By Mike Hill
BARRY Kitchener ended 2019 on a high after leading in his first Group winner as a trainer.
At 37 and one of the younger trainers in south-east Queensland, he experienced the thrill of Group glory when talented sprinter Zipping Cosmo gallantly won the $40,000-to-the-winner Bogie Leigh Queensland Futurity (520m) at Albion Park in early December.
“It was a sensational feeling,” said Kitchener, who we feature in this month’s The Trainer column.
He’s been training since 2006 although greyhounds were part of his early life.
“My father trained dogs in the 80s and I grew up around them,” said Kitchener, who has eight dogs in work at his one-and-a-half acre operation at Laidley Heights.
“I’ve always had an interest in the sport.”
He said he spent six months helping top trainer Tony Brett at his Grandchester operation in 2005 before applying for his licence.
“It was a great learning experience for me,” Kitchener said.
“Tony is very open minded and willing to help anyone wanting to get into the sport.
“The big thing I learnt from Tony was the importance of a sound routine and diet for the dogs.”
A baker by trade, Kitchener and his wife Juliet have owned and operated three bakeries and two cafes over the years.
He said they had sold the last business 12 months ago and he was now putting everything into his greyhounds.
“I am committed to the dogs,” the trainer said.
Zipping Cosmo (My Bro Fabio-Zipping Meg), a product of leading NSW breeder Marty Hallinan, is owned by the Pound Lika Hound syndicate headed by Blair Guthrie and is the most improved chaser in the Kitchener kennels.
The sprinter was purchased from Londonderry-based trainer Michelle Sultana.
“She has continually shown progress since joining the team in mid-2019,” Kitchener said.
“And she’s really improved in recent months.”
Leading up to her Futurity success Zipping Cosmo won the $26,250 RQ Young Guns at Albion Park and was runner-up in both the Ipswich TAB Futurity final and the Ipswich Cup Consolation.
She finished the year with the impressive record of nine wins and 14 placings from 35 starts with prizemoney totalling $94,910.
Kitchener said the black bitch was having a few weeks off to recover from a hip support problem.
“It’s been a niggling issue in her last five or so starts,” the trainer said.
He is hoping to have the talented sprinter right in time for a possible crack at the G2 Richmond Oaks later this month.
While Zipping Cosmo gave Kitchener his first Group winner as a trainer, the super smart Zabdon Ferrari handed him his first Group success as an owner in 2016.
The black dog (Magic Sprite-Awesome Knocka), under the guidance of Tony Brett, set a new track record of 28.33s – that still stands – in storming to victory in the G3 Townsville Cup over 498m.
Zabdon Ferrari retired in early 2018 with a career record of 19 wins and 19 placings from 53 starts and $146,981 in prizemoney.
“He’s the best dog I’ve had,” said Kitchener. “I bred and reared him and broke him in.
“In fact, the whole litter was very good.
“I breed all my own dogs.”
1: How and when did you get involved in greyhound racing?
A: At the early age of 12 helping my dad, Peter Ward and Bazal McCrae
2: Who has been the greatest influence on you as a trainer?
A: Tony Brett and an old friend I have known for many years.
3: At what age do you start preparing a pup for racing?
A: I start to educate them when they are nine to 10 months old.
4: How long does it take to prepare a pup for its first race?
A: It depends on the individual dog, normally six to eight weeks.
5: What makes a good pup?
A: Good rearing, great education and a good brood bitch.
6: Do you do anything special when preparing a young dog for its maiden compared to a seasoned performer?
A: For a young dog just putting ks (kilometres) on its legs.
7: Do you have a set routine for all your greyhounds or do you vary training for individual runners?
A: I train to suit the individual dog.
8: Do you have any unique or unusual methods you would like to share in regard to training?
A: I like to let my dogs be dogs, playing, digging, running. I don’t try to change them into something they’re not.
9: Do you swim your dogs as part of your training regime?
10: How frequently do you like to race your dogs?
A: It depends on the dog, one-to-two times a week.
11: What’s your training routine for dogs between races?
A: Use of the walking machine, swimming and trialling.
12: Do you do all muscle work on your dogs or do you use a professional muscle man?
A: I do my own.
13: Do you do treat all injuries to your dogs yourself?
14: Which is the best greyhound you have trained?
A: Zipping Cosmo – has great ability, Bogie Teejay and Fearless Duk.
15: What do you consider is the best greyhound track in Australia and why?
A: Albion Park.
16: What does the industry need most going forward?
A: For council to get on board with Racing Queensland and encourage newcomers as small-time hobby trainers, to allow greyhounds in suburbia with the right training facilities.
17: What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out as a trainer?
A: Surround yourself with highly knowledgeable greyhound trainers and have patience.