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Hall kennel dream of TAB Phoenix glory

UWN3zsEA.jpegBy Jordan Gerrans

From solving crimes and helping the community for the bulk of his life in the work force to racing a greyhound for $1.145 million this week. 

It certainly has been an interesting journey for former detective and now leading greyhound trainer Graham Hall.

The Marburg-based Hall and his kennel star Spotted Elk - who drew three in Sunday's box draw - made the trip from the Sunshine State to Melbourne earlier this month with the aim of lifting the inaugural TAB Phoenix at The Meadows.

When he started as a police officer all those decades ago, Hall could not have dreamed of racing one of his dogs for over $1 million in stakes.

In the police force for almost 30 years – where he spent long periods as a detective – Hall dabbled in dogs but has expanded his team since hanging up the badge.

“The dogs gave me through my career in policing two lives, I was able to do my policing career and the dogs,” Hall reflected.

“They are totally different things to do and it keeps you going.

“It is working for us well now.”

Graham trains his team of 20 greyhounds alongside wife Leanne, who first introduced him to the dog game.

Leanne’s father trained a few greyhounds in Victoria before relocating to Queensland, where Leanne met Graham and it just went on from there.

As her father was in the industry for a long while, Leanne didn’t plan on getting a big kennel as they do now, but as she reflects, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“When we got that one dog, you get that thrill of doing well and winning races and you just keep going,” Leanne said.

It is a joint effort at kennel Hall: rearing, training and preparing dogs and everything else that goes along with it.

 

Spotted Elk Next Racing
Extra Malt Next Racing

mKBZKR3g.jpegWhile Graham will have his name up in lights this week with a starter in the high-profile TAB Phoenix – it is just as much Leanne’s achievement as it is her husband.

“We work good together, we have our own jobs to do,” Leanne said.

“Graham places the dogs where he does and I do my bit.

“When he heads to Melbourne, I will be here keeping it all going along with a smile on my face.”

The Hall’s lived in Victoria for the best part of six years while training a small team of dogs before returning to the Sunshine State in 2018.

They trained plenty of winners around the country and provincial areas but as Leanne recalls, they only ever picked up one city victory during their Melbourne stay – it was a Thursday night at Sandown with a dog named You Bug Me.

If Spotted Elk was to make it two in the first ever Phoenix, it would be a special occasion for the family.

“It is really good to be going down to try and win a race like this,” Leanne said.

Just 36 hours after Spotted Elk claimed the first ever TAB Queensland Flame at Albion Park, Hall and his gun dogs were on the road to prepare for the Phoenix.

Spotted Elk’s litter sister – Extra Malt – finished second in the Queensland Flame is also travelling to Melbourne and while she will not compete in The Phoenix, there will be a nice race or two on offer for her, as well.

Graham believes a look or two around The Meadows before “grand final day” is vital to his two litter sisters’ chances of taking home the big prize money on offer.

“I am sure they need two looks at The Meadows, it is a different type of track than Albion Park,” Graham said.

“You are racing dogs that the track is their home turf; I just think they need to have two looks at it before a big race.

FullSizeRender.jpg“Every track is different and these dogs are used to racing at Albion Park or Ipswich, the boxes opening differently, the times or the lures, there is lots of things that could be new for these dogs.

“Things like the turns, the dogs need to get these things sorted in their heads and it is a very big ask to put them in a big race like that cold, to give them a genuine chance they need a few looks at the track.”

The sisters are both from It Gets Better, who Leanne trained and owned, and the Hall’s are both still blown away that they were able to produce two Group and Listed winning greyhounds from the same litter.

While they both showed plenty of promise in their early days, the Hall’s could not have dreamed they would have been as successful as they are.

Leanne explained that most greyhound breeders would be lucky to get one good dog out of a litter and for them to get two, it is just unbelievable, she says. 

“To come out of the same litter, it has been a real thrill and we are blessed to have them,” Graham said.

“It does not happen like this, getting two quality dogs from one litter, if you looked at the numbers and the breeding, it just does not happen like this almost ever.

“For some reason, there is two girls in this litter with similar times and ability.

“These two girls, they showed us plenty and they just kept improving.”

And, when the pair have won almost 40 races between them, there is a fair bit of competition and chat between the two.

“They travel in the car in diagonal kennels because they can get into a bit of a discussion,” Graham said with a laugh.

“They both have opinions of themselves and they like telling you.”

On the inaugural TAB Phoenix at The Meadows, Graham described it as a tremendous concept and believes it will only help to develop the greyhound industry and push it forward.

 

Races

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8

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:49 PM

TAB Queensland Flame (L) F