This article was published in The Daily Advertiser on 29 April 2022.
Four years ago a horrific accident left 32-year-old Nathan Doggett’s life hanging by a thread, but the courageous western districts greyhound trainer is now back winning races.
Doggett’s world almost ended in 2018 when he was returning from football training, between Wallerawang and Portland, and a passing car struck a kangaroo, sending the severely hurt animal crashing through Doggett’s windscreen. The terrified creature inflicted terrible injuries as it clawed Doggett, while he also sustained more injuries as his car crashed.
“I underwent a total of 17 operations, on my skull, brain and face, and was told it was highly unlikely I would ever walk again,” Doggett said.
“But just after my accident, Mystic Riot won the inaugural Million Dollar Chase and while in hospital I watched Peter Lagogiane – husband of trainer Jodie – being so excited that he sprinted down the home straight at Wentworth Park, throwing his arms in the air. Peter’s exuberance inspired me, so right then I made a promise to myself that no matter how long it took I would eventually get back into training greyhounds.”
With only his second starter since a return to training, Doggett won at Bathurst on April 25 with Peeks Star, who took out a 307m maiden race by a staggering 25 lengths.
While Peeks Star’s performance was a reason to smile, Doggett is especially upbeat about the prospects of a 15 month old unraced puppy he’s named Saint Dexter.
“He is the fastest dog I have trained and he means a lot to me because I named him after Dr Mark Dexter, the neurosurgeon from Westmead Hospital who saved my life,” Doggett said.
“When I came out of hospital I was living at Lithgow and used to make my way by public transport to see Dr Dexter at Westmead. Dr Dexter was always amazed that I could manage to make those long, regular trips, but I was determined to come good.
“Since recovering I have bought a property at Raglan, near Bathurst, where I am doing pre-training of young, unraced greyhounds. I pre-educated Peeks Star for the boys who own him, and although they usually give their dogs to Darren Sultana to train, they were kind enough to let me become his trainer. I’m just glad me and Peeks Star didn’t let them down last Monday.”
Doggett received his early training tuition from the late Harry Hampson who won the 1998 group 1 Paws Of Thunder with Waiwera Marika, and these days confers regularly with his neighbour, Ron Seymour, who landed the 1993 Golden Easter Egg with Billy Binjang.
Doggett could not have had better teachers, and if his dogs possess even a fraction of the courage of their trainer they are going to be racetrack successes.
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