought we had to put her in a race and see how she goes and she just loves it up the straight,” she said.

“She’s got a bit of fight about her, she’s not scared to muscle her way through and get to the front and has had some really nice wins up there.

“In between her runs, we’ve been doing similar to what we did with Riley’s Reason in getting her plenty of looks at Albion Park.

“She’s had her last two starts there but has had to do it pretty tough from the five and the eight from the 395-metre start, but we’re confident she’ll work it out in time.”

If you turn up at a greyhound track or follow social media, you’re likely to see Cameron with one of Ray and Mary Burman’s dogs, having built quite the affinity with the racing couple from her early days at Capalaba.

“I’d been going down to Capalaba at my own leisure most Sunday’s and gradually began to get more and more involved first as a volunteer and then helping Ray Burman and Neil Catchpole with their dogs on race days,” Cameron said.

“Ray and Mary are both beautiful people, they’re always ready to help you and I’ve always absolutely loved giving them a hand.

“I actually boxed my first winner at my first try for them, It was Titan Ash out of box one at Albion Park; at that stage I was usually just catching and Ray said ‘why don’t you box this one’, I was holding my breath the whole thirty seconds but what a thrill.”

Cameron, along with President John Catton, are the backbone of the Capalaba Club; it hasn’t always been easy, but Cameron wouldn’t have it any other way.

“There’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone into getting Capalaba to where it is today,” she said.

“Getting TAB status, increasing our social media presence and with the help of Rick and Di O’Donnell especially getting the images out there, it’s pretty rewarding to see how far the club has come.

“To not have to worry about sending out rallying cries to try to fill fields, we’re actually having to turn dogs away from a twelve-race program on Sunday’s - the clubs going from strength to strength and it’s great to be a part of.

“My next job is going to be back-up lure driver; I’m doing a bit of work with Camille on how to drive the lure and Tricia Fuller and I have a great time doing all the office stuff - we’re like a family.”