Warren Slade, who went within an ace at the weekend of winning a double with the only two dogs in his kennels, has held a trainer's licence for 63 years.

Slade, from Beresfield, between Newcastle and Maitland, won with Bumpo at Ladbrokes Gardens on Friday before making one of his rare trips to Wentworth Park with Eye Rock, who was runner-up at his metropolitan debut.

And while Slade has held a licence for more than six decades, his close association with the sport extends well beyond that.

"I had the honour of leading out my uncle Stan Maher's dog Cola Minda when he won the 1953 Harold Park Annual Classic (now the group 1 Vic Peters Classic) as a young teenager,'' Slade recalled at Wentworth Park on Saturday.

"In those days children under 18 weren't even allowed to attend greyhound racing so as we were parading to the boxes a steward grabbed me and demanded to know how old I was.

"I managed to stammer that I was 18 and while I don't think he believed me he let me take Cola Minda to the boxes, what a thrill for a kid from the bush!

"In pre-post betting on the Classic, Stan Maher had backed Cola Minda at 66/1 ($67) and I had ten shillings ($1) on the dog so I was cashed up when he came from box two and won by a half head.

"Arnfinn, later to become a champion sprinter, was among the beaten division.

"The first real top notcher I trained was Sarraweena, a great stayer who won 30 races and was owned by my auntie, Ida Maher.

"Sarraweena later became the dam of Sarra Princess, a prolific long-distance winner for Barry Wilson.

"I became besotted with greyhounds as an eight-year-old when I spent the school holidays at uncle Stan Maher's property on Ash Island, over the bridge from Hexham, near Newcastle.

"Stan had some great dogs, including Bright Pleasure, who set a world record time for 800 yards (732m) at Harold Park, and I enjoyed my holiday so much I didn't go home.

"I demanded to stay with uncle Stan and help him with his dogs and my parents finally relented so I moved in with his family and attended primary school on Ash Island, later working on a dairy farm and at the Newcastle abattoirs.

"But it wasn't long before I was training greyhounds on a full-time basis.''

In more recent times Warren Slade's best greyhound has unquestionably been champion stayer Gallant Seagull, who set new race records in winning the 1998 Summer and Sydney Cups double at Wentworth Park.

Warren Slade's brother Johnny was a champion rugby league fullback who, at 21, was made the 1953 captain-coach of Parramatta first grade and was selected ahead of the legendary Clive Churchill to represent Sydney against the touring French team in 1955.


FANTASTIC Yankee, NSW's hope in the Group 1 Feikuai Silver Chief at Melbourne's The Meadows, was bundled out of the series after finishing fifth in his heat on Saturday night.

Sent out a $2 favourite on the strength of recent quick Wentworth Park wins, Fantastic Yankee did not begin with his customary dash and looked strange to the track by drifting wide on the first bend.

After settling in fifth position the Jason Fletcher-trained youngster remained in that spot throughout the heat.


THE new look, reconstructed Gosford course (pictured) was "on fire'' on Sunday night with Beast Unleashed becoming the first greyhound to break 29sec for the 515m trip when leading throughout in his heat of the Woy Woy Poultry Gold Cup.

The Jodie Lagogiane-trained speedster defeated Champion Model by just under six lengths in 28.90sec, well inside Avondale Al's 29.14sec track record.

The other heats were taken out by She's Gift in another sub-record time of 29.01sec, Cosmic Bonus in 29.16sec and Federal Lilly in 29.49sec.

Cosmic Bonus took 29.48sec to win last year's Group 2 final and will attempt back-to-back success in the Central Coast's biggest race on January 1.

Quickest Cup final winner in recent years has been Barking Bad, who stopped the clock at 29.35sec in 2017.