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Rookie trainer Josh Priest lives out life-long dream

IMG-6762.JPGBy Jordan Gerrans

Rookie trainer Josh Priest does not remember a time in his life when he wasn’t around greyhounds.

Born into a racing family with his father Terry training in several different locations around Australia, as well as working for his old man’s kennel and at numerous tracks, Josh was always destined to focus his full attention into the dogs.

At just 20 years of age and having worked for Terry some time – Josh recently opted to go out training in his own name.

The up-and-coming trainer tasted success at his first opportunity, with Samona a runaway winner on Monday evening at Albion Park to give Josh a winner on debut.

“It was a joy, it was a long-life dream,” Josh said.

“For it to really happen and to do it at Albion Park as well, it was a real joy.

“I was in tears on Monday night and we had happy family members ringing around, they were all saying how great it was to see the new generation of Priest continuing.

“I have dreamed of doing this for a long time.”

Samona was previously trained by Josh’s father Terry but after discussions around the kennel in recent weeks, they decided for the bitch from a Ritza Lenny and It's A Synch litter to continue her career with the aspiring trainer.

Being apart of the greyhound industry has been a two-decade long passion for the third generation racing participant.

“Ever since I was born pretty much, I have been around the dogs,” Josh said.

Josh did not get much of a chance to celebrate the maiden breakthrough, spending the entire evening on the phone to friends and family who rang to congratulate him on the achievement.

What about his delighted father’s reaction?

“He was one proud man - he was a bit emotional,” Josh said.

Races

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Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:19 PM

ORSON ALLEN @ METICULOUS LODGE

IMG-6759.JPGThe Priest family trained in the Hunter Valley of NSW for three decades before relocating to Queensland almost two years ago for a new adventure, with around 25 dogs in work at Park Ridge. 

They have had great success down the straight track of Capalaba, highlighted by the exceptional form of Magical Trav, who has won at the venue 21 times from just 36 attempts.

Terry was first introduced to the greyhound game from his parents and has now passed the baton to Josh.

“He has always wanted to be a trainer after being around dogs his entire life and it was satisfying to watch him live out his dreams and be apart of it,” Terry said.

“The family and I are really rapt; it is all he has ever wanted to do.

“To get a start like this in his career, it is brilliant.”

Terry feels that Josh could have comfortably taken out his own training licence a couple of years ago, such was his involvement and influence on the family's dogs, but they wanted to wait for the right time for him to officially get going.

“We tried to hold him back a bit to find the right time to do it,” Terry said.

“We thought now was the time to step up and he could not wait, he was excited as he has put in all the hard work over the last couple of weeks full-time with the dog now.

“He got rewarded on Monday night for that.

“We could not be any prouder of him.”

As well as helping around the Priest kennel, Josh has previously worked as a track attendant at greyhound clubs while the family lived in NSW.

He also gained experience by boxing and catching dogs at the track for many other participants in recent years.

The emerging trainer has big plans for Samona, with Josh believing she can add to her three victories from 17 starts and eventually make it onto the bigger stage of Thursday evening racing at Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club.

“We have owned her since she was seven-months-old and a few weeks ago we decided it was my turn to give her a go,” Josh said.

“We have been working her for a long time, we took our time with her and on Monday night, she proved what she can do.

“She has always showed ability but she was just unlucky in her recent starts.

“We would like to get her through to a Thursday night race at some stage, we think she can handle that level.”

Josh will focus his attention on Samona for the time being but is hopeful of acquiring a number of new dogs to his start-up kennel in the coming months.

Albion Park race caller John Brasch had special mention of Josh’s maiden victory as a trainer in the call on Monday evening.

“Start cheering young Joshy, you have got them, Samona by six lengths,” Brasch said before Samona had even crossed the winning post.

“A day that he will remember for the rest of his training career…well done young Josh, at the age of 20 getting his first winner on his first day being listed as the trainer.”

Samona