Greyhound racing: Craiks in sublime form in Manukau


You Ready Boots, Portland Blonde and Portland Wonder provided Tracey and Lisa Craik with a trifecta last Sunday at Manukau Stadium. Photo provided by Auckland Greyhound Racing Club.

When in doubt support the Craiks at Manukau Stadium.

Over the past four weeks, Tracey and Lisa Craik have coached 22 winners from the 50 races held at Manukau Stadium.

“I didn’t realize that,” said Lisa Craik. “That’s pretty awesome!”

Last Sunday alone, they coached six winners of the program, a feat that is becoming increasingly common for the sisters.

“It was so exciting for us,” enthuses Craik. “We set a weekly goal and when we reach it, we get a treat day.

“If we get three winners at a meeting, we go out to dinner that night. Getting a win is hard, two winners is really good, three winners is really great for the day and everything after that is ‘wow’!

“There’s been a few dinners lately! We go to our local in Drury and sit there and enjoy the moment. From season to season your team changes and you can go from a phenomenal run to a slower run, so you have to savor those moments when you get them.”

Lisa and Tracey are the daughters of former prominent greyhound trainer Ben Craik and they officially took over the family training business two years ago.

“We get along very well – we live and work together. It makes us sound like old maids,” laughs Lisa Craik.

“In any training partnership there will be disagreements about where a dog should line up next, whether they are underperforming, but we tend to give and take. Sometimes I will win the debate, sometimes she will.

“We both have our delegated jobs and we know what our strengths are and we definitely leverage that.”

The couple currently have 47 greyhounds at home including puppies, breeding dogs and racing dogs. Three of them are pets who have earned their coveted spot on the couch.

“Simple And Plain, Katcha Fire, and Portland Berty are our current pets, and Just One Smile is up next.

“When we have a successful breeding bitch that we raise multiple litters from, she becomes a pet. A breeding bitch is everything for us. They gave us the offspring to be successful and we really want to take care of them.”

The Craiks currently sit sixth in the Premiership for national team coaching with 111 wins so far this season and an enviable batting average of .3399. While they have placed in group races since the beginning of their training partnership, a group race win has so far eluded them.

“Every coach dreams of winning group races, but that’s difficult to achieve,” explains Craik.

“We compete at the highest level but for the size of our team it can be difficult to compete against some of the bigger kennels. We’re proud every time we make it to the final of a group race.

“With the wins we’ve had lately, it feels like we’re winning a group race. We are truly blessed that the sport has come this far. If you run your business the right way, you can really start making a living from it.”

About Clayton Arredondo

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