By Neil Brown
Vic Peters stands out as one of the most significant administrators in the history of Australian Greyhound Racing. More than any figure in our history, Vic Peters can be considered the founding father of the Owner, Trainer and Breeder movement.
Vic Peters became involved in greyhound racing in the 1930’s in NSW. At the time, greyhound racing was administered under a complex set of arrangements whereby Metropolitan greyhound racing was partly conducted by the NSW Trotting Club, greyhound racing participants were registered by the Trotting Club and yet the NSW National Coursing Association registered sires, litters and the naming of greyhounds.
Recognising the need for change, Vic Peters determined that this would be best achieved by organising average owners, trainers and breeders into a united, single voice. In 1937, he travelled the length and breadth of NSW and by 1939, a non-proprietary body known as the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners & Trainers Association was formed.
The Association, under Vic Peters took up the cause of participants who clearly wanted a greater say in their own destiny. Peters formed strong political relationships, including a personal relationship with the then Premier, Jim McGirr, all of which helped the NSW GBOTA being granted a Metropolitan racing licence and the formation of the NSW Greyhound Racing Control Board in 1949, a seven person board which included two representatives of the NSW GBOTA, Vic Peters and Schute Saxon who represented the participants.
Vic Peters on the right at a presentation at Harold Park
Peters was to serve as the Secretary of the NSW GBOTA from formation until his death in 1961. He was to see the NSW GBOTA develop a number of racing operations and cement its position as a representative group of grass roots participants. He also encouraged national development of greyhound racing as a prominent force behind the formation of the Commonwealth Greyhound Racing Association, the forerunner to today’s Australian Greyhound Racing Association.
Vic Peters was the first NSW administrator to have a race named after him. The event, initially known as the Annual Classic, became the Vic Peters Memorial Classic in 1962.
The race was won in that year by the immortal Black Top and continues to be staged as a Group 1 annual feature to this day.
Throughout Australia today, the management of greyhound racing continues to be enhanced by contributions that are made by various groups representing Breeders, Owners and Trainers. Their origins and their success can be traced to the fortitude, foresight and organisational skills of Victor Nicholas Peters.
GBOTA CEO presents long time GBOTA President Bill Mangafas with Vic Peters induction award.
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