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Greg Brennan takes great pride in caretaker trainer role

IMG-7199.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans

The South Maclean kennel of Greg Brennan does not have the profile of some other trainers in Queensland but it’s record of housing interstate dogs to victories in recent years is as outstanding as any.

Brennan, who hails from Roma, has scaled down his own involvement as a trainer and administrator in recent years as he has battled with health problems.

Involved in greyhounds for almost 50 years, Brennan previously trained a much bigger team of dogs, as well as pups and brood bitches, but just pokes along with a few these days.

In recent years, big southern kennels have called on Brennan’s expertise to house and prepare their gun dogs when they have travelled north for the rich Sunshine State carnivals.

While his own team has downscaled, he thoroughly enjoys helping out others within the industry when they want to chase the bigger pay days on offer.

Regarded as one of the sport’s megastars, Shima Shine stayed with Brennan during his two northern adventures in 2021 – which led to Group 1 success – and Parwan trainer Paul Abela is hoping for something similar with Aston Ulysses.

Aston Ulysses was a smart heat winner of the Group 2 Golden Sands at Albion Park last Thursday evening and will be aiming to upset red-hot favourite Jungle Deuce this week in the $113,000 Final.

While dogs like Aston Ulysses and Shima Shine are not officially his, Brennan takes great pride in their performances when they are in Queensland.

“You want them to do their best for the owners and the trainers,” Brennan said.

“They send their good dogs here for the carnivals, you want them to perform to the best of their abilities.

“We know you cannot win every race but it is nice to be in the Final and that is the whole idea.

“Shima Shine was wonderful to have in the kennel, very professional, just as Aston Ulysses is too, they know their job – they relax at home and when you take them to the track – they perform.

“They are a better class of animal, which the good trainers in Melbourne seem to have, and they perform all around Australia.

“Paul is trusting me with his dog and I will do my best to get the dog to the track on Thursday night as fit as we can have him and be in good shape as well as frame of mind.”

Brennan and Abela have never met in person with the Victorian trainer recommended to utilise the Queenslanders' knowledge by a group of friends.

“Everything he has done for me so far has been brilliant,” Abela said.

The son of Aston Dee Bee rarely runs a bad race for owner Raymond Borda, winning 17 and being placed on 23 other occasions from 50 career starts.

Races

5
5

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:40 PM

BOX 1 PHOTOGRAPHY Golden Sands (G2) H

Race-5-Aston-Ulysses-DS5-8101-JPG.JPGAston Ulysses has been around the mark at Group level in recent months – running fourth in a Group 3 event at Sandown in late November, with the Golden Sands a chance to claim the most prestigious race of his career so far.

“He has been a real consistent race dog for me for the last 12 months after missing three months with injury,” Abela said.

“He has made a few Group races now but this one on Thursday night will be the biggest race of his career.

“Hopefully with a bit of luck we might be in with a chance.

“Box six is not ideal but I think we are in there for a big show.”

Aston Ulysses’ plans post-Thursday evening are a little up in the air with the trainer and caretaker trainer to devise a strategy in the near future.

They are considering looking towards 710-metre races later in the TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival – potentially the Clem Jones or the Gold Cup – while also being keen to be involved in the Rookie Rebel in Melbourne in February.

Since arriving in Queensland, Aston Ulysses put together a slick box to box at Albion Park on Boxing Day before upsetting Extra Malt in Thursday’s heat in a time of 34.92 seconds over 600 metres with the white rug on.

“The dog has settled in nicely here, he has a lovely nature,” Brennan said.

“He needed those few days to settle in and he is fine now.

“He has had his work this week, he has had a few slips up my straight track and had another one on Tuesday morning, so he will just rest now ahead of Thursday night.”

The black dog will come from box six in Thursday’s Final – which his trainer says is not ideal – but the caretaker trainer believes they are some chance of causing another boil over, this time of the Jack Smith-trained NSW superstar.

Brennan, who played a key role on Capalaba’s committee in recent years, thinks if Aston Ulysses can be in the first three when they go past the winning post the first time, he is every chance of claiming his maiden Group triumph.

“He performed very well for us on Thursday night in the heat, Paul has been pleased that we have made the big Final,” Brennan said.

“Hopefully he can come out well on Thursday night this week.

“He is normally a reasonable beginner, he can miss the start so I have been told and he came out a little steady in the heats, but he hunted that rail.

“From box six he will need to be on his best manners and Jungle Deuce will be so hard to beat in a race like this.

“It is a great quality Final and luck will play a big part in it.”

Brennan helped prepare Shima Shine to a Group 1 victory for Andrea Dailly – as well as another Group 1 Final a few months later – and is expecting more dogs from the kennel to land in South Maclean for the remainder of the summer carnival in the near future.

At his peak, Brennan has double figure greyhounds in work, on top of pups and brood bitches, but now just has Finglas – who won at Capalaba last month – and two young pups he is educating.