After claiming a staggering fifth Brisbane Cup title last week, Tony Brett is looking forward to finally “living like someone with a 9-5 job” and spending more time with his family.
That would involve scaling down his operation to just a handful of runners.
But first, the champion Queensland trainer has some unfinished business to chase up this year.
And that involves aiming Cup winner Orchestrate at the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park on September 24.
As part of that journey, the three-year-old is primed to defend his Group 3 Origin Greyhound Series Sprint crown over 520m at Albion Park on Thursday night.
The star chaser now with over $538,000 to his name has drawn box three for the $71,000 event.
Despite excelling from the wider lanes – he produced a brilliant time of 29.65 seconds from box eight to win the Brisbane Cup last Thursday night – Brett believes box three won't bother Orchestrate.
That is because he's in the form of his life.
“He's going as good as he ever has, and he's in his prime now. So we'll move onto the Origin this week and then probably the nationals,” Brett told AustralianRacingGreyhound.com.
“The Million Dollar Chase – really, if that's not in the back of the mind of every trainer in Australia, then they're not doing their jobs properly.
“He's always had exceptional acceleration.
“I'd love to win a Melbourne Cup and a Million Dollar Chase, so you're always trying.”
Orchestrate had only jumped out of the boxes with a few seconds on the clock during his stunning Brisbane Cup run, but even then Brett knew his chaser was on his way to doing something special.
“To run a 5.40 – I think that's up there with probably the fastest first section ever at Albion Park,” he said.
“And if there's ever a night you want to do that, it's on Group 1 night. And normally there's no TV behind the boxes at Albion Park since the floods – they just haven't got a picture out to the middle.
“So normally from behind it's hard to gauge because you're not watching the dogs side-on – it's hard to gauge where they're at, and if they've really pinged.
“But even from behind – he just came out humming. And I said ‘he's going to lead these dogs clearly – I can't believe it'.
“To see that class of dog – and he's just crossed and gone three in front just like that – was quite special.”
Now with an amazing five Brisbane Cup titles and a total of 20 Group 1 victories in the bag, Brett says the secret to his success has been sticking to the advice of his late, great father, Dave.
Brett was taught from a young age to always think about what his greyhounds need – to put himself in their minds.
“I get asked all the time ‘how do you do it?' and ‘what do you do?'” he said.
“I just train like my dad did 20, 30 and 40 years ago.
“When you ask something of a happy dog, it gives back to you. There's no out-and-out secret to it.
“Dad was a great trainer, but he told so many of his mates before he died ‘I think Tony will be a better trainer'.
“It's always intrigued me a little bit over the years, but a lot of it's a mind game with the dogs.
“It's not all about the feeding. A lot of it is being in their minds, and trying to think what they think and what they need and how they're feeling.
“I believe Dad had a bit of a knack with that.”
Brett said winning his fifth Brisbane Cup last week was his best achievement in greyhound racing.
It was a far cry from the crippling lows he felt in February 2015, after a Four Corners expose on live-baiting training practices shook the industry to its core.
But the respected trainer now believes the sport he loves has never been in a better position to grow in the Sunshine State.
“It's turned a corner. It's not only the prizemoney – it's the whole industry which has changed its thinking,” he said.
“The days of now knowing that we can race a greyhound (are great for trainers) – and I think they love to race.
“I've got dogs here who have had a fighting ticker, so we've retired them.
“And I get the feeling sometimes they think ‘oh, I'm going to live on a lounge. But I wouldn't mind two or three years of continuing to chase this lure around and doing what I do'.
“The fact that we can give them a life and then put them out to a home these days – that's been the biggest change for us. Just how popular they are as pets and how good they are as pets.
“And people see that, and the fact I can win a $350,000 race. And when it's time for the dog to retire, if need be we can put them through a program or find help to find them a home.
“And they can live out the rest of their lives as house pets.”
After enduring a torrent of negative publicity since the live-baiting saga, Brett believes greyhound trainers can once again be proud of what they do for a living.
He gave credit to Racing Queensland's financial assistance for the sport's resurgence.
“With the prizemoney, Racing Queensland has done an amazing job. The turnaround in a matter of years has been truly amazing,” Brett said.
“And I thank Racing Queensland for that. When the live-baiting saga happened, overnight it changed instantly from being loud and proud of what we do with greyhound racing, to all of a sudden we became the scum of the earth.
“It's taken a long time to turn that around, to the point now to win in front of a crowd like that (on Brisbane Cup Night) and to run for that sort of prizemoney – that just makes it.
“There's no reason now anyone who has a greyhound – with appearance and prizemoney – cannot give that greyhound the best that they can afford.
“The shift in greyhound racing in the past four or five years has been remarkable.”
After playing a massive role in the resurgence of greyhound racing in his beloved Queensland, Brett is now looking forward to scaling back his operation and spending more time with his family.
“To be honest, I'm just tired from the years – it's never-ending, and your mind is always ticking over with your dogs and owners and people,” he said.
“I love what I do, but sometimes I just think a 9-5 job where you can switch off at the end of the day – how good would that be?
“You can't do it with 20 dogs.
“We'll probably cut back down now to five or six dogs. It's not like I've sent the dogs away, we just haven't taken any new dogs.
“And with that, my team around us can handle it if me and my wife decide to go away for a week.”
At long last, Brett says it's almost time for his family to enjoy a long and well-earned holiday overseas.
“Our longest holiday in 25 years has been five days. And that's just not me – that's a lot of people,” he said.
“We've always dreamt of a big overseas Europe trip, and now we're going to sit down and plan that for next year.
“It's more about that now – time to catch up with friends and family, and do a few things that I promised everyone we'd do for a while.”