Few greyhounds in the history of the sport have captured not only the imagination of the people within the game, but also the recognition of the general public at large. Such was the case with one of the sport's great champions, the Warrnambool “Warrior”, Bold Trease. He was loved Australian wide for his ability to drop out in his races, tail the field, then with less than a lap to go, pick off all his opponents one by one, storming home at a great rate of knots.
The champion stayer in a long five-year career won amazingly on fifty-one occasions. Among his many career highlights stands a record that most people doubt will ever be broken, a feat he will always be remembered for, his four Sandown Cups, it was the group one race he made his own. Here is the story behind a super star greyhound, Bold Trease.
The champ's litter by Roy Trease from Irish Temptress was whelped March 1984. It was Irish Temptress' fourth successful litter. An enigmatic chaser with loads of ability, she was trained throughout her career by legendary mentor, Ned Bryant, the ultimate breeder of Bold Trease. Irish Temptress had produced some excellent greyhounds from her previous three litters. Her first to Temlee contained Bridarlin, World Vision, Tashina Lad, Fairway Miss and Golden Tracey. Then to Tempix, she produced Jewelled Star and John Michael and to Shamrock Point, Handsome George and Sun City . Irish Temptress whelped six dogs, (all fawn), and three bitches, (all fawn), but only six were to race. Bold Trease's brothers, were named Mr. Pawnbroker, Black Dollar and Blazing Dollar, while his sisters raced as Jenna Wade and Lavish Lace, some were handy, but none anywhere near the class of Bold Trease. I asked Bold Trease's trainer, Norm McCullagh, how he picked out the champ as a pup, “I was up at Ned Bryant's getting my dogs checked when Bryant suggested I have a look at a couple of litters he had on the ground. One by Roy Trease, the other by Ballarat Prince, they were both ten weeks old. I liked Roy Trease as a sire, so I naturally went for them. I had first pick and for no apparent reason I picked Bold Trease. Lucky, I guess, but they all looked the same fawn dogs and bitches, it was no more than just pure luck.”
Bold Trease was raced in partnership by Jim Rule, Ron Hay and Alan McCullagh. I asked Norm McCullagh as he had purchased the pup from Ned, how that came about.
“The boys had raced four pups together, but unfortunately none turned out any good so to keep them interested I suggested they race the Roy Trease pup, who at that stage I thought would be OK. It certainly worked out pretty well, I reckon.”
Bold Trease was reared at the Warrnambool property of Norm McCullagh in that wonderful Warrnambool area where so many of our champion greyhounds have been bred and reared. I asked McCullagh about his rearing set up.
“Nothing special, we rear about six pups at a time in two, one hundred metre runs. With only having a few pups they get plenty of attention and heaps of good tucker. We also let them out twice a day into a five-acre galloping paddock. You've never seen a dog work harder than Bold Trease. He would just run all day, never blow a candle out. I knew very early on he would make a stayer. He would just run and run and run.”
Norm McCullagh also breaks in his own pups. He explains how easy the champ took to racing. “He broke in a treat, an absolute natural. Only had a couple of hand slips. Two attempts in the boxes and it took only about two-weeks before he was trailing like a veteran. He only had a handful of runs before he raced at seventeen months. He trailed 26 dead over 450 at Warrnambool, so we put him straight in and he won his maiden in 26.10. People probably didn't realise he could always sprint. He would break 26 easy at Warrnambool anytime. I would trial him there in lead up runs after a spell. One morning he ran 25.40. My mate that worked the clock that morning couldn't believe it. He had outstanding speed!”
I asked McCullagh, if there was anything special about the name Bold Trease?
“No, nothing special, it was just on our list of names sent to the board. We liked it as much as some of the others we sent in. His kennel name was a very simple, Roy ”.
McCullagh told me there were quite a number of offers for Bold Trease.
“After his first five starts we had a genuine offer of $80,000 from a prominent Victorian owner/trainer of that time. He had brought a number of dogs successfully prior to offering too buy Bold Trease. We also had several offers from Sydney in the early part of his career. I don't think we ever considered the offers, I don't think we would have sold him at any price.”
The champ made some amazing comebacks from serious injuries. Not one but two broken hocks, which on both occasions kept him out for four to five months. He also suffered a broken stopper bone and he tore off a toe, but like the warhorse that he portrayed, he came back to race successfully each time. McCullagh told me apart from his physical injuries, Bold Trease never got ill or sick and he would always race through adversity.
Norm told me his biggest thrills were also Bold Trease's best performances.
“His second Sandown Cup was a thrill. He was just so far back, I didn't think he could win, and to run down a dog as good as High Intensity in 43.59 was a great performance. Also to win The West End All Stars Classic at Angle Park was a top performance. But probably, the biggest thrill was that fourth Sandown Cup. I will never forget the crowd that night, it was fantastic. To think he could win it a fourth time was something else. It was a thrill to race a dog like Bold Trease. The public loved him; I remember I was at Sandown after one of his wins. I met a couple that had only come to see him race. They would come out only when he was in and leave straight after he raced. In Sydney , they had him playing with kids, he used to love the kids. They'd walk him and pat him, you
could take him anywhere and he'd be at home, a very relaxed dog.”