By Alex Nolan
If not for a handful of pups ready to be broken in, trainer Lee Wylie may have been lost to greyhound racing forever after February's record floods.
Based at Condong by the banks of the Tweed River, Wylie was a regular attendee at South East Queensland and Lismore meetings.
Once the leading trainer at the defunct Border Park track, Wylie is still picking up the pieces after his property was destroyed by the unprecedented event in his region.
Alongside the gigantic task of trying to rebuild everything he lost, Wylie has been striving to get his team of 25 greyhounds back to a level of fitness that will allow them to compete in races.
One of them is four-time winner Diamond For Evie, who will line up from box eight in Thursday’s Listed Winged Runner Trophy over 520 metres at Albion Park.
The Terrence Sullivan-owned bitch turned three on Tuesday but has exited the boxes under race conditions just 14 times.
All four of her wins have come at Queensland greyhound racing headquarters, including a best of night 29.83 second effort in a fifth-grade heat on December 20 last year.
Wylie is well aware of the mammoth task Diamond For Evie faces when racing second up on Thursday, where she’ll meet the likes of in-form bitches Extra Malt and Samona.
But just to have some of his greyhounds back on the track is a commendable effort in itself.
“For all our dogs, it’s taken me weeks and months to try and get them back to racing,” Wylie said.
“We didn’t even have a road we could walk them down.
“We lost everything. I lost my dog vehicle, four wheel drive … down to the little things like the beds they lay on.
“If I didn’t have these pups coming through I would’ve pulled the pin.”