Inductee Hall of Fame 2021
Black dog, Whelped January 1957, (Rocket Jet – Good Miss), Owner Ray Bounds, Trainers: Ray Bounds, (Tasmania) Peter Reid (Victoria)
Ray Bounds’ Meadow Vale is an amazing rise to fame from quite humble beginnings near Deloraine; a journey primarily in Tasmania, exploding onto the Victorian scene and eventually landing with excellence in the U.S.A.
Raymond George Bounds was born at Deloraine on 22 February 1907 and was laid to rest there on 4 April 1993, in his 87th year. He married Ruby May Palmer on 21 April 1930, and they had three children: Alan (deceased), Dorothy and Shirley. Ray worked the farm Brookside, left to his wife and her sister Hilda at High Plains, some three miles from Deloraine. A profitable dairy farm with jerseys, along with various crops and vegetables, it was also commissioned during WW2 to assist the war effort.
A reasonably quiet and hardworking chap, Ray who took noted consideration about his personal appearance, was a most accomplished sportsman. But he loved animals and was an avid pigeon fancier, winning many championships and races. Ray, however, simply adored dogs.
He was drawn to greyhounds with close friend and associate Monty Harding, also a noted trainer from Deloraine. For much of the late 1930’s through to the 1960’s, Ray became an owner, breeder, rearer, and trainer of the highest ilk, and was much admired by his peers. He was a great believer in free galloping greyhounds at least 3 or 4 times a week, rather than what most trainers at the time did……walk. He maintained there was less chance of muscle complications with consistent galloping. A meticulous feeder, it was principally the best beef and vegies, with honey playing a significant role in the diet, along with a Sunday night sloppy feed of milk and bread.
Apart from Monty Harding, Ray was closely associated with leading Launceston hand Reg “Shrewdy” Thomas (who trained for Ray at times), and Brian and Pearl Griggs from the Huon. Ray Bounds had many fine chasers. His brilliant Always Good ran 3rd in the 1942 Gold Collar, Huon Flyer was a Devonport top grader in 1953, Huon Prince won 11 hurdles on the trot, and he and Monty Harding stood the smart Monte Too at Stud. Good Out was a star that won the 1954 Distance Championship of Tasmania at the T.C.A., following her 3rd in the Sprint Championship in the same season. But Ray’s March 1950 whelping from his bitch Always Good, by Bambi Boy, a white and brindle girl named Good Miss, was his best. A prolific winner, she captured the 1952 Sprint Championship of Tasmania at the T.C.A. before running 2nd to Dark Realm in the 685yard version.
In January 1957, Ray whelped a litter from his mighty Good Miss by Australia’s greatest sire Rocket Jet.
The litter of 8 contained the smart chaser Hopeful Jet, and what would turn out to be George and Eileen Johnston’s foundation brood bitch in Nimble Jet. She was to develop an amazing line over the following two decades, which started with champions Fenton Girl, Rambling Jet and Hobart Thousand winner Fiery Bob, in her debut litter to Propulsion. The Good Miss litter also contained a jet black “champion in waiting” named Meadow Vale.
Meadow Vale debuted at White City at twenty months of age, on 20 September 1958. Starting odds on, he won a Juvenile Heat easily. Despite starting under 3/1 in all his first 8 starts, that was the only win, with 3 seconds and 2 thirds. His ability was obvious, but so were two bad habits. He was and always would be, a noted wide runner. Worse still, he was a consistently poor beginner, making winning more difficult in an era of 10 dog fields. Thus, rising to great heights looked a bit slim early on.
At start 9 he bolted in a White City Juvenile from an ideal box 10, but an injury kept him out for 77 days. Upon resumption, Meadow Vale won a Devonport Trial stakes easily at odds on, and despite box 1. Following a Trial grade White City 2nd, Ray Bounds made what appeared to be an overly ambitious decision. Despite only 3 Coastal runs for a 1st, 3rd, and 4th, he entered his inexperienced 26-month-old, Meadow Vale, for the 1959 Devonport Cup.
Racing out of his grade, he fronted up in his Devonport Cup Heat from box 6 on 7 March 1959. At 4/1, the longest price of his career, he staggered everyone (maybe even Ray), when he produced a whirlwind finish to overpower the brilliant Roslyn Lad by a head. Even more unbelievable, at only his 4th victory from only 12 starts, he ran 25 1/16th for the 465 yards .a new Track Record. His greatness was emerging!
Just 4 days before the Semi, Ray snuck back to White City for a Trial Stakes Heat over the 548 yards. He stormed to victory, before fronting all comers in his Devonport Cup Semi. From a suitable box 8, his renowned late, wide surge, saw him victorious over Dasher’s Return by 3/4‘s of a length in 25 9/16th. Just 3 days later he couldn’t quite complete the fairytale, when 4th in the Devonport Cup Final, and in equal track record time, to Devonport track champion Spotlight’s Image. Showing great resilience, Meadow Vale was back at White City a meagre 2 days after this feature, winning the Trial Stakes Final by a nose.
Next up was a Heat of the 1959 Easter Purse. In an era of toughness and harsh grading, this would be Meadow Vale’s first of 36 times, in a 77-start career, that he would start off a handicap.
From a yard behind, he ran the champion to be, Nippy Cola to a head when a Heat 2nd, before reversing the result off the same mark to win his Semi. Early strife ended his Easter Purse Final hopes when 8th to that same bitch.
From mid-April to August 1959, he won 6 races from 12 starts, 2 on each track, and despite a 7-week injury layoff. It also saw his first foray over a longer trip. He won a 685yard Montrose Stakes Heat at the T.C.A. before storming home in the Final, going under by just a head to Timaroo Star.
From August 1959 to January 1960, Meadow Vale had a magnificent run of 22 starts which included 13 wins and 7 placings, all at the top level and mostly off handicaps. Despite a Hobart Thousand Heat 4th, his style better suited the Northern tracks. Some of his premiere Tassie runs were in this batch of victories. He ran down Hall of Famer Ebony Minda by 2 lengths in a White City 548yard Invitation. In winning his Heat of the Princess of Tasmania Cup at Devonport, he equalled his own Track Record of 25 1/16th from box 9, after which he flew late to score in the Princess of Tasmania Cup Final.
He came off a yard behind to win each of the Heat, Semi and Final of the highly regarded Ken Thompson Memorial at White City, beating star chasers like Silver Crofton, Hopeful Nebo, and Last Son, and at short odds in each affair. From handicap he was 2nd in a Heat and 4th in the 1959 Show Cup at Devonport. After winning his Christmas Stakes Heat off 2 yards over the White City 548yards, he rocketed home when a nose 2nd in that Final off the same severe mark, behind the classy chaser Brendie. His 21 January 1960 victory in a Launceston Invitation over 548 yards, not only saw him dispatch great performers Nippy Cola and Nanda Barlu, but he also equalled the Track Record of 30 4/16th: this, his 3rd such record.
True greatness was looming. First, though was his attempt on the 1960 Launceston Cup. Handicapped off 2 yards behind for the whole series, Meadow Vale produced his famed finishing burst out wide to score by 4 ½ lengths, and at 1/3f, to take his 11 February Heat from Dreamy Joy. Giving star sprinter Cheryl’s Dream the same 2 yards start, he just fell short by ½ length in his Semi-Final 2nd.
Despite starting 6/4f in the star-laden Cup Final, the task was near impossible, and he wound up 5th to his great nemesis Nippy Cola.
Ray Bounds knew Meadow Vale was special, despite some race habits that usually fall short of true stardom. Still, his charge was at the peak of his powers, so he took him to Victoria for a seemingly ambitious tilt at the 1960 Australian Cup at North Melbourne. Close associate and top Victorian mentor Peter Reid took over training duties for this campaign. He would have 8 Victorian starts in just 30 days between March 18 and April 18, 1960, with breathtaking results. First up was his Australian Cup Heat, run over 675 yards, just 13 days after his Launceston Cup run. Despite no prior exposure at this level, Meadow Vale was handicapped from a yard behind the scratch mark, unimaginable these days.
From an unsuitable box 1, he still started 10/9f in his Heat, and wound-up 2nd, 1 length behind Million Dollar Baby. Incredibly, he raced over 650 yards at Geelong, just 4 days later, and from a yard behind once more, stormed to victory. Another 6 days on, it was his Australian Cup Semi-Final. From box 3, and at 5/1, he was unable to reel in the top N.S.W. chaser Power Tell, but in finishing 2nd he secured his place in the prestigious Australian Cup Final. A week on, he again drew box 3 of 8, and despite being opposed to the cream of the country’s chasing elite, was backed from 20/1 into 12/1. One of only three runners starting off handicap, Meadow Vale settled back, was 5th at the halfway mark, and simply flew late to score a runaway 3 length victory over Peter Reid’s own star Fairs Orders, and the mighty Victorian Town Ghost. Running a slick 36 8/16’s Meadow Vale pocketed the 1400 pounds first prize. A budding champion suddenly became a superstar.
But Meadow Vale was far from finished. A mere 3 days on, he changed track to Sandown, came back in trip to 555 yards, but still rattled home to score by 3 lengths at 6/4f. Only 4 days later, it was back to North Melbourne for a tilt at the Southern Cross Motors feature over the Cup distance of 675 yards. Now giving away 2 yards start in his 11 April Heat, it made no difference. He was 3/1, and simply blitzed By Diamond by 5 lengths in 36 15/16’s, overpowering his rivals late and wideout. In between this Heat win and the Final, our boy was back at Sandown, where he just failed to run down top sprinter Sungari in a 555y Invitation. Only 4 days on, Meadow Vale took on a quality field in the Southern Cross Motors Final, and despite his harsh handicap, again won running away, with 2 lengths to spare over By Diamond. Yet again he started a red-hot favourite at even money. This made it 5 wins and 3 seconds in 30 days against the cream of Aussie chasers, from 555 yards to 675 yards.
Showing his breathtaking stamina and resilience, Peter Reid fronted Meadow Vale up at Wentworth Park in Sydney just 5 days anon, and at his 790-yard debut, he got within 1 ½ lengths, in storming home for 2nd to top Sydney stayer Mary Wanda. The effort did come at a cost, and injury saw him return to Tasmania.
On 13 June 1960, Meadow Vale resumed at Devonport and way back in trip to 465 yards. At odds on, he outclassed top sprinter Baron Tudor by 3 lengths, and only 4/16ths off his own track record. This was to be his final racetrack victory. After a second on each Tasmanian track, he ventured back to Victoria for 3 more there. The chronic handicaps were now too much, but he did run 3rd in a Heat of the 1960 Lord Mayors Cup at North Melbourne, giving away 4 yards start.
After another injury-enforced break, he had 5 more starts at home, 4 from 2 yards behind, a mark he ran 3rd from, in the Launceston Cup Consolation, on 18 February 1961. This was his final start.
Meadow Vale’s career spanned 77 starts for 34 wins, 21 seconds and 8 thirds. He won feature Finals at Devonport and Launceston over 465 and 548 yards respectively, broke the track record at Devonport and equalled it again, then equalled the Launceston track record. In Melbourne, he won both the prestigious Australian Cup, then the Southern Cross Motors Final, both off handicaps, and was placed over 790 yards at his only Sydney start. One statistic that is barely fathomable nowadays……in 36 of his 77 starts he was off handicaps varying from 1 yard to 4 yards behind the front markers. And STILL, he won 13 of these, with 10 seconds and 4 thirds. Not bad for a wide running, slow beginner from Deloraine!
Yet, the Meadow Vale story just keeps on giving. His bluest of blue blood suggested Sire – Stud Career. In fact, he only served one bitch in Australia, during one of his injury-enforced layoffs. However, shortly after he finished racing, Meadow Vale came to the attention of an American breeder, Harry B. Jasprizza, from Arcadia, California. The unprecedented success of his sire Rocket Jet in Australia, and his grandsire Tumble Bug in the 1950s in the U.S.A., saw Jasprizza purchase the great dog from Ray Bounds and overseas he ventured.
Esteemed American Greyhound historian and Hall of Famer Gary Guccione, noted that Meadow Vale quickly became quite popular, most likely because he was by Rocket Jet whose sons were, in turn, doing great things as sires. Meadow Vale’s earliest progeny did well and showed a distinct liking for distance racing, usually coming off the pace (just like dad!). Meadow Vale became highly acclaimed for these staying types and indeed, topped the Distance Sire Standings for a time. He’s believed to have had the highest percentage of long-distance winners during his time at Stud, and finished in the top ten sires, in five successive seasons.
Now this truly stunning chaser and sire, Meadow Vale, enters the Tasmanian Greyhound Hall of Fame.
By Greg Fahey and Brennan Ryan