Wheeler Passing Sends Shockwaves Abroad

The sudden passing of Australian greyhound racing industry icon Paul Wheeler sent shockwaves throughout the New Zealand greyhound code.

Peter Fenemor

20 October 2021

The sudden passing of Australian greyhound racing industry icon Paul Wheeler sent shockwaves throughout the New Zealand greyhound code.

The Wheeler family dynasty has had a profound impact on greyhound racing over many decades in the Shaky Isles.

The recently deceased legendary Kiwi trainer Ray Adcock had acknowledged Paul Wheeler’s positive influence when he embarked on his outstanding mentoring career many years ago.

Adcock, in tandem with John McInerney, raced the outstanding bitch Cecilia Bale, the winner of 61 of her 87 races during the 1990’s prior to going on to be an outstanding producer.

Lisa Cole’s husband Brendon keenly sought out and freely received breeding advice from the astute breeder when he started down the road of his hugely successful breeding operation.

However, it was Canterbury trainer Craig Roberts who has been the biggest benefactor from the prolific Wheeler family operation on the other side of the ditch.

“Unbelievable – stunned. The loss of Paul will be felt here for years to come. Personally Paul is the reason where I am today,” commented Roberts. 

Dyna Vikkers

“I was introduced to Paul in the mid-1990s when visiting him, buying three greyhounds at the time. I had great success with them and continued buying from him.

“Paul changed from being a seller in the earlier years to being an owner and when he started doing that, I asked him to send dogs over to New Zealand.

“From there I built a fantastic rapport with him. He initially sent over dogs who were ‘soft’ break ins or had reached their level over there (Australia), then recognizing our finish-on lure system he sent over, shall we say, some naughty dogs. Yes, I did a lot of work with them – they thrived over here.”

Group 1 winners freely flowed with the likes of Denzil Bale, Gatlin Bale, Gordon Bale, Gilbert Bale and more recently outstanding greyhounds like Dyna Vikkers and Dyna Weslyn followed by Dirk Bale, Allen Ablett and Avenger Bale. 

November 2015 saw Roberts mentor Dyna Vikkers to victory in New Zealand’s richest greyhound race, the $100,000 New Zealand Cup, while a week later Angela Daily trained litter brother Dyna Double One to his powerful win in the $600,000 Melbourne Cup. 

It was a unique Paul Wheeler breeding and owning trans-Tasman Cups winning double for the Barcia Bale and Crystin Bale siblings.

“It doesn’t get any better than this for us – to win the major Group 1 races on both sides of the Tasman with litter brothers within a week is unbelievable,” stated Wheeler at the time.

“Paul once said to me – ‘I do the breeding – you do the training, I won’t interfere with your training.’ He never did!” recalled Roberts.

“He was always an accommodating and approachable man. Paul is a massive loss for the Australasian racing industry. It was a huge privilege for myself to train for him, Jan and Brendan.

“His legacy will continue on in New Zealand for years to come via his bitch lines and stud dogs,” added Roberts.