Penrice’s Kerri Hurley loves her greyhounds.
It could be said it’s in her blood, being one of six Hurley women across three generations involved in greyhound racing right now.
Kerri’s mother, Judi became involved with the industry in the late 1960’s, when she met and married professional greyhound trainer, Peter Hurley.
Peter sadly passed away from cancer in 2015, but Judi still owns 50 dogs at her Moppa property, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m 74 now. What am I going to do? Knit, cook, play bowls, have sex? None of those things appeal to me!” she laughed.
Judi and sister-in-law, Kathy Hurley have dedicated much of their lives to greyhounds, and are well respected matriarchs in the industry.
Kerri grew up with the dogs, and while she spent some time away from the sport, her father’s illness brought her back to the family’s expansive Two Wells greyhound racing property, Emerley Park, in 2013.
“When dad got sick he shut the business down and just focussed on their own dogs, so I took over the training,” said Kerri.
“It was a big enterprise and a lot of hard work.
“I’d never trained a dog, dad was there to give me support and to help me out and when I got winners, it was a pretty cool feeling.”
While Emerley Park has since been sold, Hurley greyhounds are still a force to be reckoned with. Judi has already had 40 winners this year, and her brood bitch, Molly is a top breeder in the state.
Judi’s proud that not only her daughter, but her grandchildren and great-nieces have continued into the sport.
Kathy’s adult granddaughters, Kiah, Jayde and Jasmyn are the next generation of Hurley women to become greyhound trainers, contributing significantly to the industry.
“They’re definitely holding their own,” said Kerri.
“If they ever left the industry they’d leave a big hole.”
Kerri’s children, who were each given a greyhound by their grandmother for their birthdays, are involved too.
“My children, Sarah Emery owned Madam Onxy, who is now retired; Dillon Emery has a young pup that is yet to begin his racing career; and my youngest son, Trent Toy owns Slippery Jack who is currently racing and has been doing quite well,” said Kerri.
In a serendipitous twist of fate, Kerri recently began working for Jo Irvine of Lévrier Wines in Nuriootpa, only to discover that Jo also has a close affinity with greyhounds, evident in the name of her winery: lévrier is the French word for greyhound.
“As soon as Kerri came to work, the story came out that her mum was a greyhound trainer… so it was sort of like, it had to be!” said Jo.
Lévrier Wines is a sponsor of the greyhound adoption programme GAP, and Jo has two adopted greyhounds, Daphne and Georgie, who come to work with her every day.
“It’s been over 25 years now since I’ve had greyhounds because they’re just such beautiful breeds,” said Jo, who first came across the dogs when she found one on the side of the road, injured and abandoned.
“The greyhound adoption programme helps get the families and the greyhounds a nice home together.
“They’re extremely loyal dogs.”
The Hurley women are proud to be representing a sport that has achieved a five percent increase in female participation over the past five years.
“I definitely do think a woman’s touch does help because I think we just have a bit more empathy,” said Judi.
“I believe that our involvement has been a tremendous joy to all of us and has only strengthened our love of the breed. It is also essential to have female involvement in all facets of the industry.”