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Barbara Perry’s gift to greyhounds

A very generous $45,430 bequest has been left to the Greyhound Adoption Program by a former Gippsland greyhound trainer, the late Barbara Perry.

Barbara’s son Paul contacted GAP to let us know about the gift from his mother, who passed away last year.

The gift has been gratefully received by the GAP team which is currently considering the best way to use it to benefit greyhounds while commemorating Barbara’s generosity and devotion to dogs.

GAP manager, Larissa Darragh, said options include constructing an enrichment yard at GAP’s centre in Seymour to help prepare dogs for re-homing, building a test yard at a metropolitan racing club to make GAP more accessible to participants or a large trailer to transport the dogs to adoption days and GAP’s centre at Baxter.

“From what Paul has told us about Barbara, I know that she would want us to do something that directly benefits greyhound welfare and their chance to have a good life when they finish racing. We feel honoured to have received this gift, and we would like to thank Barbara’s family for their support and kind wishes.”

Paul says he has good memories of growing up with Barbara’s greyhounds.

“Besides training and racing greyhounds she had many as family pets once their racing careers had come to an end,” Paul said.

“Mum always loved dogs, she had dachshunds, Scottish terriers and Afghans as family pets.

“Greyhounds gave my mother, her partner and myself many great memories and we were fortunate enough to see what beautiful-natured animals they are,” he said.

Barbara trained and raced greyhounds through the 70s and 80s. She found success with one dog in particular, her champion stayer Tammy Shanta who broke track records in the early 70s, won the 1975 Sandown Cup and was a Greyhound of the Year finalist in 1974. In all she clocked up 23 wins from 55 starts, 10 seconds and five thirds. She won nine at Olympic Park (732m) and nine at Sandown (718m).

One report referred to the greyhound as the “current pin-up girl with punters” when she was lining up to win her fifth consecutive race at Sandown Park. The article mentions the stayer’s devastating and brilliant form, but notes that punters were inclined to regard her earlier starts at Sandown as a fluke, but she proved them wrong when she came home from a seemingly hopeless position to take first place.

Barbara’s success as a trainer was no fluke either. She experimented with different training formulas before she discovered the right one to bring out the best in Tammy Shanta.

Barbara and her husband Bill bought land in Longwarry in the mid-1970s to establish a training and breeding complex, which they ran for the next 14 years before retiring. Bill passed away in 2010 and Barbara eventually moved to Warragul.

Barbara was diagnosed with brain cancer last year and spent the remaining three months of her life moving between hospital and a nursing home, but greyhounds were never far from her mind.  In fact, one of her last outings was to the greyhound races in Warragul.

Memories have faded since the 1970s but there are still people in the Warragul racing community who remember Barbara; now she will be remembered for her generous gift to GAP and greyhounds.