Impact wins through his heat of the Group One Brisbane Cup for trainer Shane Ellis (inset). (Photos: Box 1 Photography)
By PAT McLEOD
Respected veteran Queensland dogman Kevin Ellis has two words of advice for his nephew Shane leading into Thursday night’s Group 1 $525,000 SKY Racing Brisbane Cup (520m) final at Albion Park – ‘Have luck!’
Kevin handed his star dog Impact over to Shane Ellis about three months ago before hitting the road in a long-planned caravanning odyssey with wife Vicki.
The younger Ellis said he has just kept doing what his uncle has done to have Impact cherry ripe for a crack at Group One glory.
“I learnt almost all I know in greyhounds from Kevin,” he said. “That started when I was about 15 at Kevin’s place then up at Caboolture.
“He has been a great mentor. Our training methods are about 95 per cent the same. He doesn’t ring me before races. There is no need. He knows what the routine is.
“We will usually have a good chat after the race.”
Shane, now 52, has been in and out of greyhounds for most of his life. His last foray ended about six years ago and he and wife Tina decided to give the sport another go earlier this year, dovetailing with Shane’s decision to hit the road.
“I decided to get out of greyhounds to spend more time with my son, Ryan – footy, boxing, fishing, those sorts of things,” he explains.
“We bought our current place, about eight and a half acres at Burpengary (a coastal region, just north of Brisbane), three years ago with the hope of getting back into greyhounds.
“We run a screen-printing business from home and combine that with the dogs. Tina and Ryan both help out with the dogs, but it is still pretty busy.
“The prizemoney now is just too good not to be involved. And Kevin was winning too much, so I had to have a slice of that (he says with a laugh).
“I have always had a passion for the dogs and have had the support of Kevin and also Steve (prominent owner Steve Williams, who races Impact).
“I have trained for Steve in the past.”
Thursday night will be Shane’s intro into Group One racing and says it will be ‘business as normal’.
“I probably would have been a little more excited if we had drawn the one (box),” he said (Impact will come out of Box 5). “But, as Kevin says, all you need is that bit of luck. I will just close my eyes and see what comes out after the first turn.”
Impact (Fabregas-Velocity Willow) has some claims at this level, having amassed $146,575 from 24 wins and nine placings in 47 starts, including a second placing in January’s Group 3 Golden Ticket at ‘The Creek’ and another second in the Gr3 National Straight Track Championships at Capalaba in December last year.
Shane said the dog had been luckless in the box draw throughout his career. He has exited from the One just four times … for four wins.
“We will just need some luck from box 5. He did not race the week before the heats so last week’s run would have topped him off perfectly.”
Shane Ellis has tasted group success before. In 2011 he guided Cawbourne Smash to victory in the Group 3 Casino Cup. He has started the week well with another in his kennel, Horchata, saluting up the straight at Capalaba on Sunday.