Friday, 02 June 2023 09:45

Greyhound racing legends honored at Shepparton Club's annual awards night

When Tracey Forthergill met her husband, Michael, little did she know she was signing up for more than one
lifelong commitment.
The popular Shepparton greyhound racing club veteran, and mother of four, was introduced to her beloved sport
when she met Michael, and he took her along to the races with his family.
That was in 1991. Last Saturday night, after 30-plus years in the sport, Tracey was inducted as a Lifetime Member of
the Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club, as part of its ninth annual awards night.
As a member of the club committee for nine years in the 90s and early 2000s, Tracey was a sleeves-volunteer,
working across almost every facet of the original racetrack at Shepparton Showground.
In 2014 - after taking a spell from committee life to work and raise her four children, the youngest of whom is now
26 – she was invited to rejoin the committee. She then took on president duties in 2016. It is role she holds to this
“This is a real honour to be recognised,” Tracey said.
Joining her as a Life Member inductee at Saturday night’s awards, was much-loved stalwart Vic Dohnt.
Vic and his wife Joan have been revered in the greyhound racing community for 50 years; their first dog, the aptly
named Vic’s dream, winning the first race run at the original Shepparton Greyhound track at the showgrounds in
Vic and Jo were instrumental in getting the original track up and running, doing the hard yards over three to four
years to get the track up to scratch for racing.
Since then, the couple – with their two sons and daughter in tow – have raced their dogs from the Gabba in
Queensland to the most iconic clubs throughout country Victoria. The only club their racing failed to yield a win was
Tweed Heads. But even that was a night to remember, and it’s the good times the sport gave them that he
remembers best.
“This is not at all something I was expecting,” Vic said.
“It was a very great honour to have been inducted as a life member – and that the racing club of today would
remember us from all those years ago - and it brought back so many great memories.
“We were all great mates; there was a lot of competition, but we were all mates.”
Sharing the night with some of those mates, as well as a table of family, Vic and Jo relished the chance to relive the
good old days and marvel at the sport of today.
It’s people like Vic and Tracey that motivated Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club manager Carl McGrath to reintroduce
the annual awards nine years ago.
A stalwart of the sport, having first become involved as a 16 year-old, some “40-odd years ago”, Carl took the helm
of the Shepparton club 10 years ago this week, and a year later, he introduced the awards.
“This club is all about the community – both the greyhound community and the wider local community,” McGrath
“We make a lot of donations to the community, especially local charities.
This year, the main beneficiary of the annual awards night is People Supporting People, an organisation which helps
provide key recovery services in times of fire, flood and other disasters in the Shepparton region.

This year’s award winners were:
- Greyhound of the Year- Mission Oasis trained by Aaron Debattista
Trainer of the Year Aaron Debattista
- Local trainer of the year Scott Stefanos
- Life Member Tracey Fothergill
- Life Member VIC Dohnt
- President's Award Tommy Stevens
- Fastest 385m Body Hack trained by Alfred Debattista
- Fastest 450m Mr. Audacious trained by Natalie Busuttil
- Fastest 650m Flaming Rush trained by Shane Drummond

Picture captions:
Picture 1 – Shepparton 2022 Greyhound of the Year Awards Night
Picture 2 – 2022 Greyhound of the Year MISSION OASIS trained by Aaron Debattista
Picture 3 – Comedian Evan Hocking with Special Guest Speaker Stevie Johnson
Picture 4 – Committee member Marien Sullivan presents trainer Shane Drummond with sash for fastest 650m run
for 2022 FLAMING RUSH with Host Simone Fisher
Picture 5 – Race Caller Matt Jones
Picture 6 – Special Guest Stevie Johnson with Host Simone Fisher
Picture 7 – Life Member inductee Vic Dohnt pictured with family
Picture 8 – President and Life Member Tracey Fothergill with Guest Speaker Stevie Johnson
Picture 9 – Life Member Inductee Vic Dohnt
Picture 10 – Tommy Stevens winner of the 2022 Presidents Award
Picture 11 – 2022 Trainer of the Year Aaron Debattista
Picture 12 - 2022 Trainer of the Year Aaron Debattista
Picture 13 – Manager Carl McGrath presents donation to Member of Shepparton Kim O’Keefe and Brett from People
Supporting People
Picture 14 – Local Trainer of the Year Scott Stefanos with Cassie Watson
Picture 15 – Host Simone Fisher with Special Guest Speaker Stevie Johnson
Picture 16 – Comedian Evan Hocking

Media contact:
Francesca Carter – 0438 562 729

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