After two years in Tasmania, former Victorian trainer Paul Hili and his family are enjoying life immensely, not regretting their move one iota.
Paul is a regular entrant to the winners circle, Jodie is working as a veterinary nurse and eight-year-old Olivia has settled in nicely at the Exeter school.
“We as a family came to Tassie for a holiday, liked what we saw and decided to relocate, it was as simple as that,” Paul explained this week.
At the time Hili was preparing his team from a Keysborough property previously occupied by his father Doug, but the land had subdivisional potential and appreciated in value to the extent that it was no longer viable to retain as a training complex.
“I would probably have had to relocate to Sale, but figured that Tasmania was a better option and made the move,” he explained.
Now firmly established on a small holding comprising 20 kennels at Loira, near Beaconsfield in the West Tamar region, Hili is currently enjoying a great run of success and is naturally hoping that it will continue.
When leading trainer Anthony Bullock was disqualified, many of his team including the smart chaser Hellyeah Bolt, were transferred to his complex, with the result that he is now seen in the winners circle four or five times a week.
“I never intended to take on a large team, but was asked to prepare the Hellyeah Syndicate chasers while Anthony was missing in action and am now pleased that I did,” he explained.
Hili “served his apprenticeship”with his father at Keysborough and was fortunate enough to be involved with the preparation of several outstanding greyhounds.
Hili senior applied the polish to greyhounds of the calibre of Tangaloa ( Melbourne Cup, Australian Cup), High Intensity ( National Distance Championship), Dallas Duo ( Ballarat Cup), Club Edition (Adelaide Cup) and Dancing Vixen ( Laurels).
“I started with Dad when I was fourteen and spent several years helping him before obtaining a licence in my own right,” he explained.
To date Hili regards the very good bitch Ceejays Vixen, the winner of 19 of 46 outings and stakes of in excess of $90,000, as the best greyhound he has the pleasure of training, with a soft spot also for Black Nitro, which won him a string of races when he first arrived in Tasmania.
He has since bred from the Ceejays Vixen and retained a share in one of her offspring, the very good Angela Langton prepared Heidi Go Seek, the winner of 14 races and stakes of in excess of $72,000.
Hili believes that to be successful in Tasmania, one has to concentrate on Tasbred chasers and with that in mind is currently rearing a litter of seven-month-old pups by Bombastic Shiraz from Miss Vixen, by Brett Lee from Ceejays Vixen.
“I will also be breeding bitches to Black Nitro, a son of Bombastic Shiraz and I’m A Fencer, a son of Go Wild Teddy, in the very near future,” he explained.
“Black Nitro is from Brett Lee bitch Leetyla, a sister to Bond, so I believe that he will make it at stud.”
The trainer believes that it is becoming increasingly difficult to bring greyhounds from Victoria to race in Tasmania, mainly because most owners prefer to win their juveniles before attempting to transfer them.
“I have been offered several greyhounds lately that have already won four or five races in Victoria, which means that they will have to compete against some very good opposition here,” he explained.
“There are some very good trainers here in Tasmania and top grade races are hard to win, I would prefer to win juveniles with them here and then send them back.”
If there is one thing that Hili would like to change here in Tasmania, it would be an increase in stakes.
“We are racing for reasonable money, but like most participants I believe that an increase is stakes is necessary to counteract rising costs,” he declared.