By Isaac Murphy
Four years ago Warren Nicholls decided to chase his passion for greyhounds.
He packed up the family home at Sorrento on the Gold Coast and, with the blessing of his wife, purchased a property at Churchable, which has blossomed into one of Queensland’s most promising young kennels.
Nicholls always had a strong connection with the greyhound industry.
Originally from Sydney, it was at VIP Kennels where he formed his love for the dogs.
Nicholls eventually settled on the Gold Coast with wife Tracy, where they put their children through school, but a full-time training career was never far from his mind.
“Before we bought the property we only had a couple of dogs with other trainers while our kids were in high school,” Nicholls said.
“But buying a property and trainer full time was always our goal.”
Nicholls said the operation was far from an instant success, as he had to go out and buy dogs to breed while he built his name as a trainer.
“Not knowing anyone to train for when we first bought the property meant we had to invest a fair bit of time and money in getting out there buying and breeding ourselves,” he said.
The Nicholls' breeding diligence is starting to pay off with a Kinloch Brae x Titan Ash litter producing three ripping young greyhounds; brothers Broken Loose and Race Reward and their sister Common Ground, have all won races at just 17 months old.
“We bred them, whelped them, broke them in ourselves, so it’s always a little bit more special when you put in effort in,” Nicholls said.
“I’ve never had a litter that’s matured and been to the races so early.
“They were pretty easily broken in, the box manners came pretty natural, but in saying that everything we really taught them they picked up on pretty quickly.”
Broken Loose knocked over his Novice last week with an all-the-way win from Box 1 and Nicholls believes the step-up to Grade 5 company on Thursday night is not beyond him.
“I think there’s improvement in him, whether we see that this week our a few weeks down the track remains to be seen,” he said.
“Box seven suits him perfectly, he tends to like to take a little step right before he gets going, so if he can motor early again he’ll have a bit of the track to use.
“It’s a rare thing to find a dog that so far has consistently bounced like him, he’s either out three lengths in front or if he slightly misses it he has the ability to recover and still run a race.”
Nicholls said he could see a big future for all three of his chasers and would use the coming weeks to strengthen his young brigade for a run at some interstate features next year.
“I’ve got some age races in mind mostly next year, so over the next month or so I’ll be looking to really strengthen the dogs up and get them used to running out that 520m,” he said.
“You’ve got the Futurity in January in Sydney, so if we could get them there in good order that would be ideal.”
Asked to split his star trio Nicholls said Common Ground had her brother's measure.
“She’s got her brothers covered at the moment,” he said.
She ran 30.29 in her win on Monday night over the 520 and she trialled 22.52 over the 395m boxes which is flying.”
“There has been plenty of hard work, so it’s certainly nice to start to reap the rewards which hopefully carry on into the next 12 months to two years, giving us a chance to really grow our operation.”