By Neil Brown
Stan Cleverley enjoyed over 70 Years involved in the Greyhound industry and was a greyhound Trainer who had no peer, at his top was acknowledged as the best in the country.
A Legendary figure he divided his time almost equally in both Victorian and New South Wales. Stan Cleverley will never be forgotten by anyone from his generation, his story is fascinating and one which highlights just what greyhound racing was like in an era where the punt ruled the day. It was a time when setting up a winner was a skill all of its own and vital for survival.
A measure of Cleverley’s success in one year 1969, when he won the NSW “Trainer Of The Year”. His dogs won $51,925 in prizemoney from only 20 race wins on Sydney’s two metropolitan tracks as against 31 wins by Hec Watt. But in terms of prizemoney, the fairest guide to real success, Cleverley was Australia’s number one conditioner. Cleverley’s feature wins that year, included the Hobart Thousand, Australian Cup, Melbourne Cup, Harold Park Classic, Summer Cup, White City Trophy, Farrell’s Championship and the Daphne Smith Memorial Classic. With due respect, the master trainer in that period had arguably the best three greyhounds racing in the country at the time. Milimsimbi, Benjamin John, and Bunyip Bint.
Stan Cleverley had been a racing fanatic ever since his school days. At the age of 12, he took up racing pigeons and even at that young age, showed his ability as a conditioner, for he had quite a good deal of success despite the fact that he was competing against pigeon fanciers many years his senior. Stan held fond memories of the first pigeon to win a race for him, a bird called “The Little Wonder”. Later he switched from pigeon racing to whippet racing and in the early twenties raced whippets with the Whippet Club of Victoria on a track at Flemington Bridge.
At 19 he took up professional running and competed quite successfully until he gave it away at 24. He achieved his fair amount of success considering he was so big. His weight was never less than 94 kilograms.
He started on the coursing fields in the late 1920’s and enjoyed great success winning classics with champions Glen Elvy. Observandy, Molly’s Watch and Gypsy Point. Moving on to race at the non-properity tracks with stars the caliber of Don’s Hope, Innesfall and Vertex.
At the outbreak of World War 2, he served his country in the Middle East. On his return he easily took up where he left off and in 1949 he paid $1,400 for a mighty bitch called Pearleen she turned into a great champion for him. his winners just kept coming Handsome Choice Bayer, Hillcreast In the 70’s stan was asked to name his best They included Yawl, Rocky Ros, Montana Jet, Satchmo, Good Reyenue, Sabre Hawk, Danny Dan, Portland Bay, Susie’s Dream, Teledex, Significant, Good Leather, Bayer, Vertex, Rookie Rebel, Speedy Jet, Lucky Bingo, Rocket Jet, Sharid, Rockleen, Pearleen, Ace Angel and Hansome’s Choice, and of course the three we have already mentioned. When pushed to name his best two he declared Lucky Bingo, just ahead of Rocket Jet.
Stan leaving by Boat for the Hobart 1000
Stan great friend Les Merry told he was a was a fearless punter who won and lost a fortune in one particular night at Harold Park in December 1954 he won $24,000 after plunging Rockleen and Speedy Jet to both win on the same night.
He was the first to set up the big complexes. Cheltenham Park in Victoria and the magnificent Minto complex near Campbelltown in NSW it consisted of a circular grass track, a big oval shaped loam track and a gruelling uphill straight track.
He was always happy to give advice to newcomers and passed on his knowledge to many. Stan continued to train well into the later years of life and passed away on October 31st 2001 at the fantastic age of 92. Stan eldest daughter told the greatest complement she ever heard paid to her father. A colleague once said if reincarnation existed they would like to come back as a greyhound trained by Stan Cleverley such was his love and attention to the animal. His dogs always looked immaculate. One of the all-time greats George Stanley Cleverley.
Stan as he was most of the time in overalls
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