A lifelong passion for greyhound racing has Vickie Nolan well prepared as she begins her new role on the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club committee.
Nolan grew up with greyhound racing. Her parents, John and Mary Cohen, trained a team of greyhounds at their family home and Vickie and her twin sister were an important part of the team from a young age.
“We grew up on acreage in Rye and was always helping mum and dad train them. We used to walk them before school and after school, and used to help with everything from trialing, racing, feeding, grooming – everything really,” she said.
“Back when we were growing up, it was very much a sport for hobbyists and families. We used spend afternoons with family and friends coursing down at Lang Lang, it was a great social event and a lot of fun.
“We used to go to Sandown, Cranbourne and Olympic Park a lot too. I remember coming to Sandown Park in the days when the old 44 gallon drums were down below, and we’d be waiting for dad to drive us home. We’d be there with a can of raspberry soft drink and packet of chips. I have some fantastic memories from those days.”
Nolan became a member at Sandown a little over 5 years ago and in that time increased her involvement in the club. She’s a member of the all-female ‘Shades of’ syndicate which races a number of greyhounds prepared by lady trainers, and has been an enthusiastic supporter of a number of the club’s major events. The opportunity to share her passion for the sport and to introduce new people to the sport via ownership was a major motivating factor in deciding to join the Board.
“My sister owned a dog called Disco Gambler. He was the runt of the litter and no one wanted him so my sister bought him with a guy from the footy club. He won over every distance, had a lot of success with him. We had a lot of good times with him because all the guys at the Rye footy club used to come up to Sandown to bet him. There were lots of winning photos plastered over mum and dad’s garage with all of us, everyone would just jump in the photo and there’d be about 20 people behind the dog. That’s an area I’m really keen to help grow, to get more syndicates and families involved.
“Greyhound racing has been such a big part of my life, to be able to help create advocates for the sport and grow the popularity of greyhound racing is a fantastic opportunity.”
Nolan fills the casual vacancy created by long-serving Chairman Geoff Dawson’s retirement last December, and is the first female board member in the club’s 62 year history. She is married to Craig and has a retired greyhound Ruby.