This time last year, Hunter Valley businessman Adam Ramage had no idea his life would soon be dominated by greyhounds. In fact, Ramage, a shop owner from Neath, originally had no intentions of having greyhounds of his own.
“I actually bought a greyhound for my nephew to train, he’s right into it,” Ramage explained.
“It all started from there, I took over myself and I have loved it ever since. It’s an addiction. Getting up at five o’clock every morning with them, putting them on the walking machine, feeding them, it’s just something I love.”
Taking out his trainer’s licence just six months ago, Ramage originally started off with just one in work before his hobby soon expanded. He recently purchased a lightly raced bitch, named Turtle Jett, from Greta trainer Chad Garrard.
Turtle Jett had the modest record of six starts for a win and a third when she was bought by Adam. At her sole victory she had recorded a steady 16.39 win at Wentworth Park, while she had been beaten by a combined total of 52 lengths in her other five appearances. While her record was less than ideal, Ramage saw promise in the black bitch.
“She is probably the quickest beginner I have seen. I saw her early speed coming out of the boxes, she had won at Wentworth Park over the 280 and I thought that I would try and make her a 400 dog, even though she had terrible times over the 400.”
Ramage took the daughter of El Grand Señor and Charlie Cheetah to Richmond for her first start under his care last Wednesday.
At just his sixth start as a trainer, Adam was stunned when Turtle Jett exploded from the boxes and led all the way in a handy 22.93 over the 400 metre sprint, not a bad effort for a chaser which he initially didn’t think would be able to run out the 400 metre trip.
“I still can’t get over it. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the race, I forgot to go around to the catching pen.
“I couldn’t see her (Turtle Jett) but then I looked over at my wife in the crowd she was cheering and jumping up so I knew (she had won). It was awesome, surreal. It made all the effort that I have put in worth it.”
Adam attributes the rapid improvement in Turtle Jett with the fact that he only has a small team in work, allowing each greyhound to receive more love and care.
“I obviously don’t know enough to be able to determine what it is but a lot of people say the one on one training helps. The less dogs you have in the kennels, the more attention they get and I’m a firm believer if I look after them well that they will look after me.”
Winning aside, Ramage said the most rewarding part of Turtle Jett’s victory was seeing the improvement she has made on the track.
“I have taken a couple on that people didn’t want and I have made their times a lot better than what they were.
“Racing them is just showing the benefits of what you can do with them and how you can change them.
“Once you put them into the race and you see them run a better time, I don’t care if they come last, I’m happy.”
Turtle Jett will head back to Richmond this Wednesday with the race she won last week being a heat of a fifth grade sprint series. Win, lose or draw in the final, Ramage said he and his wife Chloe are now hooked on greyhound racing and can’t foresee giving away their newfound passion and love anytime soon.
“I just love the animal. Spending time with them when you are training them is what you get the excitement out of.
“I forgot that I won prize money for winning, I didn’t even think about that until I was driving home.
“I don’t do it for the money, it’s just for the love.”