Life story

Life Story: Coach Ray Adcock Remembers New Zealand Greyhound Racing ‘Icon’

OBITUARY: Ray Adcock’s name is synonymous with greyhound racing.

Many in the industry see him as a master trainer. His dedication to the sport saw him honored as the first inductee into the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame.

Close friend Peter Fenemor said Adcock was an “icon of New Zealand greyhound racing” and “years ahead of his time”.

“He did the simple things well – he wouldn’t deviate. He was essentially what you might call an old-fashioned, very methodical coach.

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Fenemor said Adcock was a “down-to-earth type of person” with a “mean, dry sense of humor,” but at the same time, he was still a “gentleman” to everyone he met.

Despite Adcock’s many accolades and victories, he remained humble throughout his illustrious career, Fenemor said.

Adcock loved animals and carved out a remarkable career training many successful greyhounds over many years.

STACY SQUIRES / Tricks

Adcock loved animals and carved out a remarkable career training many successful greyhounds over many years.

Adcock died at home on September 10, aged 87.

The esteemed Greyhound trainer has carved out a remarkable career training numerous successful greyhounds over many years, earning legendary status among his peers.

He won his first coaching position in the 1983/84 season and was a finalist the following season, before securing 10 consecutive years of prime ministerial victories.

Adcock was the first greyhound trainer to win 100 races in one season, and he claimed his 1,000th victory with Mega Legend which raced at QEII in 1994.

Adcock's dedication to the sport saw him honored as the first inductee into the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame.

Vanessa Townsend / Supplied

Adcock’s dedication to the sport saw him honored as the first inductee into the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame.

“The milestone from that era was miraculous,” said daughter Vanessa Townsend.

His relentless dedication to his craft earned him the ultimate greyhound training honor in 2010, being the first human inducted into New Zealand’s Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame.

Stewart Taylor alongside Ray Adcock as he was recognized for his 1,000th victory at the former Christchurch QEII Circuit in 1994.

Vanessa Townsend / Supplied

Stewart Taylor alongside Ray Adcock as he was recognized for his 1,000th victory at the former Christchurch QEII Circuit in 1994.

A story in Press at the time, said Adcock was clearly overwhelmed as he approached the podium for a standing ovation.

“I guess you can’t do better than this,” Adcock said. “But at the end of the day, I’m just a humble dog trainer, who’s as good as any dogs you have in your backyard.”

Adcock was known to have explored a wide variety of literature on animal behavior, horse and greyhound training, and athlete training training methodology. He incorporated much of what he learned into training his greyhounds.

Ray Adcock performs medical exams on a greyhound at Bunny Lodge Veterinary Clinic.

Vanessa Townsend / Supplied

Ray Adcock performs medical exams on a greyhound at Bunny Lodge Veterinary Clinic.

“Ray has always taught us that reading, knowledge and learning are habits of life and that we should always strive to improve ourselves and our situations,” Townsend said.

Adcock hung up his collars and sinkers at the end of the 2019/2020 season.

Adcock was born to parents Harold and Faith Sangster in Christchurch on August 19, 1934. His sister Margaret followed five years later.

He started his schooling at Linwood Primary and ended up at Christchurch West High (now known as Hagley College).

Ray Adcock with Ring The Bell Greyhound after winning the NZ Stayers Cup at Addington Raceway in 2017.

Vanessa Townsend / Supplied

Ray Adcock with Ring The Bell Greyhound after winning the NZ Stayers Cup at Addington Raceway in 2017.

Townsend said that despite difficult times as a child, Adcock had fond memories of fishing for hours off New Brighton Pier, horseback riding on the beach and going to the movies on Saturdays. morning when he was a child.

At 17, Adcock left home to work at a stable in Auckland for horse trainer Jack Hughes.

There he obtained his probationary harness license and became the first rein to win a junior driver’s race in the North Island with the horse Heroism in 1953 at Alexander Park in Auckland.

Adcock with his daughter Vanessa Townsend.

Vanessa Townsend / Supplied

Adcock with his daughter Vanessa Townsend.

Adcock returned to the South Island after three years and began working with Cecil Devine and Jack Shaw where he obtained his license to train horses.

Shaw was associated with many top gallopers and trotters, and Adcock helped train two of his horses, Vodka and Guilliano, who both won between them five times.

The skillful Adcock also led Guilliano to a victory at Greymouth in 1959 with a handicap of 60 yards.

But Adcock realized early on that the races were not going to be profitable because they were too unpredictable.

Instead, he took on a job as a night watchman for the farmers, breaking out the horses in the morning, then spending the rest of the day helping a friend paint.

A year later he became a partner in the painting business and eventually became the business owner.

Ray Adcock loved dogs.  In picture with two German Shepherds;  Sandy and Kotuku.

Vanessa Townsend / Supplied

Ray Adcock loved dogs. In picture with two German Shepherds; Sandy and Kotuku.

In the late 1950s, Adcock bought property in Wigram, bought his first car, a 1936 Chevrolet, and his first German Shepherd named Sandy. He would later get another named Judy.

Adcock loved animals and later became an instructor and senior judge at the Canterbury Canine Obedience Club. Some of his finest experiences have been judging German Shepherds at competitions in Brisbane and Melbourne, Townsend said.

Adcock spent just over 10 years as president of the South Island German Shepherd League, earning him a lifetime membership.

He also became a life member of the Canterbury Kennel Association and the Canterbury Canine Obedience Club.

Ray Adcock and his kennel hand Jordan Bryce Ring The Bell to Jordan after winning the NZ Stayers Cup in 2017.

PETER FENEMOR / Tips

Ray Adcock and his kennel hand Jordan Bryce Ring The Bell to Jordan after winning the NZ Stayers Cup in 2017.

In March 1967, Adcock married Leonie Harrington and the couple had two children together, Brent and Vanessa.

During this time, he sells his painting business and becomes a real estate agent.

Adcock often traveled to Prebbleton and Marshlands to watch whippet and greyhound races. He was chosen to become a stipendiary steward (overseeing the smooth running of races) – a role he held for six years.

Townsend said his father will be remembered for his “fabulous sense of humor” and for always giving great advice.

“Ray had a fabulous sense of humor and we could laugh for hours. He always gave great advice and I could talk to him about most things and we would come out on the other side with a well-rounded solution.

Adcock was the first greyhound trainer to win 100 races in one season and he claimed his 1,000th victory with Mega Legend which raced at QEII in 1994.

STACY SQUIRES / Tricks

Adcock was the first greyhound trainer to win 100 races in one season and he claimed his 1,000th victory with Mega Legend which raced at QEII in 1994.

He was also “super proud” of his grandchildren.

The family arranged a private service for Adcock after his death. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at Addington Raceway once national restrictions on Covid-19 relax.

Adcock is survived by his sister Margaret, his children Brent and Vanessa and his grandchildren.


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