Dog days for trainer Boon
Comparing greyhound training to managing a football team seems a million miles apart, but try telling that to Kevin Boon.
Former King’s Lynn Town manager Boon switched his attentions from the two-legged sport to four-legged athletes five years ago and it has paid handsome dividends.
After leaving the Linnets in 2011, greyhound racing gave Boon new direction and a new love.
But Boon still sees many similarities between the two sports.
Boon said: “Whatever I’ve done in life, whether its the football or greyhounds, I’ve always tried to win.
“Greyhound racing is very much the same as football. You get out of it what you put in.
“The sport gave me an opportunity to do something I wanted to do other than football but socially there is no difference.
“You get to meet lots of different people and that’s something I always enjoyed when I was at Lynn.
“You can only go forward with what you’ve got. It’s exactly the same in football but you also need to have a good pedigree of people around you.”
Last Saturday, Murrys Act – the youngest animal in the field – became the first dog to try to win the Juvenile Championship and the Greyhound Derby.
The final six had been narrowed down from an original starting field of 194 runners, and although his charge didn’t win (finishing fourth) Boon was delighted with his display in the £175,000 showpiece race.
“It was very nerve-wracking for me but something I will never forget,” admitted Boon, whose finalist has now been selected to run in the Dundalk International race on Wednesday.
“Parading your dog in front of 6,000 spectators at the new home of the derby was incredible.
“I went there to win but I was happy to accept wherever the dog finished because just reaching the Greyhound Derby final after five years as a trainer was an incredible achievement.
“There have been people who have been training for 30 or 40 years who haven’t got to the Derby so I was very proud.”
Boon has been training dogs at his Wormegay home since 2012 and was first put on the road to glory after Star Cash Simon won the Essex Vase in the same year.
He gives his dogs the best of everything – and the husbandry of any racing greyhound is key.
But he is lucky enough to have kennel handler Katherine Tighe in his camp.
“I am a professional trainer but I do it as a sporting hobby. I couldn’t have anyone better supporting me than Katherine,” said Boon.
“It just wouldn’t work if she didn’t work as hard as she does.
“She looks after the kitchen side and the dog’s themselves. Feeding them, keeping them clean and keeping them warm in the winter is crucial.
“I’m very proud of everything she has done.”
Boon purchased Murrys Act, one of 12 dogs which he currently trains, at 12 weeks and he was schooled by Pam and Ray Cross at Beeston near Dereham.
“They have been a fantastic help to me over the years and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me,” he added.
Despite swapping the world of football for greyhounds, Boon still has fond memories of his time with the Linnets.
“I had some great years there and, who knows, one day I might go back. It is a fantastic club with many loyal supporters.
“I’d love to see the club do well. I hope the town will get fully behind manager Ian Culverhouse and the chairman in everything they’re trying to achieve.”