By Isaac Murphy
John Hutchinson was born with greyhound racing in his blood as the grandson of respected trainer John Reimer whom he learned the game from.
It was only a matter of time until Hutchinson started training himself, and takes extra pride in taking care of Amber Marie, the soon to be five-year-old still giving the whole family plenty of thrills.
“Granddad trained her from start one right up until his health started to let him down, with dementia getting the better of him I took over the reins,” Hutchinson said.
“It’s been a tough time for the family, and she is probably the one thing that brings us all together and to see her springing the lids and winning in top company at almost five is keeping grandad going and giving him a real lift.
“I’ve really relished taking on a some more responsibility with the extra dogs, I’d like to do a bit more but it’s hard when I’m working full time with my own landscaping business, but I manage to make it work.”
Hutchinson said the family ties to the industry go back generations, the knowledge he picked up off his Granddad and Dad Bill invaluable, but the young trainer is keen to put his own spin on things as well.
“It’s great to keep the family’s association with the industry going, we’ve been involved in some way or another since the 1960’s, it’s all I’ve known growing up and I’m glad to carry the torch,” he said.
“I’ve learnt everything I know off my granddad, my dad Bill (Hutchinson) and even the care my mum has shown for the animals over the years, I’ve taken a little piece from everyone and tried to put my own stamp on the way I train as well.”
A veteran of 106 starts, Amber Marie has won twenty-three-races and judging on her Best 8 win last week she has a few more wins in her yet.
“She’s such a trier and has never lost that glint in the eye to race even as she approaches five-years-old and she’s backing it up on the track,” Hutchinson said.
“We’ve been dying to breed with her for a while now and it just hasn’t worked out, so we thought we’d give her one last tilt and she’s out winning races in 29.84.”
“As long as she stays happy and healthy, we’ll press on with this campaign until she comes in season.
“This will definitely be her last time in, so hopefully we can pick off another couple of races for her to get up over that $100,000 threshold she’s sitting just below at the moment.”
Last Thursday’s run was comfortably the quickest of the night ensuring the bitch stayed in open company and while she doesn’t have the luxury of the rail this week, Hutchinson said she’ll get her chance from the five.
“She’s got a bit of space around her with the vacant boxes this week but having the rail does help her a hell of a lot and she’s going to have to be quick to cross from the five,” he said.
“You can’t dismiss her because she put in such a stellar run last week, not only running time but rolling some of the same rivals she meets again, but just to be in Best 8 company is pretty amazing.”
Hutchinson said this would be Amber Marie’s last preparation, but her association with the family is something that will continue long into the future.
“She’s a very attractive brood bitch as she’s run time over the 520 and 600 metres, can win a race up the straight at Capalaba and has had the longevity with 106 starts and counting,” he said.
“You can never be 100% sure what kind of mother they’ll be with their first litter, but I’m pretty confident whoever we take her to will produce some handy pups.
“She’s an ornament to the family and we’re hoping to get a few litters out of her and retain most of them to race myself.”
Not every day is as glamorous as winning a Best 8 at Albion Park for Hutchinson and his young family, as the trainer juggling family life with his other ventures.
“I live on a property at Lawnton with my wife, our sixteen-month-old baby and have another one due in a month, so as you can imagine things are pretty busy around the house,” he said.
“I train out of my granddad’s place at Rush Creek so I’m there most mornings and afternoons doing the chores and in between running around doing my landscaping during the day.
“They’re long tough days but when you get them to the track and a bitch like Amber Marie comes out and wins the way she did last week it makes it all worth it.”