DEAN Swain will head to Wentworth Park on Saturday night looking to commence 2017 as sensationally as last year ended after officially being named the leading metropolitan trainer for 2016.
Swain trained 46 winners at Wentworth Park throughout the year, with his team highlighted by Miss Foxy Lee (seven WP wins), Old Timer (seven WP wins), Moonstone Kahn (five WP wins), Runway Bono (four WP wins) and Hernando Kahn (three WP wins).
Speaking to Australian Racing Greyhound, Swain said it is still hard to comprehend the milestone feat.
“It is amazing and still very surreal to think that it is real,” he said.
“Ever since I was a kid I have loved the dogs and I always used to watch all the leading trainers – and now to think I’ve actually won the Premiership and my name will be compared beside them – it’s unreal.”
Swain, who used to own a roofing business, made the decision to start training full time just a couple of years ago and instantly tasted success, training Group 1 National Futurity winner Rue De Kahn in 2014.
“I have been training full-time for five years but I have always had dogs since I was old enough to get my licence.
“Virtually from the age of 18 I’ve always had two or three and now I have a team of around 20 in work.
“It’s a lot of hard work and it’s definitely a full time job, but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do because I love the dogs.
“If you can do anything you love and make a living out of it then you are a very fortunate person.”
Despite his success, Swain concedes there have been times where he has doubted his ability as a trainer.
“There have been some bad times along the way – when I first started out I had some good dogs but the following year I went through a real lean patch – I was going four months at a time without getting a winner.
“I questioned what I was doing, but I knew if I stuck to my guns things would turn around – I didn’t want to give up on my dream.”
Swain credits much of his accomplishment to his wife Danielle who he says is an integral part of the team at home.
“I wouldn’t have any of this success if it wasn’t for Danielle – she shares the workload and she is my partner in every sense of the word.
“They say behind every great man is an even greater woman and that’s certainly the case with us – she is definitely the strong one, I know that.
“If I didn’t have her there is no way I would be able to achieve this milestone.”
He also thanked his father, Group 1 Golden Easter Egg winning trainer Syd Swain, who he says taught him a great deal about how to train a dog.
“We bounce off each other with knowledge – we are the best of mates.
“I am the only one who can tell him when he is doing something wrong – he won’t listen to anyone else.
“We are renowned for our arguments about the dogs, but we always make up pretty quick.
“It is amazing to have that bond with my father.”
Swain has five greyhounds engaged in Saturday’s Wentworth Park meeting – Twist Of Thunder, Miss Foxy Lee, Starza Smiling, Starza Light and Old Timer.