Ahead of this year’s Group 1 Golden Easter Egg, a voice began to grow in Premier Queensland manager Tony Brett’s head.
After more than two decades of chasing the sport’s most valuable races across the country – with immense success and a whopping 20 Group 1 winners – Brett was out of breath.
“Earlier this year, as we prepared orchestration for the Golden Easter Egg in Sydney, I started to think about what the future would hold,” said Brett.
“The idea of going to Sydney for the trial and then the prospect of doing it three more times for the Easter Egg series really weighed me down and felt like a chore.
“When you have a good dog like Orchestrate and you’re trying to win a big race like the Easter Egg, you should be excited, but I just didn’t feel it.
“That was the moment I knew things had to change and since then we’ve talked about retiring.”
The wheels of change are in full swing for Brett as he and his wife Fleur spawned their massive Grandchester operation producing champions from the likes of Bogie Leigh, Quidame, Glen Gallon, Thirty Talks, Black Enforcer, Queen Lauryn and today has significantly reduced star orchestrate.
The big move comes after a spectacular Winter Carnival where Queensland’s premier kennel took on practically everything through the acts of stars Orchestrate, Bedrock Fred, Collinda Patty and Equalizer.
“We’ve now gone down from 20 to 10 dogs with a plan to cut that back in half and we’re going to stick with that,” Brett said.
“The owners were very understanding and it’s not easy to say no to good young dogs but it really got to the point where if not now then when?
She’s A Pearl will jump into box 5 tomorrow @ladbrokescomau #Golden Easter Eggand the #Flashback Friday Going back a few years to 2004, great QLD pursuer Bogie Leigh also jumped out of Box 5 – and led all the way to victory!
— The Dogs (@Thedogs_com_au) April 8, 2022
“Financially, the Winter Carnival has made the decision a little easier for us and while it’s not forever, this time gives us a chance to start over and recharge our batteries.
“I’m not sure what the future holds, we’re by no means retiring or leaving, just taking a step back to enjoy the things in life that you can’t enjoy by being out and about with all the time a kennel full of dogs.”
With the responsibility of 20-30 greyhounds in their rearview mirror, the Brett family will fly to Bali on holiday on Wednesday before planning a big trip abroad next year.
“Any trainer will tell you that caring for 5-10 dogs compared to 20-30 is completely different and I would say we’re going to stick with that for now,” Brett said.
“Before (Dave Brett) Dad died of cancer, he really taught me that greyhounds aren’t everything in life, and of all the things he taught me, that’s something that really stuck with me.
Glen Gallon aka Mac relaxing in his kennel ready for his big race on Saturday!! pic.twitter.com/wmYNyzQI
— Sarah Johnson (@sarahjohnson_3) February 15, 2012
“Dogs have given us everything and a fantastic life, but the time was right to step back a little. But that doesn’t mean it’s forever.”
Like all Queensland passionate greyhound participants, Brett is eagerly awaiting government approval for the development of the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Center of Excellence in Purga.
“I’m confident it will happen, but it would be just great to get the green light from the government and see things progress,” Brett said.
“If that happens I can imagine Queensland becoming a real destination for coaches across the country.
“Having a facility that offers two, one and straight corner races within 40 minutes of the greyhound heartland will be tremendous for the industry and definitely worth the wait.
“When you add that with the weather and the lifestyle and the way the industry is pushing prize money here, I can see things going to another level again.
“I know for myself that it will be a huge boost. Whether we have five dogs or go back to where we were before.”