Dubbo's emergence as one of the top greyhound racing districts in NSW - and the country - has been stunning over recent years, especially with feature races such as the $125,000 Country Classic and Brother Fox putting the club on a global map.
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But it's the traditional feature events named after local icons who were keys to laying foundations for Dubbo's newly cemented premier position in the state's booming greyhound landscape that are still at the top of the list for homegrown trainers.
"The Bill and Peg Miller Memorial, the Lesley Ann Leonard and Les Leonard Memorials last weekend, and the Bryan Maxwell Memorial which comes up in a few weeks. They are all the ones everyone really wants to win," said Dubbo club president and prominent owner-trainer Shayne Stiff.
"Yes we have the Brother Fox and the Country Classic and the stature of those races is growing not just in Dubbo but in NSW and Australia, but locals want to win these races more than anything," he continued.
"It really means something to the locals because we knew these people we are honouring."
The Bill and Peg Miller Memorial honours the couple who were icons of the industry in the region, and whose legacy in greyhound racing lives on through their families.
The Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial is also one of the most prestigious events run at Dawson Park and has been run since 1988, created to honour the memory of club stalwart Les Leonard's daughter Lesley Ann, who tragically passed away in a motor accident at just 17 years of age back in 1987.
"Bryan Maxwell was not only a club stalwart, but he was also a gun shearer in the district and as anyone will tell you, he was instrumental in this club being born back in the 1970s," Stiff said of the former club president who passed away in 2018.
"He loved young pups running 500m and was always promoting 500m maidens, so this year his race is for 0-2 win dogs over the 516m with heats on November 18 and the $10,000 final on November 25.
"I'll be honest, Bryan set a great footprint for the club and it wouldn't be where it is today without him.
"He made it a family club and got the community involved. He laid a platform.
"He was always big on trying to get us to weekend racing, especially Saturday night.
"We are a country club and rural community and we only had non-TAB racing, but we have just continued to grow and last Saturday not only did we have more than 200 paying customers through the gate, but we held $2.5 million in wagering.
"Bryan would be so proud of that.
"Apart from being president here from 2003 to 2009, he was a foundation member of the Dubbo club, and his work, along with that of people like Molly Graham and Les Dawson, was instrumental in the club being formed back in 1971."
Stiff said he knows of a number of local trainers who have made it clear they are targeting the Bryan Maxwell Memorial.
"I know Wes McDonald has got a couple and so too does Scott Board.
"Charmaine [Roberts, his partner] and I would love to win it," Stiff said.
"We were lucky enough to win the Bryan Maxwell back in 2019 with Don't Mind Me and again in 2021 with Ruby Keeping."
This article was produced as part of an ACM partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW.
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