By Richard Goodbody
Rockhampton greyhound trainer Darren Taylor has paid a loving tribute to his mother Kaye after her recent passing.
For the second time in as many months, Taylor has lost a parent with his father, Donnie, also passing away in March.
Setting aside his own grief, Darren needed little prompting to reminisce about the Central Queensland racing identities, having shared a lifetime of memories – and thousands of kilometers on the open road – in their pursuit of glory.
“Originally Mum was a trotting girl who came through the ranks in the Maryborough days,” Darren said.
“About 15 to 20 years ago, she got involved in greyhounds.
“She loved animals, it didn’t matter whether it was a horse, a dog or a cat. She loved them all.
“And she got to meet some really nice people travelling all the way up to Cairns and as far south as Brisbane.
“At one point we would have had to have been travelling further than any other family because it didn’t matter where the races were, we would place them where we thought they could win.”
During the harness racing days at Callaghan Park, Donnie drove more than 1000 winners with his craft shared throughout the family.
“My brother, Jason, also drove a lot of winners,” Darren said.
“It was a real family affair.”
Having divided her loyalties between harness racing and greyhounds, Kaye, who spent time on the committee of both codes in Rockhampton, gravitated to the latter in more recent years, riding shotgun with Darren has they traversed the state with their dogs.
In 2015, they came within a whisker of representing Queensland at the National Distance Championships at Wentworth Park.
Contesting the Queensland Final at Albion Park, Cosmic Waters was edged out by Mullaway by 0.01 in a heart-stopping finish.
Despite the outcome, Darren still described it as Kaye’s proudest moment in greyhound racing.
“We had this little country dog who took on the big boys in town for the right to represent Queensland,” Darren said.
“While we didn’t get the result, it was still her biggest highlight.”
In more recent times, Kaye was well served by Are Jay Lochie, a 27-time winner for Darren who has failed to place in just 18 of 69 starts.
While injury may prevent Are Jay Lochie from contesting the up-coming Rockhampton Cup, it will not be for a lack of trying.
Racing Queensland extend its condolences to the Taylor family and thanks them for the enormous contribution made to racing from Donnie and Kaye.
Image: (L-R) Jordan, Darren, Kaye and Declan Taylor with Are Jay Lochie. Photo supplied.