Norahmac Racing Club & Kennels

Professional Greyhound Trainer, Racing Kennel & Owners Club

The Team (Photo Taken Spring 2012)

Nothing is more important than the welfare of the dogs for Norah McEllistrim and her team who, whilst enthusiastic and thrilled by success, are completely dedicated to the greyhounds’ wellbeing.

Norah was the proud recipient of the prestigious Harry Lloyd Services to Greyhound Award presented by the Greyhound Writers Association for 2011.

She retained the role of chair of the Greyhound Trainers Association between 2008 and 2012, and is a patron of the Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare kennels.

Staff turnover at Norah’s kennels is virtually  non-existent; a second-to-none reference to Norah’s professionalism and the team spirit. Visiting the kennels,  it’s hard to miss the infectious feelgood factor clearly ‘in the air’.

Norah is fully ‘hands-on’ and really accepts the dogs as simply “a way of life”. Few in the game can compete with her wealth of knowledge, experience and consistent success at all levels of racing.She is able to source pups from long established connections throughout the UK and Ireland, providing owners great value for money. Gemma is assistant trainer and literally began her life at the races – her mother’s waters broke whilst kenneling for Norah at Wimbledon! A past winner of Kennel Hand of the Year at Wimbledon, Gemma has worked at the kennels all her life, joining full-time in 2004. Purley Queen winning the English Oaks and John White Christmas Cracker in 2002, rates as her highlight.”
Tim has worked at the kennels since 1997. As Travelling Head Lad, Tim really enjoys the Open races. “Ballyeacle doing the clock (breaking the track record) over 660m hurdles on Derby night 2004,” rates as Tim’s magic moment. The website and twitter updates have become part of Tim’s remit as he bridges the gap between ‘old school’ and contemporary approaches in the world of greyhound racing.Tim is the current proud holder of Wimbledon Kennelhand Of The Year award – 2011/2012. And Hove Kennelhand of the year 2012/2013! Dawn has been with Norah, off and on, for over sixteen years. She’s invaluable to the team, being able to work in any sphere with the greyhounds.Amongst many highlights she cites her own Nacap Junior’s run of form through to the 2004 Grand National Final, which included a first round victory at 7-1.
Kate joined the team in 2005, recently had a break to ‘produce’ Olly and is now back part-time.”It’s a real buzz when the kennel runners win finals at the local tracks.”Kate’s racing highlight, amongst several others, is Miss Sporty winning the Puppy Oaks in 2008. Mary joined Norah in 1974. She has a wealth of rather ‘adult-themed’ anecdotes, adding plenty to the ‘entertainment factor’ of kennel visits.Mary, who is a major support for Norah, “loves being part of the team and just keeping busy about the place.” John Fitzgerald’s One to Note, winning the Derby Consolation at Wimbledon many moons ago tops Mary’s list of highlights.Click to read The Greyhound magazine 1978 article on Mary’s ‘water-chucking’ incident!
Phillip (pictured centre) is the kennel’s ‘5lb claimer’. Dawn’s son is just starting out in his career in greyhound training world – though he’s been about the place since infancy.Hopefully he’ll realise how lucky he is to benefit from the expert tutelage around him at Burhill kennels.As an added bonus Phillip is tech savvy, and will develop the use of the latest media technology for the kennel. Pat has been part of Norah’s crew from the outset and his experience is a vital asset to the team. Not quite as young as he looks in the photo, Pat, a former Wimbledon Kennel Hand of the Year winner, retains his zest for the game, declaring, “It keeps me fit.”Lenson Billy winning the 1997 Gold Collar at Catford and Ballmac Rumbles who, following a stud career, returned to the kennels as a pet and lived to the ripe old age of thirteen are two all-time favourites.
Charlotte’s highlights; Sizzlers Bossman’s triple track record during his forty eight race career, and Ballymac Mich’s victory over 2005 Champion Hurdler Druid’s Mickey Jo at Reading.Charlotte loves helping out at the kennels, “Getting a lift from the dogs if ever I turn up feeling a little out of sorts. Working with dogs really raises my spirits.” Joy has been working with Norah going back to when ‘Paddymac’ held the reins.When asked what she most loves about being in greyhound racing she replied, without a moment’s hesitation, “Everything!”These days Joy mainly cares for the retired ex-racers that Norah still keeps at the kennels and at home.