Around ten years ago Jamie, went in search of a couple of dogs, with his good friend and very astute dog man Greg Brennan.
They decided on two performed dogs from country New South Wales, and a deal was struck to purchase them. Be For Bonnie, and Kakkadu Cowboy, were the result of that purchase.
Bee For Bonnie, would turn out the best of them and take Jamie on a phenomenal ride that included 5 wins in a row, a semi final berth in the Golden Easter Egg, a second in the Ipswich cup and a Tweed Heads Galaxy Finalist. Something the majority of us can only dream of when entering this fine sport for the first time.
Be For Bonnie was never a ready made 520m dog, and fellow trainers expressed their doubts about the daughter of Super Mint running out the 520 meter distance. However Jamie was having none of that, and after wining at Ipswich with her over the 431 in her second start he embarked on a campaign to build her up to the 520. That decision to step her up, despite others not believing she was capable would prove a master stroke for the first time greyhound trainer.
Be For Bonnie not only handled the step up, she went on to win 5 in a row, and just fell short in the Ipswich Cup where she was beaten a nose. Be for Bonnie would win 15 races for Jamie, and forever cement a love of greyhound racing in him.
Jamie bred with Be For Bonnie and wanted nothing but the best for her and decided to mate her to Brett Lee, unfortunately none of the litter would emulate their mother, although they won many races. Tragically Be For Bonnie was bitten by a snake and Jamie would never get another chance to breed with her.
The luck though never stopped there, and when Jamie and his brother Leith were given a bitch to breed with by Steve Kavanagh, more quality chasers followed. Steve was a friend of Jamie’s father and the two played rugby league together growing up. Jamie looked up to Steve and considered him to be his mentor.
Jamie and Leith were loaned Lady Derry on a pup deal and the pair agreed to mate her to Elite State. Lady Derry, was imported by Steve from Ireland, and whelped 10 pups to the National Sprint champion. Jamie and Leith, would get 4 pups each and Steve 2 – Majority Rules, Cold Shivers, Miss Gro Go and Glad to name the best of them.
As luck would have it, Jamie once again hit the jackpot, and prepared Majority Rules to be the quickest qualifier of the time honoured VInce Curry. Majority Rules would have no luck in the Heats and Jamie decided with his syndicate, they would send the son of Elite State to Hall of Fame trainer Ron Ball.
Jamie was of the opinion a good dog deserved a good trainer, obviously forgetting the success he had with Be For Bonnie. Jamie had many dogs throughout this time and led in plenty of winners. Majority Rules would go on to make top grade at Albion Park and win many races, with the highlight of his career, coming with a victory in the Darwin Cup.
Cold Shivers would also prove to be a very handy performer, and the start of Jamie’s budding breeding career. Jamie put his bitch to Where’s Pedro and once again Jamie would be blessed with another top line chaser.
Seldom Said, was Jamie’s least favourite, and a dog he had offered up for sale before breaking in. Lucky for Jamie, Seldom Said would remain in his care until being sent to be broken in along wit his littermates. Jamie’s pick of the litter would turn out to be, one of the slowest, and Seldom Said by far the quickest.
Jamie carefully steered his charge around, and great success would follow. It is history now that Seldom said would go on to beat Don’t Knocka Him in the final of a big maiden at Grafton. Seldom Said, to date has won the Molly Campbell Silver Dollar, The Publicans Cup, and run a very close second in the Group 2 QLD Derby. He is currently on the comeback trail after spending a few months campaigning in NSW.
Jamie now trains from a small property in Logan Village, and has set himself up very well. He currently has pups by Velocette, Bekim Bale And Bombastic Shiraz. And these pups have the run of the property, often spending their days tearing around the yards or cooling off in the dam.
I have recently labelled Jamie, some what of a “Boutique” trainer, with the great success he is having with his small team of dogs. Jamie gets the basics right, and spends a lot of time preparing his dogs before he enters them into a race. He places them well and plays the grades to his advantage.
One thing Jamie does really well, is he is always willing to go that extra mile to get 100% out of his dogs. Whether it be traveling to a track they can win at,or getting the one extra run into them that they need to be 110%.
You always know when Jamie Mchugh has a dog in a race, that its in there with some sort of a winning chance. He only produces his dogs where they can win, and in tip top condition.
Recently Jamie took over the training of Bralyn Casey for good friend George Clegg, after George was forced to have a operation on his knee. The pair devised a plan to tackle a staying race with Bralyn Casey. Jamie had never trained a stayer and once again had instant success with Bralyn Casey winning first up with her over the 732m journey at Ipswich in city class.
George laid up at home, described the moment ‘as one of the most exciting moments he had, had in greyhound racing’. Between the pair they had pulled of the result they set out to achieve weeks earlier.
Jamie Mchugh has two young son’s who both share there father’s love of greyhounds, “Harry Mchugh” (Big H) and Tom Mchugh who has just completed his catchers licence. Both boys show great interest in the dogs, and young Harry is forever researching them on the internet, trying to convince his father to put one of there brood bitches to Big H’s favourite dog, Radley Bale.
Jamie has stated the success of the Mchugh kennel could not be possible with out the constant help he receives from the two boys, “They are a fantastic help” says Jamie. “I couldn’t do it without them”. I’ll have to start giving them a share in the prize money he jokes.
One things for sure Jamie has had fantastic success, but that success has not come easy. He has had to work hard, and has never stop learning always willing to try something new or listen to one of his peers, something he credits to his ongoing success.
The Mchugh Kennel is one to keep a close eye on.