THE greyhound racing fraternity has once again been dealt a saddening blow following the passing of iconic industry participant George Schofield on Monday.
The sad news follows the passing of another respected trainer, Ken Virtue, last Wednesday.
Aged 99, Scofield has an extensive history within the sport – with his involvement stretching back more than 70 years and including his work as an owner, breeder, trainer, rearer, stud master, chiropractor and administrator.
A member of the Victorian and Australian Greyhound Racing Hall of Fames, Schofield was born in Lavington, NSW, a town in the city of Albury, in 1918.
His family owned a farm near Wodonga where he did all his schooling and he was raised with his five siblings by his father after his mother passed away when he was just nine years old.
Schofield left school at 14 and began milking cows, earning five shillings a week, as well as walking greyhounds for Bert Stewart.
The family moved to Coburg in 1935 and a year later Schofield met the late Charlie Hayson – a former trainer – whom he handled dogs for – and soon after he trained dogs with Vern Sweetham.
In 1941 Schofield joined the army for four years, serving mainly overseas. Following his return in 1945 he trained dogs for Brett Richards who owned the Parkview Hotel in Bendigo.
Schofield was also involved in administration – serving with the Victorian Greyhound Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association for 32 years. In 1966 he was asked to join the control board of greyhound racing in the state, which he did for 16 years.
After his departure he stood as the director of Olympic Park where he remained for eight years, whilst he also held a committee position at the Ballarat Greyhound track for 14 years.
For many years, Schofield has been renowned as one of the best muscle manipulators in the business. He learned his craft from the late Ron Bowen, revealing in an interview “I used to stay there till all hours of the morning just watching and talking to Ron and learning as much as I could.
“I used to watch quite a few. I remember Bill Conroy doing Fawn Nulla before he won the Australian Cup. I had great fingers from being a pastry cook. They were sensitive and I reckon you just learn from running your hands over your own dogs and it just developed as I got better.”
Well into his 90s Schofield was still continuing his work as a canine chiropractor – working six days a week from his shed located 30 minutes north of Melbourne.
But his services weren’t just utilised by the greyhound industry – people would drive for hours to have George help heal their injured domestic pets.
“I love to see [injured] dogs get better, especially little paralysed ones. When I see a dog that can’t move, and then watch it get up and walk away it’s better than all the money in the world,” Schofield was once quoted.
Throughout his years Schofield also worked with the Victorian Police Dog Squad, the Australian Customs Drug Detector Dog unit, the Office of Corrections Dog Squad and with canines from the Security and Emergency Services Group.
In 2006 Schofield was awarded the Ken Karr Medal which is considered the highest award for excellence within the Victorian greyhound industry.
In 2007 he was inducted into the GRV Hall of Fame and in 2009 he was awarded the OAM for his services to greyhound racing.
He was inducted into the AGRA Hall of Fame in 2015.