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Dunleavy scores first win as greyhound trainer

24 May 2022

By Alex Nolan

Accomplished golfer Dean Dunleavy admits it took a stroke of luck to score his first win as a greyhound trainer at Albion Park on Sunday, but he’s coming to terms with it.

Dunleavy, an eight-time club champion at Redcliffe Golf Club, once boasted a handicap of plus-five and even won the prestigious 2018 Queensland Mid Amateur Championship at Royal Pines.

While he still maintains a handicap of plus-three, these days, he’s hooked on greyhounds.

The 42-year-old’s first training win came via recent acquisition Fleur De Belle, who was intended to be a companion for a timid pup by Sennachie that he’d purchased to train.  

He decided to enter her for two runs at Capalaba and she recorded two minor placings.

Then, after being well backed in just her third start for the kennel on Sunday, Fleur De Belle scored her first victory after a healthy dose of luck in the 331 metre maiden.

Fleur De Belle was Dunleavy’s fourth starter in a race and his first at Queensland greyhound racing headquarters.  

“I put her in, she jumped OK, then going around the back I could see she was somewhere near the front. I wasn’t sure she’d won until I the steward called out the numbers,” he said.

“She did a bit of a Steven Bradbury and I wish she had won normally without getting the run, but the other trainers have told me you’ve got to take the good luck with the bad.”

Introduced to the sport by his parents Danny and Gloria who raced greyhounds at the Gabba – including 1983 Lord Mayor’s Cup winner Fawn World – Dunleavy has admired the sport since childhood.

But, a successful trip to Albion Park on New Year’s Eve three years ago prompted the Redcliffe Peninsula local to take his admiration to the next level.

He returned a fortnight later to purchase a share in a bitch called Tipsy Four with Darren Makowiecki.

Tipsy Four enjoyed some success racing in the South East, but really hit her straps after joining the Danny Preh kennel in Townsville, where she would win 10 races and run third in the Group 3 Townsville Cup at massive odds.

“She went on to win $60,000 and held the 380-metre track record at Townsville,” Dunleavy said.  

From there, Dunleavy acquired his handler’s license and handled runners for Makowiecki.

The next step was to apply for a trainer’s license, which he has now held for 18 months.  

“I bought a pup by Sennachie out of Hoya that didn’t break in well,” he said.

Tipsy Four
Fleur De Belle Next Racing

“She’s so timid. Some of the trainers at Lawnton, who have been training for 30 or more years, tell me they have never seen such a timid dog.

“That’s why I got (Fleur De Belle) … I’m hoping it’s a case of ‘monkey see, monkey do’.

“I thought, since I have her, I may as well throw her in a couple of races.

“She’s now placed twice at Capalaba and won on Sunday night.”

Dunleavy runs a lawn care business on the Peninsula but dedicated much of his life to golf.  

“I love my golf, but I’ve been there and done that … it became almost like going to work,” he said.

“I still play but haven’t been a member since I started mucking around with the dogs.”

Dunleavy credits Makowiecki, Preh and trainer Mick Edwards with helping him get his training career off the ground but says don’t expect his numbers to swell any time soon.

“I’d love to take it more seriously but I’m on the Peninsula so that will never happen,” he said.

“But, when you wake up and it’s race day, it’s so much better when you have one of your own to put in.”

The next challenge is getting the Sennachie pup to a point where he can confidently take her to the races.

“If I was to get her to win it would be a totally different feeling to Sunday because that dog was ready to race,” he said.

“But if I got this pup to win it would be through plenty of hard work.”

Races

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Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 5:51 PM

GARRARD'S HORSE AND HOUND Maiden H