Barry John Heawood
Inductee Hall of Fame 2020
Barry Heawood enters the Hall of Fame with more than five decades of the widest-ranging involvement in greyhound racing in Tasmania. From a mild interest in his teens, Barry trained for a short time, before gradually becoming a prolific Owner, Breeder, Syndicator, and Bookmaker; all current to this day.
Barry was born at New Norfolk on 21 September 1948, to parents Barney and Lola (nee Clark). He was the eldest of four children, which included Geoff, Ray (deceased) and Meg. The family lived at Hamilton in the Derwent Valley, 73 kilometres north-west of Hobart, his father working his way to overseer of the Hamilton Municipal Council. Barry schooled at Hamilton Primary and New Norfolk High, after which he worked for Hydro Tasmania, starting there as a 15-year-old. For four years he worked at the Meadowbank Site and the Lower Derwent Scheme, before a transfer to Hydro’s Head Office in Hobart.
Hamilton was a greyhound friendly town. During his years there, Barry acquired an interest in these great dogs, along with brother Geoff. Their uncle, Bert Heawood lived in their street and had greyhounds, so the boys would help him. Also, current trainer/breeder Denis Lockley’s parents Artie and Olga lived there too, and had dogs. Barry and Geoff started going to the T.C.A. on many a Saturday night, and Barry was bitten by the greyhound bug! Shortly before leaving Hamilton, Barry acquired two “sacked” pups from trainer Norm Drake, but could not take them with him to Hobart.
When Barry did shift to Hobart for work, he required board. Fellow Hamilton resident Basil Hills, who worked with Barry’s father, also owned greyhounds that were trained by Harold Owen “Nip” Smith, at 309 Main Road, Glenorchy; and that’s where Barry landed.
The ageing “Nip” Smith had been a top mentor; in fact, had trained from the first year of racing in Hobart. “Nip” was the leading owner/trainer for Hobart in 1949. His greatest chaser Stepper Too had won the inaugural Ken Thompson Memorial at White City in 1949, as well as runner-up in the 1948 Gold Collar, 1949 Distance Championship of Tasmania, and the 1950 Launceston Cup. “Nip’s” greatest triumph was defeating the immortal Rookie Rebel in the 1957 Hobart Thousand with Rising Ace, before that dog came back to win it in 1958. “Nip” also won the 1956 Puppy Championship with Fair Cherie, whilst The Blue Streak made the 1948 Thousand Final.
Still training a reasonable team of up to 12 dogs, including Fair Silencer and Second Arrival, “Nip” never drove a vehicle. So, during the years 1967 to 1974, Barry stepped into the breach, not only assisting in all matters greyhound but also with driving duties. The pair were extremely close. Mainly helping “Nip”, Barry did train a few of his own (mainly rejects as Barry put it), and Syrian Doll was his first winner. “Nip” died on 5 December 1988.
In January 1974, Barry married Juliet Smith, “Nip” Smith’s step-granddaughter. They lived at Leonard Avenue in Moonah for three years, during which Barry still helped “Nip” until early 1978, when the Heawood’s moved to 21 Tasman Highway, Sorell. They bought the 1 ½ acre parcel and built their house, but despite living there for about seven years, it proved to be insufficient land for Barry’s breeding plans (he had but one rearing yard), and Juliet’s horses. It was Barry’s “apprentice“ years with breeding, which was to explode with the next move.
His initial foray into breeding greyhounds was quite successful. He bought Regent Tiv, from South Australia, and put her to Busy’s Chief. That exact same mating had previously produced the mighty Rod Ransley trained Regent Action. Barry’s April 1982 litter went on to win 67 races too. The Heawoods kept the very smart Regent Knight, and handy bitch Petite Flossie, whilst selling smart chasers Brother Tiv and Justa Tiv to Roy Nunn. The star was Geoff Eadie’s So like Busy, a Breeders Classic win trained by Rod Ransley. In this period, Barry also bought the lightly raced young chaser called Jeffrey’s Idol, which became a prolific winner under the guidance of his uncle Bert Heawood. Another litter bred at Sorell was unsuccessful.
In 1985 the Heawoods moved to the house and 14 plus acres at 794 Middle Tea Tree Road, where Barry has lived ever since. Named “Regent Park” by Barry, it has been the birthplace of a prolific number of star chasers, from some of the best litters produced in Tasmania. Barry and Juliet divorced in 1994, and he remarried in 1999 to Jennifer Sattler. She had a son Andrew Merrideth, whom Barry was extremely close to, and was more than helpful with the dogs; including part owning top chasers Mexican Port and the great Regent Thunder. Barry and Jennifer also had two children, Laura and James, who also had a minor involvement with the greys. But we’ll come back to the Regent Park years.
Barry worked for the Hydro from 1963 until finishing with them in 1982 in Hobart. His only other job (outside of greyhounds) was Bookmaking. Whilst giving up the Hydro for Bookmaking, in fact, the two jobs had co-existed since 1968. Basically, by chance, Barry had started pencilling on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, for Glenorchy Bookie John Hay in 1967, whilst at “Nip” Smiths. When Barry’s uncle, Frank Spencer, who lived at 65 Grove Road Glenorchy, secured a Bookie’s license in 1968 at Ouse, (some 88 kilometres up the Lyell Highway, northwest of Hobart), Barry started working for him on Saturdays. Soon Barry became a silent partner in the business, and with his ever-increasing love of greyhounds, they commenced fielding at the T.C.A. in 1969. The partnership of Heawood and Spencer became official from 1983 when they were fielding on all three codes in the South as well as Launceston and Devonport dogs.
Frank retired in 1997, from which time it was just B.J.Heawood on the bookie board. He continued fielding at Launceston dogs until 2000, but kept fielding in the South, still retaining his License today. From the halcyon days of the T.C.A. with up to 33 bookmakers, on course bookmaking became increasingly difficult with the advent of Sky Channel (keeping the crowds away), the arrival of the T.A.B., and more recently, internationally owned corporate bookmakers. Few meetings Australia wide still have an on course bookie. Barry had fond regards for the likes of Charlie Jackson and Charlie Hay, amongst others: but there was only one Darrel “Dasher” Eaton. When Tassie’s leviathan and most fearless bookie called it a day, Barry gradually became the leader of the ring. From 2000, Barry was the only bookmaker, fielding at Hobart’s regular meetings. Like “Dasher” Eaton, Barry recalls how his business was enhanced by having such great and loyal staff. Though only fielding at the odd meeting now, Barry is the last man standing. His decades-long association with the Hobart Club in particular, always supporting on course promotions with all forms of sponsorship, saw him made an H.G.R.C. Life Member in 2008.
The Regent Park years, spanning 1985 to current day, saw Barry Heawood breed so many great dogs and superb litters. He often retained ownership or at least partnership, and they were usually trained by some many of our elite mentors; the likes of John Cameron, Ted Medhurst, David Crosswell, Gary Fahey and Anthony Bullock, to name but a few. He sold heaps of finely bred chasers, both locally and interstate, and became the prime Syndicator of greyhounds in Tasmania; usually participating and managing those as well. These Syndicates include the Old Bods, Island, Myobb, Dulverton, and Nightwatchman, all racing a number of star chasers.
The final instalment of Barry’s story covers the best of this extremely long list of quality litters and individuals.
The story of the freakish Pat To Stop – Petite Flossie litter of October 1988, including the mighty chasers Friendly Flyer, Jenny’s Legacy, Shy Toby, Talkaman and co., can be seen of the Hall of Fame Website.
In October 1990 Barry bred a litter of two, by Blazenka’s Flyer from Lumina Port. Trained by John Cameron, Regent Gold won 6, whilst middle-distance specialist Miss Lumina won 20. The latter had four litters for Barry, the second to Pure Talent being very special. Barry Bigtime won 13, and was briefly the 452-metre record holder at Devonport. Malloy’s Gold won 16 and was a multiple Finalist. Mexican Port was the litter star. Apart from 24 wins, he was a Thousand and Launceston Cup finalist and ran seconds in the Devonport and Easter Cups. Stanton Talent also won 19, Rogue’s Hood 10, Foxtel Fire 13 and Regent Mist 2.
Barry bred or co-bred some of the seven litters whelped by the former smart Mick Stringer bitch Painted Vintage. From her dam Justa Tiv, she started a line of amazingly successful brood bitches, current to this day … Lunawanna, Wooreddy, Dennes Point, and Break Even. One of Barry’s greatest dogs, Feraro Tiger, trained by Susan Cameron, came from the 1992 mating to Pat To Stop. As well as multiple city wins in Melbourne, Feraro Tiger won 22, including a Breeders and Gold Collar, and was a consistent big race finalist. His sister Dark Dignity also won 11, and a later litter to Shantung Tiger threw two more good producers. One was the Oaks winner Lunawanna. She produced a magnificent litter to Shantung Tiger which included the champion Little Marsh (30 win … Young Star, Ivory and Breeders Classics); Cape Bruny (13, Tweed Head Galaxy); Wooreddy 12, but super brood bitch); Coolangatta (15, Ladies Bracelet) and many others. The other was the versatile 18-time winner in Gitchy Goomy, who threw several winners also.
With a 2002 mating of Magic Alarm to Lilli Pilli Lad, came Regent Cyclone (10) and Flossie Stuart (9), but more importantly … the champion Regent Thunder. Trained for Barry and stepson Andrew by Ted Medhurst, “Tiger” was a star from day one, and accumulated 30 wins and 15 placings from 53 starts. After winning 8 of his first 11, Regent Thunder soon secured a Hobart Breeders Classic and Johnson Puppy at Devonport. At just 26 months, he easily won his Heat, then staved off the champion Victorian Lukeamy, to take the Group One Hobart Thousand at the Showgrounds. Almost untouchable on his beloved Showgrounds, he won two Easter Cups, A Wally Lake and a Noel Vince. At Devonport, he also ran 2nds in the Heat and Final of an Ivory Classic in Devonport, and won his Heat before a Final 2nd to Supa Instinct in the 2005 Devonport Cup.
The top progeny kept coming. In successive litters, co-bred with Ted Medhurst , Counter Power threw star bitch Prestige Girl to Awesome Assassin. In 19 wins she won a Laurels and a Breeders Classic. Other of their Counter Power winners included Count On Me, Undue Power and Brami’s First. In 2007, Barry had a smart litter by Primo Uno from In The Groove. Comic Opera, Keizer Strike, Kurrang Kain, Langtree Heir, Shade Of Odds and Shadha Jacari all won good races, several of them performing well on the Mainland.
Then came the Wooreddy litters. Despite racing in her super sister Little Marsh’s shadow, Wooreddy was a star broodie. After winning in 3 States herself, she secured the Tasmanian Broodbitch of the Year title in 2014. After a moderate initial litter producing Fine Display (12); her 2nd to Go Wild Teddy produced the great Ima Fencer (26 wins, including Illingworth Classic), Dennes Point (6/12) and a watershed Broodbitch, and Break Even (11, herself dam of the great Brad Hill Billy and Lily Lola (25). Wooreddy’s 3rd litter saw Bain’s Lane (19), whilst the final litter to Talk’s Cheap had Daniel’s Bay (11, including Breeders and Minister’s Gift), as well as five other winners.
In 2010 Barry bred from the Group star Fallen Zorro. To Bombastic Shiraz, she produced Ted Medhurst’s ill-fated star Zorro’s Legacy, and a bitch Barry was to part own called Cheetah Zorro. Despite not winning in her first 16 starts, Cheetah Zorro shot to stardom as a stayer. She won 15 of 67 starts with 23 placings and a whopping $216,830 in stakes. More amazingly, it also included two Group Ones……the 2013 Bold Trease at Sandown, and the 2014 Zoom Top at The Meadows.
As a Dam, Cheetah Zorro was also a star. To Barcia Bale she threw High Teason (24 wins, Devonport Cup and Ivory Classic) and Swift Zorro (10), as well as several other winners over three litters.
In 2010/2011, Barry co-bred and co-owned two litters from Oaks winner Becky Baba, with her owner-trainer Gary Fahey. All 9 progeny raced, 8 were multiple winners and included brilliant chasers Martello Towers (16) and the ill-fated Supreme It Seems (9, including the 2016 Launceston Cup Consolation). At the same time, Barry and his Island Syndicate owned star chaser Bruny Venture (14), part of their Dennes Point sale.
In 2020, Barry Heawood enters his sixth decade in greyhounds. His success has not waned. He bred the 2017 Spring Gun – Champagne Girl litter, and races the exciting pair Sprint Gordon (13, 2020 Gold Cup) and Twisted Reality (12, 2nd 2020 Launceston Cup) with young trainer Blake Pursell. Even more impressively, his 2018 litter of seven, by Fernando Bale from Ainsley Bale have all been seen as multiple winners, with Bronski Beat, trained by Brendon Pursell winning the prestigious 2020 Group One Sandown Cup.
Barry Heawood’s achievements in greyhound racing are prodigious, and spanning the 1960’s through to 2020, and beyond. From breeding, ownership, syndication, H.G.R.C. sponsorship and Life Membership, and as a long term Bookmaker … he’s done it all. Now he ticks another major box … the Tasmanian Greyhound Hall of Fame.
- A younger Barry with Busy Chief – Tiny Port pups
- 2004 Hobart Thousand presentation for Regent Thunder
- Bookmaker Barry
- Regent Thunder awarded 2004 Tasmanian Greyhound of the Year
- Devonport Cup winner High Treason for Barry and the Dulverton Syndicate
- Dual Group One winner Cheetah Zorro
- Breeders Classic winner Elsey Gregg with Barry Heawood and Eddie Medhurst
By Greg Fahey