Thirty years ago as a carpenter working on high rise buildings in Western Australia, Southern Rivers mentor John Crossley acquired his first greyhound, a dog called Gallant Chief. Described by John as a fast dog – Gallant Chief did more than win races, he would introduce John and his wife Brenda to a sport and hobby that would become their passion to this day.
After 30 continuous years in the industry, the Crossley's are experiencing their biggest thrill in racing thanks to their outstanding brood bitch West On Lee (Brett Lee – Bev's Sylvia). Four years ago The Crossley's were on the lookout for a brood bitch to purchase and so they approached leading WA mentor and close friend Linda Britton. “We were interested in a bitch racing at the time called West On Winnie. She was a super bitch from a super litter that in total would all win close to $250,000 in prizemoney. West On Winnie kept on racing so Linda asked if we would be interested in taking and using her litter sister West On Lee. We agreed and the good luck followed.” said John.
West On Lee's race career was ordinary. Compared with her litter brothers and sisters she was the worst performer in the litter and after 16 starts she would finish her career with only one win and one second. The Crossley's weren't perturbed. An arrangement was made with Linda and owner Gary Weston, and together all breeding related costs would be halved. The resultant litter would be halved too at 12 weeks. Brenda would have first choice, Linda the second and so on.
In 2008 West On Lee's litter to Surf Lorian produced outstanding sprinters West On Max and Surf A Coin. West On Max would break down after just 14 starts for Linda Britton and owner Gary Weston with the highlight of his short career being the Sandi's Me Mum memorial win in 2011. From 14 starts he won 5 with a further 5 placings and over $20,000 in prizemoney.
Surf A Coin would become an iron dog for the Crossley's and win over $135,000 in prizemoney in Western Australia alone, finishing with the outstanding record of 105 starts, 22 wins, 29 seconds and 15 thirds. “Being WA bred meant that he picked up another $35 – $40,000 in breeding bonuses.” said John. Surf A Coin would win many feature racers in Western Australia including the Sandi's Me Mum Memorial in 2012, the second year in a row that West On Lee had produced the winner of the race named in honour on the Hall of Fame greyhound and West Australian great.
In 2013 West On Lee looks set to produce her third straight winner of the Sandi's Me Mum memorial final. With superstar young pup On Coin (Primo Uno – West On Lee) being one the three fastest greyhounds ever to grace the Cannington circuit (29.85) he looks to have the others racing for second in this Saturday nights final. The biggest danger looks to be his litter brother Celtic Coin (Primo Uno – West On Lee). “I just hope that they don't take each other out” John said.
Success is defined by the dictionary as the ‘attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like'. In Western Australia, no one is more deserving than John and Brenda Crossley. The Crossley's deserve their accolades due to their hard work, commitment and a belief in their system and their way of doing things. “In 30 plus years in the industry do you know we have never ever bought a race dog? We have always bred our own pups or bought young pups which we always rear ourselves!” John said.
“I guess it all comes down to a bit of luck. My wife Brenda chooses the pups at about 12 weeks and lately she has done a great job – with the success of Surf A Coin, Boss Coin and now On Coin” John said. Brenda is responsible for the success also, it's a real team effort as she is responsible for the pups and their journey to the race track. John's daughter Ashleigh still lives at home and she helps out with feeding the dogs when race preparations means John can't.
John hopes to have a dog capable of racing in the big events on the east coast. With On Coin and Boss Coin it's more than likely John will make the trip soon. “I was born on the Isle of Man and my parents had a farm there called Balla Coin – we raced a dog called Balla Coin but with a name Balla everyone thought he was a she. The Coin name stuck though.” John said.
Last week was the first time John had trained a treble. “Three starters for three winners at Cannington. I have 6 racing kennels at home so normally I only have the one or two racing on a race night. It's very rare for me to take three. It was a great result and I am just wrapped in the whole thing!” John said. The Crossley's train from their 1 acre block at Southern River. Since retiring two years ago John has been able to put more effort into the dogs. “I enjoyed my 50 years in construction – but I'm enjoying this more.” he said.
The continued success of West On Lee looks to continue as she has just whelped a seven pup litter to Nitro Burst. Asked if any would be sold, John laughed “no.”
Sandi's Me Mum Memorial Box Draw
Race 5 – 8.32pm local time
Box 1 – Celtic Coin ……………………….J. Crossley
Box 2 – On Coin …………………………….J. Crossley
Box 3 – Coloccini …………………………..J. Marsh
Box 4 – Need a Seatbelt ……………….. B. McPherson
Box 5 – Vocal Enforcer …………………. A. McLaren
Box 6 – Freeway Angel …………………. K. Harding
Box 7 – Sharon Monelli …………………. D. Hobby
Box 8 – Kentucky Black ………………… M. Julien
Box 9 – Child's Fable ……………………. M. Julien
Box 10 – Ritchie Rich ……………………. D. Hobby
Selections – 1st On Coin (special), 2nd Celtic Coin, 3rd Vocal Enforcer
PAW NOTE – The Crossley's current racing kennel
- Boss Coin (Surf Lorian – Cheryl's Lass) August 2010 — 25 starts 16 – 2 – 1 * FFA performer and $58,000 plus in prizemoney – won 9 of last 10 starts.
- On Coin (Primo Uno – West On Lee) June 2011 — 10 starts 7-1-1 *Third fastest ever at Cannington $22,000 prizemoney
- Celtic Coin (Primo Uno – West On Lee) June 2011 — 10 starts 5-1-2 *$15,000 in prizemoney
- Gypsy Lee Coin (Primo Uno – West On Lee) June 2011 — 5 starts 0-2-1W